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The "Hypothetical Example" continues ...
The Demographics of Disabled Access

[5] The "Ripple Effect" is a Double-Edged Sword ...
Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.
Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.
Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.Illustration: A double-edged sword.

And a double-edged sword cuts two ways.

Unfortunately, when it cuts the wrong way, many retail merchants don't have a clue that anything bad is happening until it's too late.

Now, let's continue with our hypothetical story.

One day, you happen to run into Brad Smith in the grocery store. Recalling the comment your waitress made recently, you remember that you haven't seen any of the five members of the Smith family - or their friends - in your hypothetical restaurant in over a month.

So you stop and ask Brad where he's been, thinking to yourself that maybe the Smiths had been away on vacation or something ...

And you are stunned by the answer you receive.

Brad seems a little uncomfortable at first, but then explains that his son Chuck was involved in a little football accident and injured his leg during a game, and that Chuck has been hobbling around on crutches for the last few weeks.

Brad tells you that Janet was afraid that Chuck would have trouble getting up the steps to your restaurant's entrance on the crutches, and insisted that they find a safer place for her son to eat dinner. Trying to be apologetic, Brad continues with "you know how mothers are."

What Customers Don't Know Can Cost You Their Business

Brad tells you his family has been going to a barrier-free restaurant about a mile away that Chuck's sister Vera had located for him on the Internet, and promises that the whole family will be coming back to your place from time to time as soon as Chuck's leg injury has fully healed. (The doctors expect that Chuck will still be on crutches for another 3 or 4 months.)

Brad says he's sorry, and hopes you understand.

"But my restaurant is also barrier-free now," you exclaim to Brad. Didn't he realize that you had just spent thousands of dollars on remodeling your restaurant to make it more accessible and convenient, only last summer?

And didn't he know that your store now has a disabled access ramp too? The ramp is just at the entrance in the back parking lot, instead of at the front entrance the Smith family usually used, because there wasn't enough room to build a ramp in front.

Brad looks down at the floor for a few seconds, swallows nervously, and tells you he didn't know about all that. Then he promises you that his family will be in for dinner again "real soon."

Shaking your hand, Brad tells you how great it was to see you again, and walks away quickly.

How Inadequate or Erroneous Information Can Cost You Business ...

As you watch Brad walk away, you suspect you have lost his business permanently, and that you may not see the Smith family - or their friends - in your store for a long time ... if ever.

And you begin wondering if maybe you could have kept the Smiths (and their friends) as customers if you had only made a more diligent effort to spread the word about the recent remodeling of your restaurant and it's updated menu and improved accessibility.

Aren't you glad that this is only a "hypothetical" story?

Nothing like that is happening with customers of your business, is it?
References: [ Disability Studies, Statistics, and Related Issues | No Java? ]
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