Ok, I am going to have a little bit of a rant. I went shopping today, which is never a simple task considering everything is built accommodate those who are a lot taller than me. Trolleys are always a struggle not only because they come up to my nose but also I never get everything out of the big ones. Then of course I cannot reach anything above the second or third shelf and paying for items can be difficult when the checkout also comes up to my nose. Then there are my mobility difficulties which make it difficult for me to walk around the shops, hence why I park in the disabled bays because I can limit how much walking I have to do.
Anyway due to my size and the fact that I have mobility difficulties I have a blue badge (a disabled parking permit). I parked up and next to me I saw another couple park in the disabled bay. They got out of their car and just walked into the shop with no difficulties. Don’t get me wrong I am not the one to assume that if you can walk you are not disabled, but they had no blue badge and thus it was very unlikely that they had any invisible disability.
Below are links to a group which fights for the rights of disabled drivers and passengers:
What got to me though was when I saw them walking around the aisles picking up items off the top shelf and placing them into a trolley that only came up to their waist, not their face. Perhaps it was the fact that most of the things I wanted were out of reach and I was struggling with a cumbersome basket that I felt angry at them. Did it not occur to them how difficult it is for disabled people to shop and therefore facilities that are implemented for disabled shoppers should not be abused by those who do not need them? Or did they feel hard done by the fact that disabled shoppers get to park closer to the shop than them meaning that they have to use their able, pain free body to walk a little bit further? Or was it just sheer stupidity and ignorance?
People seem to think that disabled people get special treatment as they get to park closer to the shops and that it is somehow unfair. Yet, to me special treatment is not about where you park but about having a whole built environment designed and built to cater for you, leaving out those who cannot walk, see, hear or who are not of average stature. The built environment is created for the average sized, able bodied person so that they can reach all the shelves in a supermarket, push a trolley without someone knocking it into their face, reach over the checkout and pack their bags with ease. Those “special” facilities for disabled people are not there to provide preferential treatment for disabled people but rather some form of access in a built environment which is disabling for them, as well as to accommodate for possible mobility difficulties.
If I did not have mobility difficulties, i.e. if I was not in pain when I walked, and if I could have a trolley that only came up to my waist, I would happily park at the far end of the car park. But I park closer to the shops because by the time I get through the entrance my knees are already burning due to the fact that the nerves in my spine are being crushed by my own spinal cord. I also find it easier to carry my shopping as short a distance as possible as being 4ft tall it can prove difficult to otherwise.
This is what got to me, not only do some people expect everything to be accommodating for them but they also want more at the expense of further disabling someone else. I have been in the situation of not being able to park in a disabled bay because they are full. I wouldn’t mind if all the spaces were full of disabled users, denoted by their blue badges, but many are taken by those with no impairments. This means that I have to walk further and thus be in pain for longer. Perhaps if pain was visible and those who choose to park in a disabled bay, for no reason, could take it away from someone like me whenever they choose to park in a disabled bay. Then they may be reluctant to park their in the future. Disability is not a privilege, it is a bloody annoyance and so are some people.