I can’t begin to tell you how the smallest things make a difference to me. I am unable to walk unaided and life can sometimes be a struggle when it doesn’t have to be. I walk slower than I once did, it’s hard to carry my shopping home and sometimes it is impossible for me to get into shops or buildings simply because of the way they have been designed. I feel slightly shut out from life at times and all because I can’t walk for long periods of time and I have to use a frame.
My walking frame is brilliant and it helps me no end when I am out and about. However, it’s not perfect and I find that my legs weaken throughout the day. I lose stability and my eyes are constantly looking out for places where I can rest for a while. Shopping isn’t as fun as it once was, in fact it can be quite stressful.
A Fun Day Out? I Wish!
Yesterday I went out shopping with my daughter and we had a good day. I wanted to treat her to some coffee and she needed to pick up some bits in town so we decided to make an afternoon of it. When we arrived at the coffee house I noticed it was extremely busy. We waited in the queue to be served, which seemed to take an age. After we were served my daughter had to carry the tray of drinks and cakes along with several shopping bags and her handbags. We looked around for a table only to discover the couple we had our eyes on in the queue had been taken. Our only other option was to go up the stairs. Unfortunately the coffee house was in an old building and the stairs were steep and curved. Basically there was no way for me to get upstairs!
My daughter went back to the counter and the assistants were very sweet. They pulled out some chairs from the back and we sat there while waiting for a more appropriate space to become free. It was a tad embarrassing and inconvenient so we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked. Usually we stay and have a few cups of tea but this time we left after about ten minutes.
Unfriendly Shops Put Me off Spending my Money
From there we went shopping and some of the shops weren’t any better than the cafe. There were many that had stairs and no lifts, others had difficult heavy doors to open and a few had steps that caused some problems for me. I was left feeling frustrated and tired, and felt that the day could have been better. This isn’t the first time I’ve been out with my frame and it’s certainly not the first trip where I have had some issues. I just wish that some shops and restaurants for that matter would think more about the people that walk through the door.
It’s not just people like me, what about those with pushchairs, or in wheel chairs? Why don’t more shops work harder to ensure everyone is able to view all of the products? I know that many have escalators now but it is a little scary using one of those with a frame and I saw many women struggle with their young children too. More needs to be done to improve these problems.
Excellent Service Helped
Not all of the shops were bad though. There are ones that have thought about their access and made sure all of the products can be seen by everyone. Those are the shops where I spend my money, I have got to the point now where if a shop makes my life difficult I no longer give them my cash, it’s that simple. With online shopping it’s easier to find the items I need from home, even though I would rather support my local community. If they don’t think about me, why should I care about them?
Improving disability access is one way to help improve the customer’s experience when they come through your doors.