Yes, I'm a blind customer.

So it was a rainy day in Iowa City and I was late for a meeting and I ran through the wet streets with my guide dog and we got to the fancy coffee and take out food emporium just a little late. The people we were to meet had gone. Speaking for ourselves the guide dog and the man were drenched. I made my way to the coffee counter hoping to discern whether there might be another seating area where my friends might be waiting.Now here’s the strange thing (or one of them) about being blind. You can sometimes see just enough to know you are being dissed.

The girl behind the coffee counter stared at me. She just flat out locked her eyes right at me and she

did so as if I was a mannequin. The counter was high enough that I suppose she might not have seen my guide dog. But a customer, sighted or not should be addressed I would imagine. Was her silence a reflection of the fact that I was standing there and not making eye contact save that I was holding my head up and first in line and surely that ought to be enough for a minor acknowledgement? Yes? I decided to seek out the manager and to politely suggest that blind people are customers too.

Ah but the manager upon being ever so politely summoned was also rude. “Yes,” he said, standing suddenly in front of me.

“Hello,” I said, I’m Steve–what’s your name? He told me he was Jim but not without some radiance of malediction.

So I told him I’m not certain that the folks at the coffee bar know how to be polite to a blind person–and before I had a chance to continue he turned on his heels and muttered something about having a talk with them and he walked away as fast as he could.

So needless to say I’m not shopping anymore at the Bread Garden in downtown Iowa City.
IN my world view, two strikes and you’re out.

S.K.

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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