[nagdu] Handling difficult store owners

Star Gazer pickrellrebecca at gmail.com
Mon Jul 22 20:57:06 UTC 2013

It really is your call. Me, I'd take the dog and gradually the barber will
get used to it. 
He can feel any way he wants, but that doesn't impact or shouldn't impact
how he treats customers. 
Really though, it's up to you. 

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Andrew Webb
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 4:16 PM
To: nagdu at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nagdu] Handling difficult store owners

Hello all,


I've been a member of this list for all of about the last 15 minutes, so
it's good to be with you all.  I'd like to ask some advice on a topic that
I'm sure comes up very frequently.  I'm a pretty new guide dog user and so
there are some situations on which I'm still sort of feeling my way and
appreciate hearing thoughts from more experienced handlers.


I recently visited for the first time a store where the proprietor was
plainly not very happy about my having brought my dog inside.  Specifically,
it was a barber shop.  However, the point I'd like to emphasize is that,
unlike with a couple other similar encounters I've had, this gentleman was
absolutely kind, respectful, and courteous to me in every other regard.  He
gave me a warm greeting, made small talk, made sure he knew what I was
looking for in a haircut, etc.  He just wasn't comfortable having the dog
inside the shop.  He said that ordinarily the shop has a "no dogs" policy,
but that for me, "he would make an exception."  (Yes, I know, kind of
patronizing, but I needed to get my hair cut.)  When we were done, he asked
if next time I could please tie up the dog to a post that is right outside
the shop's front door.  I explained to him in a respectful tone, that this
was a service animal and as such enjoyed a special status, and that by law
the shop owner could not refuse admission to the dog or ask me to keep him
outside, not to mention the fact that I take care to ensure that the dog is
clean, well-groomed, and well-behaved.  After I explained this, especially
the part about the applicable laws, the gentleman just sort of went silent,
we left it at that, I wished him a good day and the dog and I were on our


Bottom line: This was a nice and seemingly decent fellow, who probably
sincerely believed that he was acting within his rights as the store owner,
and simply doesn't know the relevant law.  He listened to what I told him
about the law, but I don't think he believed me.


I wonder how people would suggest that I handle this matter going forward?
This barber shop is far and away the most convenient one for me to visit,
and what's more they give good haircuts at a reasonable price.  In other
words, all other things being equal, I'd prefer to keep going there, and it
would be an inconvenience for me not to.  What's more, it's a short enough
walk from my house that I can feasibly get there using just my cane and park
the dog at home (in most cases).


What's giving me pause here is that the shop owner was nice, just ignorant.
If he were a jerk, it would all be different.  I can deal with a jerk, and
have done so.  I'd have no problem suing, if need be.  (I'm actually an
attorney.)  But in this case, since the shop is right in my neighborhood and
I pass by it every day, since I'd prefer to keep going there for haircuts,
and since the owner was an absolutely nice guy aside from not wanting the
dog in the store, I feel sort of conflicted.  I wonder if I should just
check my ego (and my rights), and go there in futre without the dog?  Or
should I return there next time with the dog, armed with a copy of the
relevant statute in hand, and show it to the gentleman, in the interest of
educating him (and consequently probably taking the pleasure out of that and
all future visits)?  Perhaps there are no right or wrong answers here per
se, but I'm just interested to hear people's thoughts.


Also, when I went to sit in the barber's chair, I left my dog tied down to a
seat in the waiting area (perhaps 20 feet away).  Can anyone tell me if
legally this was permissible, or do I need to have him close at hand near
the barber chair?


Thanks in advance for all thoughts and perspectives.




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