In the last year or so, my local Argos store revamped its shop and became more technology friendly, but it’s a shame it did not consider its disabled customers and the issue of accessibility.
Many high street stores have been attacked for their lack of access as many don’t have ramps, induction loops or even lifts, but what happens when you can enter the shop but you are unable to do any shopping? Well, this is what happened to me when I went to my local Argos store.
When I entered the shop, I realised that all orders are made via a tablet computer system which are not only placed on high level tables but for someone with circulation problem, touch type is quite a struggle. Luckily I had my mother with me who helped or rather placed the order on my behalf.
I wanted to complain, but I felt that the answer would be ‘our staff will be more than happy to help’; this is all very well but how relaxing will the shopping experience be? I would be anxious at the thought that someone is helping me browse and I will be under pressure to make a decision and buy something.
Before leaving the store, I wanted to check how accessible it was for all disabled people and not just wheelchair users. As far as I could see, there was no induction loop for people who use hearing aids, and the tablet that customers order from does not have a magnified keyboard, in fact my mother struggled to see most of the keys and I had to guide her.
Often accessibility conversations focus on access to enter a shop, but not so many examine what happens once you are inside. It is a shame that in 2017 Argos decided to bring its stores up to date with modern technology and advance itself but seemingly failed to take a similar initiative towards its disabled customers, as though we don’t matter despite the fact that we are paying customers too.
By Raya Al-Jadir