Low level abuse or oversensitivity? — Scope | Disability forum
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Low level abuse or oversensitivity?

axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
When out and about I find most people fall into three categories - those who go out of their way to be helpful, those who will be helpful if asked and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the first two categories seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Example - with my powered wheelchair I am once more able to go to the supermarket on my own. However this is not without problems - I can only reach two or three of the shelves in each aisle, there's a limit to how much I can carry in a bag on my lap and don't get me started on the self checkouts! Occasionally another shopper or a staff member will ask if I need help, more often if I need something that's out of reach I'll ask whoever happens to be nearby. To nearly everyone else (including staff) in the supermarket I seem to be an inconvenience - I'm in their way, I'm not moving fast enough (I could go faster but won't be able to stop in time when someone steps in front of me), I can't pay and pack quickly enough etc etc etc

Even the journey to and from the supermarket raises issues. I pay for public liability insurance because sooner or later I'm not going to be able to avoid the person looking at their phone instead of where they're going. I've had someone wearing a back pack step backwards as I passed them, hitting me in the face - my fault in their opinion. I've had someone say out loud 'I'm not saying sorry just because she's disabled' to her husband when she'd stepped into my path. I am actually sick to death of having to be hyper vigilant when I'm out because so few people seem to pay attention to what's going on around them and expect a motorised vehicle to be able to stop instantly.

Is it reasonable to expect to be able to go out without having to dodge people texting or without getting tutted at when I take longer to get my shopping into the bag so I can pay and leave? Is there any reason why I should have to queue at the manned checkouts when I've only got 4 items because I can't reach the screens on the (nearly always empty) self-checkouts? 

I don't know many disabled people, so I don't know if this is what happens to other people and I don't know if it's me being over-sensitive or whether it's reasonable for me to be so stressed about it - I've gone as far as buying one of those little tiny video cameras that attach to your clothing, though I haven't used it yet.


  • exdvr
    exdvr Member Posts: 331 Pioneering

    @axwy52.....Hi, and I couldn't have put it any better myself.  I often feel that there should be mandatory training before anyone can be a pedestrian.  Too many faces in mobile phones, not looking when reversing, and generally not giving a damn about any other being on the planet.

    You are not alone.

    Best wishes.


  • Misscleo
    Misscleo Member Posts: 647 Pioneering
    Been saying this for years
    Its DISABILITY HATE CRIME and its time the law locked people up for their behaviour to disabled people.
    I get it off family. Friends and strangers.
    Thdy think they have a RIGHT to take it out on disabled people
    They know if they did these things to able bodied people theyd get a punch on the nose but hey they know disabled people cant fight back cos WED BE HURT.
    I tried to get "change" to get a petision going but of cause they are abledboded so wont help.
    Its what is needed.
    EVERY disabled person Get your mp to move themsevles. 
    We need protection from thugs who see us as foder that they can dump on. Do it now !
  • axwy62
    axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    Maybe the camera is the answer - not to pick out any particular person, but just to demonstrate what happens every time I go out. It’s not something that can be stamped out overnight and I doubt much is deliberate so making people aware of how such thoughtlessness can affect others might be the way to go. 
    It’s not just wheelchair users that are affected - according to my son, pedestrians on the shared path are just as inconsiderate about cyclists.
  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 746 Pioneering
    Supermarkets will provide a personal shopper, especially with advance arrangement, but it makes sense to figure a time when there are not crowds, for own comfort and safety, and to have an available spare assistant.

    The design of conventional wheelchairs is not good.  Scooters at least have a pillar to break the impact if someone falls in your lap, plus the tiller touching their bums is a better warning than your own armrest, which is a bit too late.

    Then, there's the height.   My half-thought out add-ons would be some kind of adapted Hoola hoops to form a non injuring protecting 'n warning soft bumper cage. 

      Also, a 'halo' of balloons, and flashing l.e.d lights, , so even peripheral vision of texters should be alerted.   

    Or, get a mortgage and spend the lot on one of the few wheelchairs which allows either a fully raised seat, or a standing position.

    Or, at least for shops, get the slightly more attainably priced chairs or scooters with seats that can  rise provided they are not in motion. 

     High shelves, tick.   Being able to spot from near the door which part of the shop has the racks of trousers, tick.   Being able to talk to people at dignified eye level, even if it's only when stationary, tick.  Feeling a bit less helpless, a bit more equally empowered, tick again. 
  • DavidJ
    DavidJ Member Posts: 51 Pioneering
    Wow !! 
    I could have written that myself !!
    axwy62 .
    we all get that I’m afraid . I like the idea of the body cam and extra insurance.
    i find that people like us also do not realise that we don’t have an automatic right of way on pavements !! Therefore most of the time it’s like riding through a maze . 
    Supermarket shopping is a nightmare ! I usually wear a hi vis jacket and I call it my invisibility cloak !!!!
    I tend to have my major shop delivered but if I go myself I take a list of the things I want that are on a high shelf and get the staff to help me . I call a spade a spade and yes there are some good people about but also some ######## s too .Dont be frightened to make a scene if you are in the right . It’s amazing how much help you get 

  • DavidJ
    DavidJ Member Posts: 51 Pioneering
    Just an additional point guys and gals .
    Have you noticed that despite the equality act 2010 there are still huge amounts of shops with no disabled access at all !!
  • GothOnWheels
    GothOnWheels Member Posts: 18 Connected
    100% not being oversensitive, i completely get how you feel. I'm so sick of being elbowed in the face, be hit by bags, people either stepping in front of or back into me, and generally being so unaware of their surroudingings that i get hurt - even when my partner has to push my manual chair! I thought being on crutches was bad, having been knocked off curbs and them multiple times, but this is rediculous. and don't get me started on shop accessability -_- I'm considering getting a loud bike horn, might be worth a try for you too?
    Not broken, Just more interesting
  • axwy62
    axwy62 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    Shop accessibility - local independent clothing store whom I would love to support, racks are so close together that I can't even get beyond the door.
    Major supermarket chain - such limited space between the ends of the checkouts and the front windows that if there's a trolley being loaded no one wider than Twiggy in her heyday can get past.
    Major budget supermarket chain - staff consider they and their pallets clearly have priority over customers, at least one aisle blocked every time I go in, aisles generally so narrow they should have a one way system in force.
    Local shopping centre - only one automatic door at the main entrance, always blocked by people stopping for a chat just inside, the only lift is so small that all wheelchairs/buggys use the one in the department store instead.
    Local pedestrianised High Street - always full of street traders blocking half the width of the road, other half cluttered with bollards, hoardings, shop displays and pedestrians, and it's cobbled!!!!!
    Loud horn - would love to, but fear the potential consequences of frightening people.
    Learnt on my first wheelchair expedition not to carry anything on my lap, use a backpack (when I have assistance) on the back of my chair with the chest strap firmly fastened around the seatback and keep the phone etc out of sight. Wheelchair users are definitely seen as a soft target, only got my handbag back on my first outing thanks to an on-the-ball passer by.
    On a positive note. Went with my son to an old-established Tailoring business to get his suit altered, been in the same premises since 1860, ramp at the door, level access to the main area, only place I couldn't have got was the changing room. There should be an accessibility award for places like that.
  • drb78
    drb78 Member Posts: 5 Connected
    Shopping and going out in public for me is a massive mission that requires military precision planning, I use a wheelchair and constantly get hit in the face with handbags and bags in general. Back in the beginning of my disability journey I would be the one saying sorry or excuse me all the time, 12 years on I give as good as I get! If I get hit in the face I simple get their attention and tell them, if they start to give me grief then I simply cut them off by saying well come down to my height so I can hit you back love! I also have found because I am of a younger age random people feel they have the right to question what my disability is and why I have a blue badge! To these people I simply say well I know what your disability is, which they normally reply with I do not have one, then I say I'm afraid to tell you, you have a disability too it's called IGNORANCE! 
    I was never a fan of confrontation ever, and I am still not but 12 years of being treated like a second class citizen has given me a feisty side. 


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