Christmas! The happiest time of year, right? Except really, it's awful and stressful right up until the moment everything is done, which for a lot of people isn't until midnight when it's hitting Christmas Day; or even longer if they're cooking.
We work out way around shops, getting annoyed when they're out of that one present and get frustrated when online shops don't work properly. There's a ticking clock on how long there is for that delivery to arrive.
Trust me, though, these can be the smaller worries of disabled people because of how other people go about these stresses. People don't consider how they move around, shop workers don't consider accessibility, and it's just difficult.
It was (a few nights) before Christmas, and all through the shop... there were accessibility nightmares
I went to Asda last night with my mum for our Christmas shop. I *knew* it was going to be the shopping trip from hell the minute we walked in the door and one side of the travelator was out. But that's fine, you say: there's both a lift and stairs! Well, I use a walking stick and we had a trolley so the stairs were out. That leaves a lift - a lift where there was a twenty minute wait! So we just wandered around the top floor for longer instead, but that just made my heart race more and my legs hurt worse. Swings and roundabouts, because I got to see this...
|3 lines of trolleys in front of a|
display of socks.
In regards to people's ableism, rather than shops not thinking, Christmas and supermarkets just brings out the worst in people. People were shoving and not looking where they were going, and I got multiple glares because I was going a little slowly. The walking stick makes it a little more obvious, but if I didn't have it, I would have felt really looked down on (like I used to). People can't see the pain I have or see my heart racing.
One man pushed through my mum and another lady with his basket. Had me and mum swapped places, that would've been me out for a week because of my nerve sensitivities.
But Charli, why did you go? You probably knew that stuff could happen!
Okay, I knew that the trip would make my legs hurt and my heart race badly, but I know my limits. I also knew that people might be being awful, but I hadn't been out of the house all day. And besides that, I shouldn't have to justify it.
Why shouldn't a disabled person be able to go shopping because a shop can't consider not putting stock in the middle of an aisle? Or because people are too busy trying to grab the last tube of pringles to notice why I might be walking a little more slowly?
The answer is that I shouldn't. Disabled people should be able to fit into society without these sort of issues. But we don't, because it doesn't cross people's minds until it affects them or someone close to them. And that's the issue. There was no way a wheelchair user could have gotten around that store, and to me, that's not okay.
I've targeted ASDA in this post due to it being my main experience this Christmas, but I would like to say that I go to the store a lot and I've only had these issues last night and one other major ableist issue which I didn't complain about (which is my own fault). I mean no harm to ASDA as these experiences translate for many disabled people to many stores.
I have also not discussed mental illnesses and disabilities here. These are just as difficult for people in shops in this season, myself included, but I felt that this post was better focused on physical difficulties due to the shop.