I wrote the following letter to OfficeMax customer service conveying my feelings about a positive experience at one of the company’s local retail stores this afternoon and asking that the company make its web site accessible. Please comment about your own experiences with Office Max and send additional e-mail to the company asking for better web site accessibility.

Dear OfficeMax Customer Service,

I am a blind information technology professional, accessibility advocate and publisher of the Blind Access Journal found at http://www.blindaccessjournal.com. Like many other professionals, I must purchase office supplies from time to time, and Office Max is the company I choose to conduct such business.

Since I needed to purchase a new chair and some other supplies for my home office, I decided to visit my local Office Max store in Tempe Arizona at the corner of Broadway and Rural Road. Josh, one of your employees, was extremely helpful in assisting me to select the chair, a paper shredder, a printer cartridge and a cross over ethernet cable for the Accessibility Command Center’s advanced computer networking needs. He also went beyond the call of duty by arranging for assembly and same day delivery of my new office chair! This was extremely helpful for an independent blind person who does not live with sighted people who can easily meet these challenges on a moment’s notice. In many cases, product assembly is almost impossible for a totally blind person who is unable to read printed instructions or intuitively see how various parts go together without such information at hand. Transportation issues are also quite challenging for the blind, and there were serious questions of scheduling your company’s standard delivery processes around the time demands of my regular day job and all my advocacy and volunteer activities in the blind community. Instead of forcing me to deal with these frequent difficulties, Josh assembled the chair and had Brian, another employee, deliver it this afternoon. All of this help was offered; I didn’t even have to ask! It is a great chair and I’m quite happy to own it! This willingness of your employees to go above and beyond the call of duty is a clear indication of your company’s commitment to serve all its customers, including those of us with disabilities! Thanks to Josh and Brian! Please do pass along the positive feedback to their supervisors at the local store.

At the conclusion of this excellent experience with your local store, I decided I wanted to go online to www.OfficeMax.com to complete a positive customer survey. I was dismayed to find that this wasn’t going to be possible due to the current inaccessibility of your web site. After more than half an hour of browsing your company’s web site, I have still been unable to locate the survey. The accessibility problem stems from the fact that there are a large number of graphical links that are missing appropriately descriptive alt text tags. Fixing this accessibility challenge would not be very difficult or expensive, and it would serve to further enhance your company’s goodwill within the community of people with disabilities.

I hope I will receive a personal response from someone on your staff soon. Please provide a direct link to your company’s customer feedback survey so that I may officially express my gratitude for the exceptional ability and willingness of Brian and Josh to go above and beyond the call of duty to assist me in the convenient, hassle-free business with your company. Please also work with your company’s web site developers to correct the accessibility issues caused by the lack of alt tags for graphical links. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to a response in the near future.


Darrell Shandrow