So, you are hungry and want a quick bite to eat, what do you do? I’m pretty sure you run to the mall, find the food court, find your favourite place, read the overhead menu, make a decision, converse with the counter staff, pay for your food, sit down and eat it. Lovely rhythm; you probably leave within 15 minutes, fully sated!
For me, it is a totally different experience!
Let me remind you, I am Deaf-Blind, I can’t hear anything, and my vision is better, I can see, but the further away it is the more blurry it gets. I cannot lipread, never could, never will.
Lets walk through the same situation above but with me!
I’m hungry! There’s a food court in the Pacific Centre Mall! Excellent! Okay, after a little backtracking, I find the food court, I can’t see the mall directory. Nice food court, now what restaurants are here! A&W (excellent!), TacoTime (never eating there again!), a few Chinese places (nope, not likely), a Thai place (see Chinese), New York Fries (cool!), and a few others that I’ve forgotten.
I decide to try New York Fries because I remember getting a Works Fries, if that is what it still called, with fries, chili, cheese and the like. I approach the counter, the overhead menu is like a giant Picasso painting that keeps changing. I can’t read it anyways, so I look for a place card with menu items and prices. This NYF has nothing on the counter.
Okay! Fine! Moving on, lets check out A&W. I like A&W because many restaurants now have menus on poles at the counter, instead of overhead. I like this because I can leisurely examine and make a decision, point to what I want to the counter staff (conversing), pay for it, and eat! A&W at Pacific Centre Mall does not have any counter menus or place cards! Darn! Moving on.
I head to the street, a bit more hungry, but I’ll live. Oh look! A McDonalds! In I go, glance around, then head back out. Why? Their overhead menu is always in motion, but mostly because this store does not have a self-serve kiosk. This kiosk has made ordering at McD’s 100% easier for me! I can read the entire menu, decide, pay, no need to converse because it is all tech. Easy as pie! I have actually learned things from this kiosk! I had no idea McD’s offered two different kinds of chicken wrap! But many McDonalds do not have this new way of ordering, this one did not.
After leaving McDonalds, I decide to get something from Shoppers, a snack! Nothing hot. I’m more hungry now. I’m done walking!
Let me tell you happened three weeks ago, I was hungry and wanted to try a new burger place in a food court. I see they have a poster with a $9.99 hamburger with bacon and cheese, the combo was $14.99. The hamburger only price was small, and plain, while the combo was bigger, bolder, more eye-catching. I had to hassle with two counter workers pointing to the $9.99 hamburger, even finger circling it, and was about to vandalize the poster with a sharpie when they finally cottoned on; I did not want the combo! Sheesh! Why do places automatically assume you want the combo? Is there a law that says you must get a combo?
I have entered some fast food joints then turn around and leave mostly because they have no printed menus and the counter help can’t be bothered to help me. I’ll take my money elsewhere!
I want fast food joints, dives, diners, etc., to have more accessible menus, like self-serve kiosk at McDonalds, or the counter menus at A&W. Ones that I can take my time, and am not stressed to pick quickly. And if printed menus are used, make sure they are large print!