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“No legs — no cartoons”, or how a business refuses to serve 40 million potential customers

Emma Kairova describes the issue of low level of attention of business — small and large-to the problem of access of low-mobility groups of citizens to the entire range of customer opportunities-from cafes and restaurants without ramps to pickup points of online stores
According to the Ministry of labor, 12+ million people in the Russian Federation have some form or degree of disability — more than 8 % of the country’s population. And those who can be classified as so-called low-mobility groups (MGN), in the country and at all more than 40 million people (and 28 %). And this is a huge share of the market, the interests of which business traditionally does not take into account when making decisions.

This tradition has been established for a long time — even at a time when the well-being and survival of any community depended on the physical capabilities of each of its members. Weak, old, and insufficiently dexterous not only could not bring benefits to their relatives, but they became a burden and a threat. A good solution to the problem was to throw such people off a cliff, sacrifice them to the gods, start them up and leave them in the forest, in the desert, or on a mountain…

Since then, several hundred or even thousands of years have passed. scientific progress has brought medicine and technology to a level that allows a significant part of people with disabilities and low mobility to live a normal life and be full participants in economic relations. However, society changes its view of this part of the population much more slowly and more difficult than the world around it changes. And this is most clearly reflected in the operational and business models of commercial organizations, from the smallest to the largest Federal ones, where decisions are made by ordinary people-members of our society.

You can be more or less sure that you have unimpeded access to the services and products of an organization only if this organization is included in the list of socially significant objects — a pharmacy, a large shopping and entertainment or sports complex, notary services, transport services, and so on. At the same time, even here, very often the approach to ensuring accessibility remains formal and on the principle of “just get behind” — the Internet is full of photos of ramps that go into the sky or run into a wall. The needs and convenience of people with sensory channel disabilities are even less thought about — their complexities are almost invisible from the outside, which means that they do not exist at all. Mothers with children, the elderly, people who are temporarily limited in the amount of movement due to illness-just find yourself a way to overcome all the obstacles to take your money to the business: your children, injuries and age are often your problems, even from the point of view of the legislation.

By the way, about the Internet: in Runet they like to talk about the unenviable situation of people with disabilities, the elderly and parents of young children; about the duties of the state in relation to all its citizens; they like to compare how everything is arranged reasonably abroad. At the same time, these same people, opening a coffee shop, barbershop or questrum, in 99 cases out of 100 do not think that their customers may want to become people from MGN. They will, but they won’t. Because so many of these people are forced to take into account the possibility of physical access to their products and services when making a decision to purchase the company’s products and services.

Meanwhile, article 9 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, signed by our country in 2008, States that in order to enable such people to lead independent lives and participate fully in all its aspects, States parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that people with disabilities have access to facilities and services open or provided to the public on an equal basis with others.

Accordingly, in cases where access to services and facilities is not provided to people with disabilities, they are discriminated against-a violation of constitutional rights.

At the same time, we must understand that where the state’s legislative and educational activities do not help ensure 100% accessibility of all facilities and eliminate discrimination, it can only take “appropriate measures” by force — by organizing additional checks, approvals and fines for all violators. And then the same active citizens who were sick in Odnoklassniki with their hearts for the elderly, disabled people and parents of young children, will cry out to the entire Internet that their business is “a nightmare” and “strangled”.

Whether for this reason or for some other reason, activists from society, education, and larger and socially responsible businesses are still more engaged in raising business awareness. That at the level of a barbershop or pizzeria in an average provincial city is almost not felt.

People who are directly interested in a business that will turn its back not to them, but to the forest, theoretically being able to hold any cafe or Barber shop accountable, prefer to vote in rubles, without choosing products and services that are physically inaccessible to them. But the business, which was not initially focused on these people, simply does not notice that something is going wrong.

However, there are also incidents that it is impossible to ignore proudly, since they very clearly illustrate how unusual and atypical it is for our business to take into account the needs of low-mobility groups of the population when making business decisions. So much so that even possible legal risks are not taken into account. One of these incidents was the reason for writing this article.

For example, the largest Russian online retailer Wildberries recently came up with a campaign aimed, according to the company’s representative, “at increasing the popularity of pickup points as a way to receive orders.” The essence of the promotion is that you can get an additional discount for a number of products from the online store by taking them yourself from the Wildberries order point.

It would seem nothing strange, but. The Wildberries company, when renting premises for its pvzs, did not specifically take into account their availability for low-mobility groups of the population. As a result, not all delivery points have a properly equipped entrance group and the ability to freely access the retailer’s services for people with motor disabilities. And not only for them — any parent who, sitting on vacation with a child, for example, decides to use the pickup service to save on “free delivery”, will either have to leave the stroller with the child on the street, or attract passers-by, so as not to risk the stroller, the child and their own health, dragging all this on their own on a steep and narrow staircase.

This is easy to verify by simply entering “Wildberries order pick-up point” in any search engine»:

Thus, only strong and healthy or unencumbered members of our society, or those who are lucky enough to live near a pvz that happens to be available, can use the right to purchase goods at the most attractive price. What’s wrong? “No legs — no cartoons.”

When asked on social networks whether this approach seems discriminatory and unfair to the company, the representative of the retailer, Eva violet, kindly suggested that low-mobility customers who are not able to get to the premises rented by the company themselves can use the services of some third parties to pick up the order, and then return the goods that did not arrive at the pvz. However, with goods that are not subject to exchange and return, – said Eva violet-this will not work. The risk of paying for a defective or unsuitable product that is not subject to return, thus, it is necessary, when participating in the” promotion”, to assume again only those customers of the company who can not get into a room that is inaccessible to them.

“At the moment —” the company representative added — ” we are preparing a letter to our landlords with a request to equip the entrances to the building/room so that they are more convenient for independent visits by people with disabilities.”

Until then, any low-mobility Wildberries customer who, with a high probability, became a customer, mainly because the retailer provided an opportunity to purchase a wide range of products without leaving home, has a choice: use “free delivery” to the house for only 3,404 rubles, or send someone from the numerous servants to the pvz, taking the risk of throwing money away for non-returnable goods.

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