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Canada Post gets a hard lesson in accessibility. And they’re about to get another.

Carin over at the Vomit Comet already laid good into Canada Post for this one, but since I’m procrastinating with this whole packing thing anyway and a little backup never hurt anyone, they get a friendly little reminder from me.

In December, I decided I had 30 seconds between the other 80 million things I was trying to get done that last week or two before Christmas to actually fire off some cards to family and a couple friends. You’d think an effort that’d take a grand total of 30 seconds, right? Last year, yes. The year before, definitely. This year? Yeah, no. What should have taken 30 seconds instead turned into a moment of temporary oh shit.

As part of their move to supposedly “improve the customer service experience”, Canada post had at some point late last year decided it might be fun to go all touchscreen, all the time. Their reason for doing so? It’s a requirement to deal with the new chip-equipped debbit cards. Much like Carin in her experience, postal chick and I went a round or two over that one. Not only could they have easily gone with another, more accessible model, but–in my case in particular–the unit I was staring at was stuck to the counter, which was roughly chest height for me (I’m 5’11 or so). Which meant, in simple terms, not only could the blind/low vision not do anything whatsoever with it, but lord help anyone who came rolling on up in a wheelchair. I’d of loved to see just how the local post office was going to handle that one. They weren’t doing a whole lot to handle this one, in any event.

Lucky for me, as you quite literally can’t get to 90% of what’s available in this town without wheels, I just so happened to have a pair of eyes handy. Equally lucky for me, they’re eyes I actually don’t mind knowing my PIN–hey, sometimes stuff has to get done and I’m busy. But I’d of been in much the same boat Carin was otherwise. And the explanation of such to the postal employee? Prompted the much anticipated and not at all favourable–for her–standard responses of, “You’ll just have to make sure you bring someone with you, I guess.”, and, “Well, there’s an ATM not far from here. We still accept cash.”.

As if she didn’t probably already figure she maybe shouldn’t have said that–I probably should give her a tiny benefit of doubt, here–she got a good dose of education from both myself, and my wheels. There was no actual reply, and we went on business as usual.

On my return home, I’d put together a little something and sent it via Canada Post’s less than well-organized website into, what I’m going to guess, is their customer feedback black hole. As of yet I haven’t heard or seen anything resembling a response, and when the roommate and I went to fill out a money order for the apartment that wasn’t (more on that in another entry, if I remember), things hadn’t changed. Of course, anyone who’s done this dance knows exactly what comes next–a longer letter. Which will more than likely get dropped on someone once I touch down in Rochester. And hey, this time, I’ll have a month to go find regulations with which to beat postal people around a bit. One would suspect I had too much fun doing this. And yeah, they’d be right.

The moral of the story? for the love of cheese, get with the accessibility program already. You’re a federal agency, bound by federal laws. This includes federal accessibility laws–which, I’ll admit, the actual government’s having a hell of a time following but that issue’s already been beaten to death on every blog but this one. Get your shit in order. Or, hell, better yet, hire me and Carin–we’ll do it for you. I expect this from the private sector–rant on that coming probably when I hit Rochester. After all, they don’t make much money off us blind folks. But really? Canada Post? They don’t make much money, period. Let’s half some equal playing field up in here, and maybe they’ll make a little more. In the meantimie, where’d I put my regulations?

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9 responses to “Canada Post gets a hard lesson in accessibility. And they’re about to get another.”

  1. My vision is perfect and even I have a hard time with those goddamn touch screens. They’re horrible to use, let alone see clearly. Muted colours and fine lines? Awesome. Thanks. So useful.

  2. You know what pisses me off to the nth degree? Apparently, since they’re federal, I’ve heard rumblings and mutterings that they’re not bound by the AODA, even though the AODA says anyone who sells or provides goods or services in Ontario is bound by it. But apparently federal chains can thumb their noses at it. Not that I think the AODA is worth the paper it’s written on, but…if you know of stronger regulations, I’d like ’em for Canada Post and for BMO.

  3. Also, did you phone them? Phone their 800 number and complain via phone. I don’t know if my email complaint or my phone complaint or my live and public yelping got the supervisor’s attention, but I heard from a local supervisor. So it didn’t feel like such a black hole. I also, now, have her extension.

  4. The last Walmart I was in had a machine that was part touchscreen and part buttons. I could enter my PIN, but that was about it. At least I could accomplish the most important part of the process, but I was still none too pleased.

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