Or rather, they don’t seem to like making things accessible or easy for disabled people.

I went to Ikea Gateshead on Thursday to mooch for some new stuff.

None of the induction loop systems by staff workstations or tills were working when I tried to use them to talk to staff.

This is shocking – every single loop system I tried to use wasn’t functioning – I checked, and the loop setting on my hearing aid was working fine.

When I asked staff to check at both a workstation and a till, neither member of staff knew where the loop was located or how to check it was switched on.

Now, I’m not only a hearing-aid user, I’m also a wheelchair user.

I’m packing a few access-requirements all in one handsome bundle.

Then there was the PIN machine
When trying to pay at the first self-service till the PIN machine had been installed so that the lead wouldn’t pull out so that I could reach it to use it.

Staff then took me to a second till. that PIN machine was locked in place, so a supervisor had to be radio’d to bring a key, then unlock it, then spend minutes trying to still pry it from the holder because it was stuck in place.

It made it unreasonably difficult and time-consuming to simply pay by bank card as a wheelchair user.

I was told they have to lock them up on the holders “for security”, but I notice their security measures don’t stop non-wheelchair users reaching the PIN machines.

There is no reason that instead of locking the PIN machines into their holders high up on the till, that instead they have them on chains so that they can still be quickly passed to wheelchair users or people of restricted growth to securely enter our PIN numbers.

The manager apologised and said he’d look into it. But he’s said that before. He also insisted they really really value their disabled customers. Not enough to look after their adaptive equipment though, apparently.

Ikea: nil points


UPDATE 24 MAY 2011 (David): Just out of my meeting with IKEA. I think we have a very positive result! They’ve agreed to fix all the induction loops, replacing them with better, fixed loop systems. They’re looking into changing their security measures for the PIN machines, but regardless people in wheelchairs will be able to use them properly. So all good stuff. All thanks to Pesky People!