“It’s over there.” This is a statement that continually both frustrates and amuses the blind and vision impaired community.
Many of us find, even when prepared to spend a large amount on electronics, furniture or other expensive items, that many shop assistants either ignore our presence when we enter the shop or direct us to specials or cheaper versions of what we require. Pointing out that we use a cane or a guide dog when faced with the “over there” statement seems to confuse many young staff who either are ignorant of their purpose or don’t know how to help a person who is blind.
Taking a friend or relative can prove negative as not only do they try to decide what you should purchase, but often the shop assistant will only deal with them and completely ignore their customer.
Accessibility legislation would ensure that disabled people wishing to purchase household or other items will be treated with equanimity and guarantee that essential disability awareness training is provided to employees in all service industries.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.