I had to buy some yoghurt ice cream in the supermarket. Had to? Yes sort of, I was in the supermarket with someone and that person told me to get the ice cream and she would go get some other things. I wanted to try this yoghurt ice cream, hoping I would be able to eat it, because it’s less fatty.
Well, doing groceries is always an adventure in a wheelchair, or when you’re walking with crutches or probably with any disability actually. I always have to take someone with me, otherwise I can’t even get to the store. But also when you’re inside, you really need some assistance. Mainly, because you can’t reach things (too high, or you can’t use your hands because you’re walking on crutches for example) and sometimes hallways are too narrow (or people or objects are standing in the way). I see more and more adapted supermarkets and that makes me happy. With adapted, they usually have a special wheelchair cash desk, so you can get trough the gates to pay as well. Of course, they have to staff that desk too and my local big supermarket keeps forgetting that. I do get weird looks from the staff when I stand ‘in line’ for the wheelchair cash desk, since it obviously is closed. Which makes me think that it’s obvious that I’m in a wheelchair and need to get the wheelchair cash desk opened. They never did that ,and luckily my wheelchair is small (for a wheelchair), so I figured out I could squish myself through the hallway of the normal cash desk anyway. I still find it a bit stupid though and couldn’t resist writing about it. What do you think about this?
Back to the quest for ice cream. First I need to get it, before I get the quest for paying, which I described above. So, imagine that I’m already at the location where the ice cream is. We skipped all the other obstacles and manouvres and I’m already across the supermarket (I wish it would always go this easy 😉 ). I’m in my manual wheelchair and I have a basked on top of me with stuff (a lot of it, usually). This ice cream was in these vertical standing coolers, which you often see for drinks. All I had to do was open the cooler, grab the right ice cream, close the cooler and done. Easy, right? Uhm.. For ‘normal’ people maybe, lol. My first problem was opening this cooler. To reach the handle, I had to put my wheelchair against the glass, but this also meant that my wheelchair would be in the way if I could get it open. Then the next issue was the weight of the door. I don’t know if you ever realized this, but those doors are really heavy. Because of the rheumatism I always have trouble with them. I could only get it open for a tiny bit and then I quickly had to stick my wheelchair in between, so I could push it further open. There I encountered another issue. These doors close immediately, if you don’t hold them well enough. And I didn’t have the power or could stand at the right spot, so the door would keep pushing me away and close. I’m pretty sure it looked kinda funny and stupid. A lot of people were watching, some of them even got annoyed because I was taking so long and was standing in the way etc. They could have helped me but didn’t and because of all the grim faces and pointy fingers, I didn’t dare to ask for help. I would just wait till my partner in crime got back.
[Photo of six silver trophies with fake, plastic ice creams in it, making it look like the trophy is the cone].
Side note: If I could keep the door open, the next problem was that the ice cream was unreachable for me. It was on the floor (which I can’t reach because of the wheelchair and the basket, which I can’t lift from my lap) and it was all the way to the back. Never realized how deep those coolers actually are! Oh and the last problem is that I can’t touch cold stuff, because that really hurts. So no freezers or frozen stuff for my hands 😉
Luckily, I got my shopping partner in crime and eventually she could easily get it. When walking to the cash desk she wondered why nobody helped. Well, because that usually happens, I guess? Even if I do ask. However, I’m not sharing this story to grouch about other people’s manners. I thought this would give some insight in how something simple as getting ice cream in the supermarket, can acutally be very difficult. When you’re disabled, you need to keep planning and thinking about every little aspect. Tiring, but it helps when you’ve tried something once. Then you can prepare well the next times (such as taking someone with you to help and don’t let that person leave you 🙂 ).