Thursday, February 19, 2015
It was a bitter cold Tuesday afternoon as my Grandmother, my daughter, and I made it into Target to pick up my husband’s prescription. Although my grandmother at the spry age of 86 is incredibly healthy, can hear better than I can, and can see to the ends of the Earth, she does struggle to walk long distances after throwing her back out about four years ago caring for my late grandfather. There is no blessing to her like the blessing of an electric scooter provided in large grocers like Target. She feels so free and able to take on the world. The wait for the prescription would be 30 minutes so we decided to pick up a few staple items we needed at the house. I had my daughter in a basket as I picked up diapers and grandmother went on to pick up Kleenex, pillows, napkins, and a little toy dolly. Suddenly only 15 minutes into our venture the scooter began to lag like it was going to die at any moment. This panicked my grandmother as we were all the way at the back of the store, and there was no way she could physically walk to the front, and as I am 7 months pregnant could not offer much more than a shoulder of support when she would need to be pushed or carried.
She shouted out, “let’s just try to make it to the front of the store, if I don’t stop maybe I can make it up there.” I followed with the idea that if it started to drag too slowly perhaps I could push it along a little with my basket? “Don’t worry about me she said, you hurry and go get the milk, I’ll be around.” So as I made my way to get the milk I witnessed my grandmother’s cart die in front of two Target employees who were the “cash register supervisors”. You know the two people that always stand to watch the lines in order to make for a smoother check out experience? There were no lines at the registers and as my grandmother’s scooter stopped directly (not two feet) in front of them one of them chuckled, “looks like you died”, and with that the employees went back visiting with each other completely ignoring an obviously struggling disabled elderly woman directly in front of them.
I can’t tell you the countless amounts of times I’ve carried large heavy stones or a large number of bags out to the car for my elderly or disable customers. I can’t tell you the number of times I have offered a seat to those unable to stand for long periods visiting my stores with their children or grandchildren. In customer service you should not have to wait to be asked for assistance, but instead you should be alert and present enough in the moment to know when you should step in and offer your assistance.
By the time I made it across the store to my grandmother she was attempting to empty her scooter’s basket item by item into another scooter at the front, which ultimately did not work either. As a store employee it is also your responsibility to make sure that the resources provided to your disabled customers are in working order at all times. Make sure scooters are plugged in and charging (sometimes the disabled are unable to bend down and do this themselves), make sure handicap stalls are in working order, make sure automatic doors are working adequately. Offer to assist with heavy or cumbersome product, and offer to help them to their car.