This Rite Aid press release announced two legal agreements signed by Rite Aid with of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the American Foundation for the Blind, and the California Council of the Blind (CCB). In the Rite Aid point of sale agreement, Rite Aid agreed to install tactile point of sale devices at thousands of U.S. stores so that blind people do not have to disclose their PIN when using a debit card. In the Rite Aid web accessibility agreement, Rite Aid agreed to make changes to its website to make it easier for people with disabilities to use the site. Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian were the lawyers for the blind community, using Structured Negotiations to achieve the agreements.
RITE AID’S WEB SITE AND POINT OF SALE IMPROVEMENTS PRAISED BY BLIND COMMUNITY LEADERS
Camp Hill, PA (May 1, 2008)– In a move praised by state and national blindness organizations, Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) today announced it has undertaken a nationwide initiative that will benefit Rite Aid customers with visual impairments and other disabilities. As part of the program, Rite Aid has made enhancements to its Web site and has begun installing new point of sale equipment with tactile keypads to protect the privacy and security of all shoppers who have difficulty entering numbers on a flat screen.
Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between Rite Aid and major organizations including the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind.
Web Site Access
Today’s initiative includes Rite Aid’s commitment to ensure that www.riteaid.com meets guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c) (www.w3.org/wai). The guidelines, which do not affect the content or look and feel of a Web site, ensure that Web sites are accessible to persons with a wide range of disabilities. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use a screen reader or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse.
“An accessible web site opens up unprecedented opportunities for people with vision loss to obtain goods, services and information on an equal footing. We applaud Rite Aid’s commitment to ensure that www.riteaid.com is usable by the broadest range of online consumers, including those who have disabilities.”
— Paul Schroeder, Vice President, Programs and Policy Group of the American Foundation for the Blind
Point of Sale Improvements
Rite Aid’s point of sales improvements announced today are designed to assist customers who cannot read information on a flat screen point of sale device and therefore cannot privately enter their PIN or other confidential information. Most point of sale devices in Rite Aid stores now have tactile keys to prevent this problem, and the company will be replacing remaining non-tactile devices by the end of 2009. Blind community representatives praised Rite Aid’s plan to install payment devices with keypads: “Without tactile keys, blind people are forced to share their PINs with strangers,” explained Melanie Brunson, executive director of the American Council of the Blind. “Today’s announcement, and the collaboration that led to it, demonstrates Rite Aid’s understanding of this fact and its ongoing commitment to its blind and visually impaired customers.”
“Our goal is to deliver a superior shopping experience to all of our customers, and with the initiative announced today, we can better serve our customers who are blind or visually impaired,” said Rob Easley, Rite Aid chief operating officer. “We thank the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind for their valuable assistance in making Rite Aid a better place for customers with disabilities to shop.”
About Rite Aid
Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with more than 5,000 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia with fiscal 2008 annual revenues of more than $24.3 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at http://www.riteaid.com.
About American Council of the Blind (ACB) and California Council of the Blind (CCB)
American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. California Council of the Blind is the California affiliate of the ACB and is a statewide membership organization with 40 local chapters and statewide special interest associations. ACB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB and CCB can be found by visiting www.acb.org and http://www.ccbnet.org.
About American Foundation for the Blind
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.
For More Information, Contact:
American Foundation for the Blind
Tel. (212) 502-7675
American Council of the Blind
Tel. (202) 467.5081
Tel. (717) 730.7766