Stop Spending Money at Business That Aren’t ADA Compliant

Published: Jan 11, 2019

That bakery you love won’t do a same‐sex wedding? You find a different bakery. Favorite deli place mistreats its employees? You get your artisanal cheeses and meats elsewhere. You do all of the above and you tell all your friends to do the same. You call your local news station. You boycott; you advocate for change; you vote with your wallet.

That restaurant you love has an “accessible” entrance that makes disabled people go around the back and through the kitchen? The local bookstore’s aisles are so narrow you can barely get a shopping cart much less a wheelchair through them? No bars in the bathroom? An automated door that never works? The owner calls everything that he doesn’t like the r‐word?

Silence. Or Maybe a sympathy grumble as you pick out something on behalf of your disabled friend who’s waiting outside of the bakery you love but has stairs leading up to the entrance.

Dear Able Bodied Friends: Without your voice in the fight for equality, nothing will ever improve for us. Ever. We have no money. We have no economic weight. We have no major celebrity representation. The most damage we can do to any business is through bad optics and a collective sense of pity from the able‐bodied world.

We need you to stop spending money at these business. We need to you tell them exactly why you are no longer their customer. We need you to pressure and shame your friends into doing the same.

We literally, physically cannot do this without you. Without your voice and your economic influence, we will never be treated equally. We need you to teach these people that they’ve had 27+ years to get their shit together and that you, their paying customer, are not going to give them any more money until they make this right.

I’ve gotten comments on posts from business owners telling me they would rather rip out the ramp in front of their store so that I couldn’t get inside than do anything to help disabled people. I’ve gotten comments telling me how ridiculous and cost prohibitive the ADA is.

These people are not afraid of the consequences. They are not afraid of losing a customer who cannot physically enter their store to give them money in the first place. This is why we need your help. We need you to pressure these people. We need your voice. The ADA is not a set of building codes—it is the codification our civil rights as disabled people. If you support equality, you must also support equal access.