The shopping trip
Many people see a wheelchair, but prefer to talk to the carer/person with the chair rather than the person IN the chair…it’s my legs that don’t work properly, not my brain!
So, with that in mind, I go to my local Supermarket to get some groceries, things we need like kitchen towel, cheese, milk, bread and other stuff so that my children can eat and NOT leave a mess (yeah…right!!!)
My first hurdle, as many of you will know, is actually REACHING to get stuff…I mean, even able-bodied people aren’t 10 feet tall and can change a light bulb without a step-ladder, can they?
Bread is not a problem, and the same with other diary products, except cream…for some reason cream has to be on the top shelf, so that only the worlds’ tallest man can check out the label for expiry dates!!! Having a basket perched on my lap, so that I can actually get more than one product without spilling it all over the floor, and oh, the embarrassment of dropping all my shopping to have someone STARE at me as I pick it all up…I’m in a wheelchair, NOT a bloody pushchair…c’mon!!!
Having people stare at me is not a problem really…I get stared at, but then, how often do you see people in a wheelchair these days?
Is it OK for people to step over my feet as I try to get products off the shelf?
Is it OK for people to reach OVER my shoulder to grab something as they are in a rush and too busy to notice me in the aisle?
Is it OK for the “home-shoppers” to push me out of the way to get stuff for their lists (YES!!! This actually happened!!!).
I fight back in the ONLY way I know how…with sarcasm, wit and the occasional LOUD comment whilst maintaining eye-contact AND smiling!!!
Step over my feet, and I will remind you that manors cost nothing, so try using them and I might even help you by grabbing something you need if I’m right next to it!
Try to grab something over my shoulder and as I reverse back to get out of your way, I may/WILL run over your foot, and if you expect an apology for this, then maybe you shouldn’t have done this in the first place…I have feelings as well and being in a wheelchair makes it 4 x harder to do things YOU take for granted!!!
Try to push me out of your way, and you will find out that wheelchairs have BRAKES and we’re NOT afraid to use them!!!
A simple shopping trip to get the “essentials” is often fraught with uncertainty, some trepidation, fear and above all anxiety, as I often wonder just what is going to happen…:
Will I get filthy looks when I park my car and struggle round to the boot to get my wheelchair out?
Will I get my feet kicked as someone trips over them in an attempt to get to products I am looking at?
Will the cashier offer to pack for me, when I tell them I can handle it, they keep asking?
Will I get bumped, pushed, glared at, abused SIMPLY because I want to get food and products to feed and clean up after my children?
It gets to the point where I want to consider ordering online, but I find that more often than not, by doing this I cannot browse or examine the goods I want, nor look for a longer expiry date instead of just what’s there, or just simple to look for an alternative I find acceptable, not what the staff THINK I might find acceptable!
I hate shopping sometimes, as a lot of occasions I feel I am treated as 2nd class person, JUST because I am in my wheelchair?
I didn’t WANT to be in a wheelchair, but I am, so I can go out, do things that able-bodied people take for granted and just simply to try to live life as best I can.
The next time you go shopping and you see a person in a wheelchair, try talking to them, NOT the person/carer with them…they might just appreciate that someone some day has taken them for being a HUMAN BEING!!!
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