Don't Disable the Disabled from Buying!

posted: Friday, June 5, 2009

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I want to touch on a topic today that I wrote about a few years ago, but it is one that hits close to home and I feel very strongly about. We have discussed many times throughout the years that customers are so important and it should never matter what they are wearing, what their background is, or how much they are willing to spend. I am comfortable in knowing that most salespeople in this day and economic times are going to sell to anyone who is willing to buy. There is one segment of the population, though, that I still believe is being shafted. (Sorry, for being so harsh but the word fits.) People with disabilities are still often finding it difficult to get the same customer service as everyone else and it's getting old.

I am relying on a lot of information for this article from my nephew, who I have mentioned in these pages before. He, himself, has a minor disability but he has also dedicated his professional life to working with people with developmental disabilities. I would like to share with you some of his more recent experiences.

He shared this with me just a week ago; he went to purchase a set of golf clubs from a sporting goods store and was told by the salesperson that he should just go buy a cheap set from a department store. When my nephew asked why, the salesperson said, "Why spend all of your money on a set of clubs when you are probably not ABLE to play very well?" That statement is not only inexcusable, it is discrimination.

He is constantly spoken to as if he is a child and is incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation. It should be noted that my nephew has a Bachelors Degree and is very intelligent but this is not about him, no it is about making a judgment on someone's ability to buy or understanding based on a funny walk, an unusual voice or the fact they are in a wheelchair. Do not EVER assume that because a customer has a disability that they are not smarter than the average customer is, because based on my experience, I am betting on the customer with the disability.
People with disabilities have wants and needs, please be the salesperson that sees that. It is one hell of an untapped customer base!

FINAO - Brad Huisken - IAS Training

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