Standing in Line is Not Accessible

Published: Jan 15, 2019

You’re straining to hear the instructions coming from the front of the line, while trying make sure the person in front of you doesn’t step backwards and trip over your wheelchair. The same person that’s blocking all of the sound that you need to hear in order to know what the fuck is going on. When it’s finally your turn to order you have to quickly choose something from a menu you’re just now able to completely read and then shout your order to the person working because the counter completely blocks your face.

We live in a world where you can get soup delivered to your apartment in under an hour and underwear by subscription. Why the fuck have we not made standing in line obsolete?

Think about it for second. If you:

  • Are Visually impaired
  • Are Hearing impaired
  • Have a sensory disorder
  • Have anxiety, dyslexia, or a learning disability
  • Are short
  • Are not a fluent or native speaker of the majority language in your area.

then lines are fucking stressful. In a line, information is often presented to you quickly and mostly via spoken word. If the information happens to also be presented in a written format, it’s only presented in one or two languages and is usually positioned in such a way where you have to be a certain height and have a clear unobstructed view to see it.

A large percentage of the population have smartphones. There is absolutely no reason for business to not put things like menu items, instructions, or forms online and in a format accessible to disabled people and people who are not native speakers. If the business needs to call out a number as part of transaction process (e.g., “Now serving number 32451″), they could easily send a notification or text message to the customer’s phone.

There is no reason for anyone to have to wait in line to tell someone what they want to eat or do. There is nothing more infuriating then watching someone stand at a counter and dictate their order to someone who is then entering it into a computer. A computer not dissimilar to the one we keep in our pockets. Why, in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and It’s the Fucking Future is this still a thing?

Every major restaurant should have digital menus (translated into multiple languages—it’s not as expensive as you would think), online ordering, and a notification system (text or push notifications).