Don’t worry – this isn’t an ad for a well known supermarket.
This time of year there’s a lot of shopping going on. People are #PANICKING. Shopping can be a hard task for me as a disabled person anyway like traveling to the actual shops etc but add in those panic buyers and generally busy atmosphere and it can be energy draining and full of awkward moments. So here are a few tips for people working in retail that could make a disabled customer’s shopping trip that little easier.
It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how many people avoid contact with me in shops. I am always the one to say hello first and instantly the atmosphere is a lot less tense. So maybe next time do a game changer and be the one to say hello first.
Some people say they don’t interact with disabled people because they don’t know whether they need help or not, so they just don’t bother incase of embarrassment of saying the wrong thing. I think the best thing an assistant in a shop can do for me is say something like ‘if you need anything, just ask’. This then gives me comfort that if I can’t reach something I can ask but I won’t be followed round the shop being offered help at every aisle. (lol how funny would that be though)
‘av a look round
Obviously when it’s mega busy this may not be possible. But if you see someone that may need a wider aisle and things are a bit cramped – have a look round. Don’t panic scan and run round the shop with a tape measure. Just pre-empt and scan to see if there are any boxes or possible hazards in the way. For example, recently I called a lift in a shop and it was filled and I mean FILLED with boxes as “storage”.
‘av a chat
It’s very often when I’m out that people will speak to my friend I’m with rather than me first. Even if I ask a question. Maybe this is fearing that they won’t understand me? I’m not sure. But I would say give it a go, speak to them first, give eye contact, listen and answer. This may sound daft and obvious but there have been so many times I have been ignored. It’s embarrassing for all parties involved.
One of the biggest things I hate about shopping is being at the till. Not the waiting but paying. It takes me longer to park up, raise my chair, get my purse out, carry my bags, put my purse back and lower my chair. So don’t feel awkward if there is a silence or it’s taking a bit longer for that person. Just chat, offer help or wait.
This is why I absolutely love LUSH. I know they are embracing the particular Facebook video at the moment mocking their over friendly customer interaction, but for me I think that kind of customer service is brilliant.
So I hope that may have helped anyone working in retail for these next couple of weeks and in life generally. Even one of these tips could make someone’s day and they will definitely come back. I know I do.
If you have any tips or stories about shopping do let me know!