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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007


Ok, so we all accept that there are some locations where it simply isn't possible to provide ramped access and retain that useful pavementy thing which keeps pedestrians from being mown down by passing articulated lorries. Really. We do.

But what we don't accept is that installing a call-button - with a stick figure of a wheelchair user on it - which is well out of the reach of any wheelchair user who doesn't happen to moonlight as Inspector Gadget is a reasonable alternative to ramped access.

I'm five foot six. If I stand on the pavement outside this bank, I can't reach that call-button. You know, what with the grab bars (which appear to exist solely to serve the purpose of assisting us frail types to drag ourselves past the bank) being in the way.

All of which reminds me of one of the lift call-buttons in the office where I work (on those rare occasions when I'm not devoting my entire being to the challenge of overcoming the side-effects of Tramadol).

Boogaloo Dude and I have had conversations with building management staff (lovely people to whom we never refer as "The Forces of Darkness") which have gone something like this:-

"Erm, we're not sure a wheelchair user could reach that button."

"Ah, well, you see, now that's where you're wrong. Before the building opened, we invited a bloke in a wheelchair in to see whether he could reach it. And he could. So ner."

"Mmmm. How tall was he?"


"How tall was he?"

"I don't understand..."

"How tall was he?"

"Well, I don't know, do I? He was in a wheelchair. He was sitting down. How am I supposed to know how tall he was?"

"Ok. Was he a tall bloke?"


"Did he look the way you'd expect a tall bloke to look when he's sitting down?"

"Er, well..."

"Had his impairment restricted the length of his arms - and therefore the length of his reach - in any way?"

"Well, no, but..."

"Did it not occur to you when you chose a wheelchair user to test whether that button was within reach that it might - just might - have been a good idea to choose someone with limited reach?????"


Blogger Mary said...

I queried this with a manager in one of these poorly-equipped places.

The answer was depressing but predictable.
"When the DDA was coming in, we got this leaflet from a company, and they said they would provide and fit everything. We called them, they turned up with a load of stuff, fitted it, we paid them. And we've got a certificate saying that we've done our bit for the DDA, so what's the problem?"

11:14 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Depressing, innit?

Mind you, if anyone did have the strength to take them to court, I don't think said certificate would be as impregnable a get out of jail free card as they fondly believe.

Oddly enough, I'm pretty sure that the call-button for that particular bank actually pre-dates 1st October 2004.

11:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall from a subsequent conversation, the Forces of Darkness (to whom we never refer as the building management team) expressed their satisfaction that the most petite wheelchair user in the building had solved her own problem by half-climbing out of her chair and then using a stick (which she carried for the purpose) to push the aforementioned lift button.

Imagine their amusement when I explained that, because of their failure to locate the button in such a manner that it was accessible to her whilst fully seated and without said twiggy accessory, they were effectively requiring her to carry her pokey-stick. And that, because the DDA requires employers not to treat disabled staff less favourably on account of their impairments, the only way they could avoid possible litigation would be to require all staff to provide and carry pokey-sticks of their own.

Laugh? I thought they’d never start!!


PS I believe our colonial readers habitually refer to lifts as "elevators".

11:33 am  
Blogger Jess said...

Wha- huh? Wait...are you saying that all people in wheelchairs aren't the same? Preposterous. Every person only gets to be different in one single way, and having a wheelchair satisfies that requirement. That's why there are no minorities in wheelchairs.

...people suck.

Also: a lift is an elevator? I thought it was an escalator. What do you call escalators, then?

Also, also: I would love a job that required me to carry a pokeystick. I'd go after pigeons with it.

6:19 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

"What do you call escalators, then?"

Er, escalators.

7:05 pm  
Blogger Jess said...

I'm....I'm sort of sad and disappointed. I expected you to have a much more whimsical name for them. For shame, British people! For shame!

4:50 am  

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