How to Ignore the Americans with Disabilities Act

Geek!This is Shawn McClendon’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

WARNING: This article is intended for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed in this piece are by no means intended to represent Chris Pirillo or any other individual involved in the writing or publishing of this article. Following the ‘advice’ given in this piece could result in physical injury, legal fines, or even in some extreme cases, jail time. Now, let’s get on with the show.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like almost every time I look around, there are more and more cripples wandering about in public, instead of keeping themselves in hospitals, institutions and being the respectable shut-ins we have come to expect. Now, I’m aware that aggravating these people may not be the utmost in political correctness, but at the very least, watching them go into a complete and utter meltdown, can be good for quite a few laughs. The question is though, how to go about getting these usually docile, sometimes even timid people, to put on a show for you when you need a little cheering up. That, right there, is where my advice and I can help. Give my article a read, and you’ll be dancing in the aisles in no time at all.

Now, before we can begin getting under the skin of your friendly neighborhood disabled folk, we have to locate them. As it turns out, finding them is often the easiest part of this entire endeavor.

Everywhere you go, in every parking lot, be it at the grocery store, or the movies, or even a restaurant, you will see these little blue and white signs marking all the prime parking spaces. These serve to tell the handicapped where they should park. Often they even give the disabled the mistaken impression that they are actually welcomed at your favorite establishments. After all, these people often have money to spend as well. The good thing is, that those signs I mentioned earlier, can also be used as one of the first and easiest ways to irritate our often wheelchair bound friends. After all, why should they get all the cherry parking spots? Just pull your car, van, or even station wagon into these conveniently marked spaces, and be certain to take your time enjoying your new, and easier shopping experience, while those rightfully entitled to the special spots spend their time and energy fuming over your inconsiderate attitude.

Be warned though, that police officers and security guards very rarely share the same sense of humor as your average working Joe. This means if your caught parking in these reserved parking spots. You could be fined as much as $500.00. If you would rather not get fined or hassled by the cops however, there is another option that can be just as effective without being as likely to lead to legal problems on your part. Simply find one of those designated parking spots we were talking about, preferably one that is already occupied, then park your vehicle as close to the driver’s side door as you are able. It should be quite interesting to watch the owner of the other car contort themselves into the small space afforded between the two automobiles. I recommend however that you be prepared to spend money to have your car freshly detailed when the owner of the car you have boxed in dings your paint with the edge of his door, but then there are risks to every plan.

Now, I think we should move on to something new and different. Keep an eye out for the blind individuals in your area. You can usually recognize these gentle folk by their white canes, or the dogs they have walking beside them strapped into leather harnesses. Folks with guide dogs are particularly fine targets for our next prank. You simply stroll up close to them, with your pockets full of poorly printed and blurry PETA literature that you produced using your trusty dot matrix printer before leaving the house. Now, take a fist full of leaflets from your pocket, and wave them about erratically, demanding that they stop and read this information which you have so thoughtfully provided. Be certain to adopt a loud and commanding voice. After all, we have established that these people can’t see. Are we simply meant to assume that they can hear properly?

Now you need to be aware that just as with our previous little enterprise, this idea is not without its pitfalls and dangers. Be observant of those around you. If the blind person you choose to approach happens to be accompanied by friends or family, you might find yourself restrained or even attacked. Also, if the service animal is of questionable temperament you could even find that it will leap to the defense of its owner. Barring all of this of course there is always the slim but very real chance that the blind individual in question is more than capable of their own protection.

This last segment is directed toward our friends in the retail and service industries.

As you kind folks have chosen to operate stores and restaurants and the like for the rest of us, you will no doubt be confronted with the occasional customer with special needs. Should you wish to make their experience with you more interesting, there are a few simple tricks you can use. Take a glance around your sales floor, and notice all that empty space just begging to be filled. You can take advantage of these wide open spaces, and fill them with what are often called portable sales racks. These are display units that can be filled with excess merchandise, and impulse items. If you like you can even take the chance to design a maze, or obstacle course out of these movable units. Next we should pay special attention to your facilities. See those nice, wide doorways that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that you build in to your rest rooms? Try stacking them full of mops and buckets, or safety cones. I’ve even seen the odd manager make the area narrower by filling the gaps with cases of hand soap or paper towels. Again, there is always the risk that your customers will not see the humor in these situations, thus leading to loss of revenue or even legal action, so consider carefully as you act.

Now, these are only a very few of the things you can do to make life more interesting for those disabled members of your community. Each is different, and may have its appeal, but as I have tried diligently to point out they also present various problems. I recommend you consider very carefully before you choose to implement any of the advice put forward in this little writing, after all, satire and sarcasm can be difficult for the best of us, can’t they?

And, just In case you were wondering, I (myself) am blind -and- in a wheelchair. The bits from the article are taken from the things that irritate me the most when I go out.

27 thoughts on “How to Ignore the Americans with Disabilities Act”

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  2. >>Be certain to adopt a loud and commanding voice. After all, we have established that these people can’t see. Are we simply meant to assume that they can hear properly?<<

    The sad thing is, I’ve seen that happen before, and not only with people who are blind, but pretty much with every disability. Out of some reason people assume just because you’re in the wheelchair, because you can’t see or whatever, that you also cannot hear. It’s somewhat sad :/ But I guess it also shows how very little contact most people have with those who have disabilities, which make em do these strange… strange things when they are -forced- to interact with those they prefer to ignore.

    Kudos to the author of this piece.
    Well done. Well done.

  3. Wow, this was really informative. I’m currently taking classes in the Graphic Design field and I have to say all of the information is pretty spot on, and important to know when making sure everyone has an easier means of accessing a client’s or retailers website.

  4. This is a hilarious, and rather interesting point of view. I happen to love this author, and recommend you read everything he writes. He’s great.

  5. Great article. Often the best way to get a point across to people is through humour.

    This article is rather confronting and shocking in its voice but that’s often, sadly, what it takes to get the general population’s attention. I too am disabled as are some of my closest, dearest friends and I find it just as frustrating that people don’t often think before they act. I really think articles like this get the attention of those out there who aren’t aware of what hurdles disabled people face in public and gives them a shake up on their way of thinking.

    It’s tongue-in-cheek but grabs your attention all the way to the end. Hopefully it’ll change a few minds out there and we’ll see a marked improvement in the way society acts towards those who are disabled.

    Bravo Shawn.

  6. Lol.. well done.. Forgot one though ;), If one really wants to entertain oneself by annoying the disabled.. never underestimate the fun to be had by denying entrance etc to the service animal…

    Humor is a good way to point out these issues though

  7. You have a point there Samantha. I’ve had several places try to refuse me entry because of my dog. Even remember a large cross country bus line whose driver once tried to refuse passage to a paying customer -after- we were assured by their corporate office that traveling with her dog would be no problem at all. Wonder how long that driver kept his job after that trip?

  8. I must admit that when I first started reading this article, I thought oh boy here we go again! And yes my blood was boiling… As I have read over and over again with various articles about how people with disabilities don’t really have such disability. Sometimes it is from the article itself and sometimes it’s from commenter’s stating things like it’s the parents fault for those children in which the medical professions call having Autism.

    Hopefully that people reading this who don’t actually think before acting will stop now and think. However there still will be those ignorant people that just do not give a hoot what they do as long as they get away with such things. Some may even try some just for fun. It’s unfortunate but I have seen this happen several times to others.

  9. Fantastically written, and all too true. Having a disability myself, I have often run into this problem, the looks one gets simply for walking around. I can only hope some take this to heart, and learn to be more tolerant of those around them with difficulties.

  10. Let’s see, how to respond. I was working at Wal-Mart myself about 6 months ago, and when I was put on restricted duty, which was no more than 15 minutes standing at a time, I was put on a medical leave. About one month into my leave, there was a position opened that I could work, and I even went in and spoke with the manager, who said they would give me an interview. Lied to, of course, and when the time came for my leave to end, I was told that I would not be allowed to take another. So I quit…which looks better on my record than being fired. I know where you are coming from, and I know just how bad it is to get around when you have a hard time of it.

  11. Interesting method of bringing awareness. I’ve worked retail, and at least where I worked, we were always fairly respectable of the regulations and whatnot to make everones experience better.. after all.. we wanted people to spend money 🙂

  12. To:letRvoiceBHeard

    To be honest, as bad as it may sound, I’m glad I got your blood boiling. That means you were paying attention. At the same time though, I’m glad you were able to read through to the actual intent of the article.

    Yes, my son is autistic, and we have often had people glare at us or worse for ‘allowing’ his behavior. We have had doctors tell us it was nothing, and even a few that reported us to family services. Its part of the reason I write articles like this, force people to pay attention. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

    To Wryn: Am glad you approve, and yes, its interesting to watch the looks you get when you dare to go out in public. I’ve even had people grab their kids and yank them away when they saw the wheelchair, as if they were afraid that whatever put me in the chair might be catching.

    To all of you (and yes Chris that means you too): Thank you for your support, and please, lets keep the conversation going, these are the types of conversations that make a difference… Thank you all…

  13. A Very nice article, very well written. Being a Disabled person myself, and having my husband be disabled as well, we know exactly where the author is coming from. I hope more people listen to what he is trying to say.

  14. Brilliantly written! Its amazing the things people do sometimes… the taking of parking spaces happens often where i live… it’s like being a sign there makes no difference… Reaches a point when one wonders who the real blind are…

  15. Ah…let’s see here. I am not a widely-versed individual. And in as much as I can see with or without assistance, even if without I find it difficult to tell people of similar height and build apart unless they speak. So, I would fall into the category of all the people out there who might, usually, by simple lack of knowledge do things without knowing do things that annoy people with various debilitating aspects. Although some are fairly well common sense, and general good manners, such as parking in or blocking in a vehicle parked in a handicapped space. That is something there can be no excuse for aside from an abhorrent level of stupidity and ignorance without any attempt to rectify the lack. But, how, without ever having known anyone who was blind, would somebody attract the attention of one who cannot see to inform them perhaps that they have dropped something? It would be beyond a level of rude to just step up and say something like “Hey, squinty” or “I’m talking to you, blind guy.” As for the part about seeing eye dogs and the PETA sheets printed out and the like….I am already one to dislike most things that PETA enthusiasts say or do. There is nothing wrong with having a seeing eye dog, any more than there is simply having a dog at all. Just because the dog has a harness to help the visually impaired is no reason to get up in arms about it, as I doubt the canine companion would be nearly as cooperative if it was being hurt or discomfited by it. Now, on to the part of the portable sales racks, one of the great american principles of our commercial-based focus, is to make as big a profit as we can manage with the little space we have. Now, unless you had meant that they placed said portable sales racks in walkways, or actually made a maze or an obstruction to being able to move around with no space to avoid them, I feel it is unfair to denigrate them for upholding one of the american ideals. Though I can agree with how rude and inconsiderate the part about placing things about in the doorways to restrooms. I have no need of mobility-aids or the like, but I have still on occasion caused quite a racket by bumping them and causing a whole stack of brooms or mops to fall to the floor. There isn’t any need to do things like that, since after all, is this not why we have amazing devices called….gasp…closets? Just as in general life moments, where the average person can make stupid and uninformed mistakes, so too can our stores and restaurants. Though for any of the larger chains or people that have multiple minds working together to run an establishment the most notable errors in good sense should be avoided, human error not withstanding.
    I agree with a large number of your points here, though as I have pointed out there are a couple that I do not. There are some things that one cannot know, and certain stupid mistakes that everyone is bound to make in their life. Though there are also plenty of rude people in the world that would do things on purpose, becoming angry with everyone might be going a bit extreme, but still part of human nature that no one can change. All in all, it gives me things to consider and I find the different perspective a nice expanding of horizons.

  16. To John: I’m not a lawyer, let me get that out of the way first and foremost, but from experience it would sound to me as though you might have grounds for a law suit there. My recommendation would be to seek out the services of your local Legal aid offices, if nothing else they should be able to tell you if there is grounds for a case or not. I know that my own local legal aid offices have been able to help me with similar issues in the past.

    To Bob:I’m glad your employers saw the benefit to being considerate to -all- their customers rather than just the TABs (Temporarily Able Bodied) and if you have doubts about the temporary part, ask John:) In Truth, most places I’ve been to are very considerate, and in my travels I try to make a point of thanking those who are as much as I try to chastise those who aren’t. I’m not perfect of course, but I try.

    Brenda:I’d like to take a brief moment to thank both you and your husband for your support, and hope you keep reading. This isn’t the first time I’ve submitted to one of Chris’s contests, and after seeing the amount of positive response this article has generated, I am seriously considering starting a running blog on . If that is something you would be interested in seeing, please, feel free to let me know.

    To Sabriyah: Thank you for taking the time to contribute to our little running conversation here. It’s ashame that such ignorance as you speak of exists on so wide a scale, and thats all it is really, ignorance and lack of consideration. To ignore a posted parking restriction, and the excuse I hear most often is “I didn’t see it.” It makes me want to respond with, “if you’re that blind, maybe you shouldn’t drive?” Thanks again for taking the time.

    To Skylar:Thank you for paying attention all the way through, and you are of course correct. I should not have made such a blanket generalization. My main problem with the mobile sales racks is when they are places so close together that people on -foot- have a difficult time getting around them, much less someone in a wheel chair getting around or between them. thank you again for reading and pointing out my mistake. Like I said before, I’m not perfect.

    Thanks again to you all, please.. lets keep the conversation going, after all, that’s what we’re all here for, right?

  17. I will type this slowly and loudly so you can understand …
    Very pertinent points, and one that I have often felt the urge to complain over – a bevy of vehicles taking up the disabled bays at the local super-market, their disabled stickers prominent by their absence. I think I may start a campaign of informing the manager of such suspect vehicles.
    However, the flip-side of the coin is those genuinely disabled who seem to consider that their disabled sticker is a permit to park anywhere, regardless of how inconvenient to anyone else!

  18. I would love to see more articles from you, Shawn. You seem to be a very intelligent person who needs their voice to be heard. You could be an advocate for those of us who do not have a say so because of our disabilities.

  19. Its awesome to see the amount of discussion this has generated… surprisingly enough this may just be the simple answer that gets people talking… and as we all know talking is the first step to action…

  20. I thought it was funny, reminded me of that one song… “I’m an asshole.” there’s a part where he says something about handicapped people. Honestly at first I was like wow this is kind mean…should I be laughing at it? I’m sure if I was disabled I’d probably be angry at reading this before getting to the end, but I’m not, so I wasn’t. Wonder if that makes me an asshole…

  21. Very much enjoyed your article. If more people would just stop and think about others instead of only themselves, we might not have such problems. But most people are very self-centered and that makes them “blind” to other people’s predicaments and problems.

  22. Ehlanna: Your quite right. There are many disabled people in the world that seem to view their disability as a license to do whatever they like. Unfortunately, all they truly manage to do is to make things more difficult for the rest of us, permanently disabled and TAB’s alike. In the case of the parking issues however, my usual response is the same whether it is involving someone parked in a reserved space without a sticker on their car or license plate, or someone with a sticker who has decided to park inappropriately, such as on the sidewalk, as I have seen a few times. I open my cell, dial the local sheriff’s office, and read out the location, and license number of the automobile in violation. A disability is just that, a disability, a difficulty. It is not however an excuse to go about daring the world to stop you from doing just what you please.

    Brenda: We all have a voice. It just tends to be more difficult for some of us to be heard than others. We just have to work a little harder at getting the world’s attention that’s all. However, seeing as I seem to have gained that attention through this little article of mine, I think I’ll keep it a while longer and see if I can do some good with it for a change. You will most certainly see more articles from me in the future, likely on all manner of things, from my point of view. invite you, and anyone else with an interest to come and read them. I believe you will find the link above.:)

    Samantha: You are quite right of course, and that was after all, my intent, to get people talking. Thank you so much for being a part of the conversation, please, keep it up.

    Miyuka: Your referring to a certain Denis Leary song I do believe. happen to love that song. It was actually part of the inspiration for this article in fact, caught a bit of it whilst I was contemplating what to write and began to ask myself, “why can’t I write something like this?” and so I did. I like to think that Denis would find a lot of enjoyment in this article were he to ever stumble onto it. I’m glad to see so many people out there besides myself manage to see the humor in sarcasm. Thank you for being a part of that.

    Diane:I’m glad you enjoyed it, there will certainly be more to come. Just keep an eye out for my page on in the near future. Your quite right, its the focus on ourselves that tends to lead to the types of ignorance I tried to point out here. When I was growing up, a very special lady taught me that that sort of view of the world was called tunnel vision, where people are incapable of seeing any more than is right in front of them. She also taught me that when they refuse to see, you simply have to put what they choose to ignore front and center, until they have no choice but to react. That is what I’ve tried to do here, and its what I will keep trying to do in the future. Thank you so much for being a part of the conversation we’ve started here. please, I hope you will continue.

  23. And my doctor wonders why I have high blood pressure. Grins. Must say though it was a nice change to make a comment agreeing with people here instead of hitting the wall with some stupid comments especially when it comes to service animals. This is actually my first time I ever saw your article. Glad to have found it though.

    Yes, I too have a service dog which means I am a person living with a disability. grins. Of course some people think I am the trainer but not a person with a disability. I am actually both! And it shocks them! Guess they cannot figure out how a person living with a disability could actually do things.

    C.S.McClendon wrote:
    I’ve even had people grab their kids and yank them away when they saw the wheelchair, as if they were afraid that whatever put me in the chair might be catching.>

    Now I gotten a different type of approach. I have had people tell their kids oh go ahead up and pet my dog for I wouldn’t mind. They must think I am totally blind or deaf. A stereotyping attitude (blind, deaf and dumb). But it really shocks them when I tell off the parent and only explain to the child that they have to ask me first and why.

    There was one time though when a person grabbed not my arm but my dogs equipment and yanked us across the highway in which I wasn’t crossing in the first place and my dog was trying her best to pull back. Thankfully we didn’t get hurt especially my dog but it was quite scary.

  24. LOL LOL LOL I see you haven’t changed, partner. 🙂 Nice piece, very well written! Got me fired up. As a former/current employee of Wally world (Wal-mart, for the uninitiated) I’ve seen alot, and I mean ALOT of what you’re talking about. If it’s OK, I’d like to print a copy of this, and give it to my manager. We just had a safety meeting about alot of this. This will give him a better idea of why we need to improve the way we store that stuff. As for the closets, mentioned by another poster, at least at wally world, they have all their supplies at various stations, and I’ve NEVER seen a broom closet. I guess they figure it’d be better to put it on the floor and kill someone. I’m also going to confront him about that, too. Peace and love, and all that fun stuff. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and whatever else folks are celebrating this year. It’s a shame, wally world has turned me into a pci. (Politically Correct Idiot)


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