It’s exciting when you get a new business in the neighborhood; especially when it involves food!
The coupons start pouring in and eventually your curiosity gets the best of you.
Let’s get down to it…
A new fast food chain opened up in the neighborhood. I was pumped; anything new within walking distance brings me joy. This life-crushing disability has kept me from getting behind the wheel. New food joint within walking distance, SOLD!
It was a Monday around 4:30ish when I glanced at the clock and decided I wasn’t cooking dinner. Phoned the hubby and told him to expect a treat!
Cane guiding my way, coupons in hand, I happily made the journey to the new fast food joint (I’ll avoid using their name because I don’t like drama!)
I pulled out my coupons and decided to take advantage of the store special: 2 sandwiches, 2 chips, and 2 drinks (No… it’s not Subway!) Perfect. Everything should fit into one bag and I can get this order home! I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to make the journey back home with a bag, 2 large drinks, and a cane. I glanced over at the beverage cooler filled with bottled drinks. Not a problem, I will exchange the fountain drinks for bottled drinks, and everything makes it into the bag! Simple enough. NOT!
I got the register, whipped out my coupon and explained my situation to this young kid at the register. He stared at the coupon, stared at the register, stared at the coupon. I jumped to the kids rescue.
Can you explain to the manager that I have a disability, and I won’t be able to carry the fountain drinks. Can you ask if I can swap the fountain drinks for bottled drinks so I can carry my order out?
His response. “I’ll go ask the manager.”
Within seconds, this kid was back to the register. “Sorry ma’am, she says it’s too expensive!” I was thrown off my game. Rattled. I didn’t mind paying extra for the bottled drinks, and I explained that to the kid behind the register. He didn’t budge. So, I used the coupon, paid for the food and walked out without my drinks.
I wanted to turn around about five times during the walk home. I started grumbling to myself! “How am I coming home without the drinks I paid for?” “Why isn’t this manager willing to work something out?” “Why can’t I take advantage of a coupon like everyone else?” With each step I took, I was getting more pissed.
So… I called back the store. Asked for the manager.
“You remember the gal that was disabled and couldn’t walk home with two drinks and asked to swap fountain drinks for bottled drinks and you said no? Can my husband stop by after work and redeem the drinks I paid for?”
She obliged. She was nice about it. I called my husband to complain, he calmed me down and said he would pick up the drinks. “You did good babe.” Did good? I was annoyed. Seems crazy I was getting SO UPSET over some damn drinks. What was bothering me? Then it hit me. Exclusion. I want to be treated equally like everyone else, and the situation reminded me that I’m not like everyone else.
I figured since I can’t change my situation maybe I can change this companies culture. So, I called the corporate office. I got a very corporate apology. The corporate gals response was very official. “It’s a store level issue that should be addressed at the store level.” Store level? How about a change in the companies culture? I didn’t ask for anything free; I would have frequented this food joint several times throughout the year without a coupon, heck I would have paid full price for those damn drinks.
I wasn’t able to get through to this company. Bummer. I wish this corporate gal could see that it’s more than not walking away with two drinks. It’s about culture. It’s about education. It’s about inclusion.