November 30, 2005
Let me preface this by saying that I believe those who cannot walk and require wheelchairs deserve independence. And they don’t deserve to be made to feel “different”.
I was at my local branch of the ANZ Bank today, where we were discussing the need to have a teller counter that was lower, for wheelchair-using customers. This was part of a discussion about how banks had, for a good part of the late twentieth century, treated people like numbers. Only now were many getting back to the idea of banking as a service. (I don’t expect our British banking industry readers to fully grasp this.)
I asked what they were currently doing with wheelchair users. I was told that a customer services’ ofﬁcer would serve them individually, often bringing them a deposit and withdrawal slip, and taking care of their business away from the teller counters.
Frankly, I wasn’t appalled by this. Isn’t this merely an extension of good service—just like how folks used to come out and wash your windscreen and pump your gas at service stations once upon a time, before self-service pumps? I would not think that the few customers who use wheelchairs getting this level of personalization were getting extra-“special” treatment. It’s simply the bank being human and doing the decent thing: serving them to the best of its abilities.
Comments are welcome, since I do not have a single idea of what life is like in a wheelchair. permalink
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