Monday, August 14, 2006

Accessibility and Yarn Shops

I've been using the wheelchair for most of my journeys now for about a year, I think, yet I still have the occasional wake up call.
I've been in the Ann Arbor knitting shop "Knit Around" a few times before, but not in the wheelchair, although it seemed spacious enough. Today in the wheelchair it was akin to crossing the Pyrenees with the elephants. Bags were hung at just the wrong heights to allow me to access the aisles. The space between the ends of the aisles and the wall displays was insufficient for maneuvering, there were baskets and display units set in any space that MIGHT have been large enough to wheel down, and although my husband was asked if he needed help, none of the three people working there offered assistance to me, even when I was stuck fast and had to move their purses to fight my way free. As I told them when I left I will never shop there again. It was a wasted trip. Too bad for them. I was planning to drop around $100 there today. I should have gone to Flying Sheep (also in Ann Arbor) They have kind of close quarters, but none of the foolish hanging of displays where it narrows access. The wheelchair ramp is at the furthest end of the sidewalk from Flying Sheep's doors, but once inside the store, you can get around pretty well.
The best yarn shop for accessibility I've been in to date is Ewe-Nique Yarns, in Brighton Michigan. It was a dream! Turns out one of the owners has a sister who is on wheels. Makes a huge difference to the owner's mindset.
I guess the Knit Around experience shouldn't be a surprise. With a few notable exceptions on the part of individual business owners, Ann Arbor is one of the least accessible cities out there, despite their loudly trumpeted 'social consciousness'. I haven't been able to shop or dine in downtown Ann Arbor since getting the wheelchair. They have NO handicapped parking on the street, its all in the structures or the lots which are pretty far removed from most of the businesses. Many of the shops and restaurants have bumps and steps in the doorways, and few provide spacious aisles or paths between tables.
Anyway, It was a frustrating visit, but I'm home now, and I just might call the ADA taxi and give Flying Sheep a visit.

1 comment:

Lynx said...

Reminds me of when I was pregnant with Liam, went to the Dairy Queen in Coldwater and couldn't fit into the seats. They were all bolted, so couldn't be moved for comfort, and they were very tight fits to start with. Of all the places in the world to discriminate against People Of Size; you'd think DAIRY FRIGGIN' QUEEN would be one of the last to discourage the patronage of Big People. Buttheads... I wish I could open my own craft/bookstore, I'd make sure you had PLENTY of room to manuever, sis!
Another rant: childproof bottles. Think I'll rant on my blog about that one..... check it in an hour or so....