Wheelchair Despair

I'm a part time wheelchair user which basically means I'm not completely dependant on my chair, and I mainly only need it for trips outside the house. I don't tend to use my wheelchair much as I'm still mostly housebound, but when I do I am always very grateful for the opportunity to actually be going out as without it it wouldn't be possible. However the more I use it, the more I begin to dread using it. Like the stares, sympathetic looks and patronising comments aren't enough to put a girl off, I was also recently given a few more reasons to add to the list of annoying things about being a chair user.

Before I flew to Madrid last week, I needed to pop into town. I've not been into town in the chair before as the last time I attempted it my pain levels were so high we didn't get very far, but I can't say it was a very pleasant experience.

First stop - the bank. Whilst I appreciate that banks need to take out certain security measures, they hadn't really given much thought to their disabled users. Not only could I barely fit through the designated queueing isle without knocking over the barrier but once I reached the counter I could hardly see the man behind the desk, let alone hear him through the plastic shield, consequently leading to me shouting rather loudly - Awkward 1 Hayley 0. Once the whole building had heard what I went in to do I was told to put my card in the reader and enter my pin. Standard procedure had I been able to reach the bloomin' thing! If I couldn't stand for a few seconds, lets say if I had no use of my legs at all, how would I have got around that one? With a bit of difficulty I imagine. I left the bank with less money in my pocket, and less optimism for this trip to town than I had started with.

Next I wanted to go into a book/craft store. I'd like you to take into account that this shop is part of a large chain in the UK and whilst their premises in my town is fairly small, their attempts at filling the shop with as much stock as possible was clearly the goal. In we wheeled (my Dad was acting as pusher for the day) and I kid you not got about 3 feet in before I literally could not go any further. The isles were full of towers of stuff stacked up so high. Baskets overflowing with tacky bargains. Anyone with a pushchair or even somebody on the larger side would've struggled to squeeze by. The items I was after were at the back of the shop so as we were failing miserably to maneuver past the piles of stock, all the gormless staff members could do was look on in fear that their perfect pyramid of pencil cases was about to come tumbling down. They didn't even ask us if we wanted any assistance and we were the only people in the shop so I thought screw that, if you don't even have the decency to offer a hand I'd rather spend my money elsewhere, and we reversed back a whole 3 feet and went on the the next shop.

So by this point my patience is wearing thin. I'm already in a lot of pain and the two places I had been in hadn't been a huge success. Things could only get better right?...

The last shop I went in was a drugstore. My first impressions were good, there was a ramp at the door, nice wide isles, and then we turned a corner. There in front of me was a great big mountain of toilet rolls stacked up high. 'Great!' I thought. How am I supposed to fit past that? I tilted my head back and looked up at my dad who was grinning a mischievous grin. We both chuckled. He knew what I was thinking and I knew what he was thinking - Cue evil laughing. He wheeled my closer to the toilet roll mountain and just as we approached it my foot rest 'accidently' caught the bottom of the pile and the whole thing came tumbling down. WOOPS! We turned back, left the shop and went straight back to the car and went home empty handed.

I think I will be doing all of my shopping online in future.

How great are my editing skills! & my face has turned into a grumpy cat...


If any of my spoonie readers have any similar experiences I'd love to hear them in a comment below!

Hayley-Eszti
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23 comments

  1. Gee, tough tumble for the tissues, but stores that cramp their aisles so full annoy me too. Logistics - most of the retails stores know little of this. They block the cashiers with junk. Retail needs a makeover.

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    1. Haha they'll get over it! Maybe next time the managers will rethink their floor plan!

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  2. LOL! You two sure know each other well!!
    In spite of the frustrations that you must feel on a daily basis with inconsiderate people and staff at shops, I do admire your sense of humour and condor regarding your health problems and people's reaction to it.
    Hayley-Eszti you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks Jim - glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your comment it has really made me smile :)

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  3. I shop online as much as possible. I sadly recommend it. My old bank had a low desk at the teller area for wheelchair users, which I always thought was rather good. Most places are not designed for disabled people :(

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  4. I shop online as much as possible. I sadly recommend it. My old bank had a low desk at the teller area for wheelchair users, which I always thought was rather good. Most places are not designed for disabled people :(

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  5. I shop online as much as possible. I sadly recommend it. My old bank had a low desk at the teller area for wheelchair users, which I always thought was rather good. Most places are not designed for disabled people :(

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  6. hahahaha good on you for knocking the toilet rolls over! That will teach them ;-)
    I think it's sickening how many stores/ places still don't consider people in wheelchairs or, even worse, do not try and help when they see people having trouble.

    xo
    www.yummylikecake.com

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    1. I had just about had enough! Maybe next time they will rethink where they put their towers of loo roll haha

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  7. Oh girl, I laughed but only because I so get it. I think I posted the pick on instagram where I couldn't get into the childrens section at a very large chain book store because of a huge rolling cart of books that someone left mid putting them away. No doubt to help someone or do something else but there I sat with the kiddos until he returned to his cart some 10 minutes later.
    Not so fun one was at a book signing on campus. A very old building with a wheelchair accessible entrance behind (the HUGE) building. Yeah, it led to a locked door. The signing was in one of the front rooms, with a million steps. My husband was there so he went in and asked them to open the back door. Everyone was apologetic, but its still frustrating.
    Big love to ya!
    Carrie @ JustMildlyMedicated.com

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    1. Yes I remember that! It does get frustrating, especially when people who are paid to help don't! I've had more polite helpful people who are just everyday passers by than actual staff for places.
      Big love back!

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  8. Hi Hayley sorry to hear about your difficulties but it sounds like you are a very persistent and determined person :) thanks for following my blog too! Aly @perfectisamyth.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. Brilliant!! So many shops are not designed for wheelchairs (and so many other places too). I've never had the bravery to do something like that, so thanks from another part time wheel chair user!!

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    1. Haha you are welcome! I'm not normally like that but you know when things just go from bad to worse things can get the better of you and toilet roll mountains become an easy target!

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  10. You are hilarious man! Love your attitude girl x

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  11. Sorry to hear your trip into town wasn't a success. I used to hate my wheelchair, though now I have an electric scooter am a lot happier as most people tend to move out of the way. Of course, it doesn't make shopping any easier so I do most of it online. The one place that has always bothered me though, is the doctors. I am yet to find a doctors surgery suitable for any kind of wheelchair, which is a disgrace in my opinion.

    Hope you have some better experiences in future.

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    1. Glad life is a bit easier for you now, scotters are more intimidating than a manual chair so I´m not suprised people move! Doctors are tricky I agree, the waiting room in mine has pretty much no room for chairs

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  12. Ha! This has made my morning. Well done you and your Dad for knocking the pile down, that ought to teach them. It's a shame toilet tissue is soft ( although maybe not a shame for it's intended purpose) but otherwise they may have had to discount them all. It happened in Tesco by us, a large display of roses chocs etc toppled ( not by wheelchair) and they had to sell them really cheap. It is disheartening though they your so psyched to be going out and stupid things like that put a dampner on it. I'm working on a similar post, mind if I link to this? Xx

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