I like the ability of my blog to tell stories and give facts from my perspective; that of being Deaf-Blind and ataxic. Sometimes my blogs are funny, fun to write, or about fun situations. Everyone reads them, or not, and enjoys them, or not! Thank you to everyone who has given me positive feedback or any kind of comments!
When COVID-19 became a household word, I decided to not blog about it. While the actual virus and its transmission I won’t deign to explain, because I didn’t want to contradict the specialists.
I can, and will, discuss how COVID-19 and its protective measures affects those who are Deaf-Blind. I already did this twice.
I did a great, well-read, blog about the Deaf-Blind persons and COVID-19, with an emphasis on socializing; You can read it again!
I also did a blog about masks on interpreters; Go ahead, read it again!
Today’s blog is about something that, clearly, affects a lot of blind individuals…
I am talking about, clearly you see, the plexiglass now popping up everywhere! You can find these protective “windows” in many places: the corner dollar store, banks, Tim Hortons, Walmart, your friendly Dentist, even the House of Commons installed these things to protect staff! The plexiglass business is soaring!
What is Plexiglass? It is a sheet of plastic glass that one can see through, it is lighter and, probably, harder to break than real glass. That is basic knowledge…
Alas! There are many issues with these safety devices that are not being considered! Those with low vision, blind, or DeafBlind, also including elderly, myopic, and those with vision issues, can experience the problems I am going to outline. Now, you can listen to my desertion!
I have stood at an A&W counter that had installed plexiglass, in front of each cash machine. There was a gap at the bottom to pick up orders and access the ATM. I must have stood there for 5 to 8 minutes, just waiting. I was not the only customer, but I was waiting.
You see, I didn’t.
I could see the worker! It was impossible for me to identify a worker because; well the plexiglass is shiny right? Add to that the light from inside and outside of the store reflecting off the plastic glass.
They, see my white cane, mostly likely assumed I was only blind, so they were probably calling me; “Can I help you, sir? Sir? SIR?!” to the point where they would get very annoyed.
Almost every store I go to, I pay by ATM, I have not held any real money since probably late February!
These ATM machines have their own problems:
Some places install plexiglass without considering the location of the ATM device, leaving it bolted to the counter, on a stand. The plexiglass was install right in front of everything, with a hole at the bottom to access the device.
With this sheet of plastic running straight up and down, and the fact that 95% of ATM devices are illegible as it is, I can’t make a transaction without strain or guessing!
I have stubbed my fingers, bumped my arm, and cracked my head, I’ve even walked into, the plexiglass installed in weird places. I have also found a sheet of plexiglass directly in front of me, only to slam my head into a pane of plexiglass on the side! Ouch!
How to solve those problems?
- If possible, staff should come out from behind the plexiglass, approach me and indicate where the next available staff is. While usually I’ve been tapped on the shoulder by people behind me, who would point the way, it is not their responsibility to tell me. Managers should take the initiative and be more respectful.
- Unbolt the bolted ATM devices, install longer cords, allow people to bring them up to eye-level. And get NEW devices! Better yet, get Large Print devices! This works for All People, which I’ve already mentioned above! If you reading this and agree, let me know!
- Now is the time to boost the reflective tape business! Putting tape on edges would be a huge improvement! And, not a tiny one-inch strip, but the whole edge, from top to bottom please and thank you! Doing this allows the low vision community is “see” that something else is there.
Doing these things, especially the last, would allow us with vision issues to walk with confidence, knowing that there is nothing protruding in front of us. And we can confidently enter our PIN to purchase that cup of coffee. And we would have the confidence to know that a staff values us, respects us, support us to shop at their establishment!
Self-Confidence is the biggest seller!
Thank you so much for reading! Go ahead and share! Forward to your favourite business, bank or McDonalds. And remember to donate! Contact me directly!