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Now that I'm here . . . may I reach your merchandise?

Barrier: Products which are too high or too low on store shelves.

Law: The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Accessibility Code are applicable because both have high (54") and low (9") reach requirements for a side approach.

What can you do to correct it?

Today: If you feel this barrier is a problem in a grocery store that you often patronize, you might start by bringing it to the attention of the Manager in a friendly, helpful manner.

Tomorrow/Next Visit: If nothing has been done on your next visit to the store, there are several options for you to consider. You might want to speak to the manager again to ask what action he is considering. You might consider writing a letter to the manager, perhaps with a carbon copy to a local or neighborhood newspaper.

Advocacy tips: It is always best to begin your advocacy with a smile and a pleasant tone of voice! The person you are approaching is probably unaware of the barrier that you have encountered or noticed. They are probably also unaware of the information you are bringing to them. But don't assume that, because there is a barrier, everybody in the store is unaware of the law or does not care about people with disabilities. It is very likely that the manager has some personal experience with a person with a disability, but simply is not aware of the specific barrier you have noticed. You can always escalate later, if no changes are made.

First, try to educate the manager--win her/him over to your point of view — Make an ally of her/him! Let them know that other people feel the same way that you do — and perhaps are not coming into the store because of the problem. Take along a friend for moral support.

If nothing happens — Dig in your heels!

If the responsible parties with whom you have communicated have done nothing about your request, now you should consider taking remedial steps to bring in outside technical assistance and/or enforcement officials. Here are some resources for you to call on for further action to correct the problem.

Be sure to let us know if you have some pet peeves; barriers that you have not been able to get around. We'll do some research for you. If you need help finding other resources, call us. Let us know how your advocacy progresses; we'll be happy to discuss the problem with you, and brainstorm about new approaches and other resources if these don't work. Good luck!


Council for Disability Rights

Knowing your rights is the easy part. Exercising them can be a bit trickier.

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