Monday, March 02, 2015


I am still in the early stages of recovering from my foot operation. Yes, I was aware of many of the difficulties that disabilities present in daily living, also, I am aware of what measures  can ease the path for many.  Being aware is not quite the same as first hand experience.  Imagine then, my dismay when I was confronted with little or nothing where I would have expected a minimal something.

Sitting in a wheelchair - it needs pushing by an able-bodied person - I am about the height of an average 10 year old. It provides an interesting viewpoint. Now, I cannot see over some sales counters. If an assistant is standing,  I can see the upper torso and head, a speaking head, not always a pleasant one.  It's a similar experience at the store checkout.
I cannot browse in a store from a wheelchair unless whoever is pushing the chair does not mind doing it as well. I am dependent on my driver to place me so I can either reach for something, or, check it, if whatever it is, is within my grasp. Anything else is reliant on being in a position to see what there is and asking for it/them to be selected for me.  Patience is in high demand by all parties.

In one store, which mostly sells household goods and bedding - not too big a store - I attempted to use my alternative crutches with my new foot dressing, (a story for another time).  To save energy and time I asked  directions to my department of interest from an assistant who accidentally came in view. When I specified what I wanted, she left me standing to ask advice from someone shelf-filling and hidden from view.  It was the girl's first day....anyone who knew the stock was elsewhere. The store did not have a chair available for me to sit on while we waited for another member of staff....'sorry', she said.   A sour assistant who eventually turned up directed me to the opposite of what I asked for.  She didn't know much, if anything.  I was fed up and gave voice, very politely, to my thoughts. 
There were plenty of these chairs for sale and plastic ones too.
A fellow patient, who, like me had been fitted with new footwear and crutches that day, told me she had the same experience a bit earlier in the same store.  The store sold chairs, albeit,  picnic seats of all types.  Surely one could have been dedicated for customer use.

This would have been nice to sit on .


Anonymous said...

It's shame that many places still have such unhelpful staff. You'd think that the owners would know better by now and make proper customer service a prime feature.
I like the look of the seats in the second picture. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

Dunelm have a lot to answer for; Staff who have no idea about their stock, other than where it is put; also, as you say, no idea how to appreciate and look after the customers whose custom generates and supports their business and jobs.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting to discover the nature of limitations and how to deal with them. Hoping that you are feeling well, and that things are progressing as you would like them. Don't know if this comment will reach you, because I always have problems with this blog.

keiko amano said...


I'm sorry to hear about your foot problem.

"Being aware is not quite the same as first hand experience." I bet. Especially you had been active up to this point. I can imagine the world turned upside down, so to speak.

More than a few years ago, maybe close to 5 or ten years ago, I saw a video that a patient in a new wheel chair which can go up and down and move very easily to any directions. Of course, it must be very expensive at first. I was thinking it would be available cheaper or for rental by now. Anyway, it could be, right away, if we stopped all the terrors in the world and quit spending on weapons.

ZACL said...

Hi Keiko,

I wonder if you are referring to motorised wheel chairs, which are frightfully expensive, or self - propelled ones for users with upper body strength. The world does appear different frm a wheelchair.

As my disability is meant to be temporary I would not be looking for any super duper equipment. That said, when I get one that works, I have enjoyed using the electric scooters that some very large stores make available to customers with mobility issues; ( see my previous post on the scooter experience).

ZACL said...

Hi Shimon,

Success! Now all i have to do is get through the double Captcha which as suddenly appeared. Grrr.

You're right about limitations, there are many more than I have mentioned for both me and my helper. That's life!

Anonymous said...

Seeing things from a different point of view can be very illuminating. We all need imagination if we're going to be at all helpful to others - it would not take a great deal of it to indicate to the staff member that a chair would be welcome. I do hope that, despite all the frustrations, your recovery is going in the right direction.

ZACL said...

Too true Gilly. There have been lots of illuminating moments from several sides of the fence.

Early days yet to be definitve about physical developments, though, it is good to have been given the means to be a bit more mobile. Thanks.

Snowbird said...

how frustrating that must have been, why do staff have to be so surly? i hope you are recovering

ZACL said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts. Aide memoire to self: must not push myself too hard. Some days the temptation is there, it does not take long to be reminde to mend my ways...ho hum.

The new girl was pleasant and was let down by the store staff colleagues and their ethic and equal lack of knowledge. As for some of the others....beyond redemption.