Pit Crew Barrier Hunt Essay

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Publix is a common place where people purchase their groceries and visit weekly. Everyone
needs produce, deli, dairy or frozen foods on a regular basis. I chose this location to evaluate
because I have been going to Publix for years and am familiar with the store. Publix is also
known to hire employees with disabilities.
I went to Publix for the first time looking at the store under the lens of someone who had a
disability. I tried to see how it would be and the challenges I would face if I were in a
wheelchair. Shoppers have access to motorized wheelchairs and the isles are large enough for
a cart and a wheelchair to pass next to each other. The store bathroom does have a stall for
handicapped but does not have an automated door for entry or exit in the bathroom. The sink
and watercooler were handicap appropriate. Placement of food on shelves is not suitable for
people in wheelchairs but they do have associates who will walk around with individuals and
help them pick out groceries from behind the cooler or on higher shelves.
For vision impaired, I did not notice anything in braille. I am not sure how reasonable it would
be to have everything in braille. This might increase sanitation issues and be a logistical
nightmare. I asked the sales associate how they assist blind people and they informed me
about the Instacart program where individuals can order their items online and have them
delivered. People can order their items which can either be picked up at a local store or
delivered. The cost is included in the increased cost of the individual items online. I could not
find any specific information on the average increase in cost for this service. For hearing
impaired individuals, I was told that my store does have employees who know sign language.
The store also tries to hire individuals who can communicate in various languages to assist their
patrons.
Overall I found my Publix to be accommodating to most types of disabilities. I was impressed
that they hired people who have disabilities and gave them a position where they could succeed
and be of assistance to others. I was pleased to find that Publix was very inclusive in its service
model when addressing a population who has different struggles. They embrace service dogs
and advocate for their sales associates to be proactive in helping all individuals. Publix
appeared to be sensitive to the challenges people have by hiring staff with special skills such as
sign language and being multilingual. This activity has taught me to be more aware of the
challenges people have when they have a disability. I have learned to be more aware of my
surroundings and observe how a person with disabilities would manage. I have always tried to
assist people whenever appropriate. Now I will remember to advocate for change and in the
locations where I see people with disabilities struggle.
There are obvious connections between accessible places and social justice. People without
disabilities are often clueless about the struggles a person with disabilities faces. Even when
faced with those struggles some companies do not make the accommodations to reduce
overhead and avoid catering to that population. Socially we are not tolerant of differences and
even less tolerant of disabilities when it comes to accommodations. The social injustice lies in
our population and government allowing there be to a disparity in servicing all human beings
equally. If I discovered barriers to access for individuals with disabilities, depending on the
situation I would address the barrier with the individual who is struggling and ask their input
rather than speaking for them. If they approved I would use social media to educate the
community and the business owner on how they could better provide for all patrons equally.
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