Sometimes, it pays to persevere. For years, I and other individuals have requested, pleaded with, and even demanded that the Halifax Shopping Center branch of RBC (formerly known as Royal Bank of Canada) install an audible banking machine. This branch has gone through several managers over the years, and all were less than responsive to the suggestion that accessibility in banking would be “a good thing” (to borrow a line from Martha Stewart). The branch went through a major retrofit last year, (INCLUDING INSTALLATION OF A NEW BANKING MACHINE), and despite reminders to the deadheads in charge of the dough (AKA the last manager) to order and include an audible machine, the branch ended up putting in a new, regular INACCESSIBLE machine. People who can’t see the keypad and display, cannot use it for quick, everyday banking, like other bank patrons. Instead, our options included going to the stand-up tellers while trying to juggle papers, guide dogs and privacy, or the grim death march-like wait with the ‘seniors’ at the sit-down service. The latter is the default choice of most blind people who bank alone. Many a time, I have sat…and sat, and waited for my turn to come. It irritated me beyond belief to wait endlessly for the privilege of depositing money into the coffers of an already obscenely profitable bank. Tic-toc! My time is valuable too! And to boot, any blind person in need of cash or depositing funds to cover bills etc after banking hours? was screwed! So one day, as I sat vacantly at the ‘sit down’ service, eavesdropping on some old geek’s long winded financial and personal history (in excruciating minutia) , the new branch manager came over to introduce herself. A big sigh went off in my head, but a cordial greeting coming out my mouth…and within two minutes, I redirected the conversation. I asked her if we might open the dialogue about accessibility problems with this RBC branch one more time. Result? Darlene, the new manager, just telephoned to announce (a mere three weeks or so after I sent her a detailed e-mail about accessibility, Accommodation, rights and obligations blah, blah, blah), that the RBC Halifax Shopping Center branch will, by April, install AT LEAST THREE AUDIBLE BANKING MACHINES AT THE BRANCH ITSELF AND WITHIN THE MALL!
Now, I can look forward to cruising over to the mall at any time, and being able to go the bank machine (the audible ones) , slip on my headphones, plug in, and listen to ‘bank guy’s’ voice croon his instructions to me, thereby allowing me to conduct transactions quickly….such as depositing my money…. into the coffers of an obscenely profitable bank. Nice going, though, RBC.