“Mind the step,” the shopkeeper warns a departing customer. He always says that. The step is a feature of his shop, running across the whole width about ten feet from the door. The step is needed because about seventy percent of the shop floor is a few inches above street level.
“Do people ever trip over it?” asks a customer.
“Sometimes, the shopkeeper replies. People with bifocals don’t always see it and people are sometimes talking and they miss it.”
“I suppose you’ve thought of putting in a ramp?”
“I have, but the whole floor from the step to the back of the shop would have to be lowered to street level which would cost about £12,000.”
“The whole floor? Wouldn’t a ramp do?”
“Yes, I’d like to put a little ramp there with a handrail."
"That would do..."
"It would but too many council departments are involved - plus the fire people. I’d end up with a big ramp all the way to the door, two big handrails blocking the front displays and the fire people would still have to check it and they often disagree with each other. Nobody wants to make things easy. Bureaucracy gone mad.”