Why oh why is it so difficult to go out in a wheelchair these days, and what is it with shops in particular that they don’t understand? People in wheelchairs do not all have carers to do everything for them… Even the ones that do have carers still like to be considered normal. We all need to shop, socialise and be out in the real world, and with only just a little more thought, from shopping centre developers/builders/ planners they could be made things a lot easier for those of us in a wheelchair.
I thought I would take Zippy (my new RED wheelchair) out, to see how I would get on pushing myself around, my aim was to test how difficult it might be to accompany my husband on the weekly food shopping trip. And while we were out, we thought it might be nice to have a little look round. Off we went with high expectations, hoping that i could participate in a regular everyday task of popping around the shops… My hopes were starting to be dashed, when our first task was to find a parking spot. In short we found it very difficult to find a disabled parking spot, and we had to wait for someone to leave in their car; the person was clearly not disabled (who am i to judge)? but they didn’t display a blue badge on their windscreen. We both get so angry when people clearly break the law, parking in place not designated for them. I know it seems quite an insignificant whine, but it really is difficult when there are so few disable parking spots. The reason I and others with a disability need a larger parking bay, is I think fairly obvious, getting out of a car requires the door to be opened fully, and if you need to transfer to a wheelchair it is impossible if you are not in a larger parking bay, so please if you do not need a disabled parking space, and have a blue badge allowing you to use a disabled parking bay, please do not park in one.
I suggest all those who have a wheelchair , and require disabled parking print a few of these “Polite Notes” and have them at the ready, to place on the windscreen of any offending vehicle… Maybe together we can get the message across.
Well we parked and my husband got “Zippy”out and me in, off we went, and again the so-called wheelchair shopping trolley doesn’t fit my wheelchair, how the hell do they expect someone on they own to shop if in a wheelchair, when we managed to find an attendant to ask why, I could not use the trolley with my wheelchair, he said they are designed to fit the wheelchairs they supply.
How was a person disabled supposed to do that, if they need to use their own wheelchair to get to the shops, what do they do with their own wheelchair if they need to transfers to another wheelchair, how bloody silly. So we went in separately, hubby with a trolley me wheeling myself, having trouble steering as can’t yet figure out how to turn a corner, but will get there in time, lucky it’s a Friday early afternoon, not too many shoppers around, but they are filling shelves with large storage cages in the way, having to manoeuvre around them, trying to watch out for other shoppers, I’m constantly apologising, also end of each aisle stacked discount goods don’t help. By this time I’d had enough so cut my food shopping short, and waited outside for my husband to finish.
We thought after loading the car we’d have a look around, it’s quite amazing though how many places we just could not get into with a wheelchair, either the entrance was inaccessible or the shops aisles were not wide enough. We thought we would look for a coffee shop, but that was a problem too, the places we found I couldn’t get into, unless we wanted to sit outside, if they had that facility, but it was really cold so abandoned that effort, decided to go home for a drink.
So in conclusion going out in a wheelchair, you do need someone with you to help access places, it’s advisable to check first when and where your going, to check accessibility, take a look at another posts I have written, about doing or going anywhere “Spontaneously“if in a wheelchair, we have to think before we attempt to do anything, oh well saves frustration and disappointment.