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Shopping at the mall with Karly is very different than it would be if I were to shop with an abled person. There are many things that an abled person might not think of when they go shopping that a person with a disability does. I will explain how shopping differs for Karly, and I compared to shopping with an abled person.
How I help Karly:
- Reaching things off shelves- Karly cannot lift her arms up very high, so getting things on high shelves is next to impossible! Unless something is on the bottom shelf or near the edge she will not be able to reach it so when things are up a little higher I help her get things she cannot reach!
- Carrying things at the checkout- Carrying multiple items to the check counter is very difficult for Karly since she is unable to lift items that are heavier. Some check out counters are higher up and it is difficult for Karly to put her items up so I do it for her.
- Opening doors- Karly is not able to open any doors by her herself because of her disability because my disability does not limit the ability to open doors I can help her with them!
- Carrying food- Karly is only able to carry super-light things anything much more than a pound is difficult for her! Food trays are usually a little bit more than that so I help her so she does not have to struggle with it!
How Karly helps me:
- Pulling wheelchair through the mall- Whenever I hang out with Karly at the mall I never have to push myself because I can just hang on to her chair and she pushes me!
- Carrying hot beverages- Sometimes I will order a coffee and it is too hot for me to put in between my legs like I usually would with beverages. Karly has a cup holder that she lets me use when this happens so I don’t burn myself!
Different for us because:
- Stores are hard to navigate when crowded or messy- Sometimes we will go into a store, and it will be very crowded or messy these stores are very hard to navigate! Stores that are just messy and make it so I have to constantly pick something up to clear a path we usually don’t stay in long because it gives us anxiety!
- Difficult to see things on high shelves- Most of the time I can get what I need, but sometimes there are items on shelves I cannot reach! If we are in a hurry hunting down a customer service rep may not be an option so we may just have to forget about it. A lot of people with disabilities struggle with this and we could simply solve this problem by putting things on lower shelves so people with disabilities could easily access everything like an abled person can.
- People can be rude- When we are out there will be an occasional rude person that will do things like stand in the way after we have said excuse me, staring, pointing, or making comments about us. A person with a disability has no control over their disability, so behavior like this is not only wrong but hurtful! I personally have gotten used to this behavior but not every person with a disability is going to feel that way so don’t do it!
Why shopping is a good activity for us
- Going to the mall is easy because most of the building is accessible- There are a lot of places that are either are not accessible to us or we just can’t afford to do it. The mall is a perfect activity because most of the building is accessible and if a store is not accessible we don’t go in it!
- It easy for us both to participate- There are a lot of things that are difficult for Karly so finding an activity that we both can do that isn’t stressful can be challenging! The mall is a great activity that we both can participate in without being stressed!
When a person with a disability, shops there are a lot of things they must consider that an abled person does not have to. An abled person may have an easier time when they go shopping but that does not mean they are having more fun than you are your experience is just different! When you have a disability, there are some things you will do differently than an abled person but that doesn’t mean an abled person is having more fun! I have a lot of fun when I am out with Karly even with some of the challenges we face. If you have any questions about how shopping with Karly is different please leave them in the comments below!
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