As the days slip by, I’m losing my ability to walk. However, this hasn’t stopped me from partaking in my favorite pastime which is to: shop, Shop, SHOP!
Yes. Disabilities and shopping can go hand-in-hand. If I’m determined to land those bedazzled designer jeans, come wheelchair, crutches or high water, I’ll get ‘em.
Here are my top shopping secrets, tips and tricks:
1) Do your homework.
Find your perfect Wheelchair Van
Select from thousands of wheelchair vans for sale from hundreds of nationwide dealers
The Mobility Resource has one of the largest selections of Dodge, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet wheelchair vans
View All Wheelchair Vans
Before even wheeling out the door, whip up a quick list of what you want. You don’t have to do this with paper and ink. Taking mental notes is effective, too. This way, you don’t wear yourself out unnecessarily when you hit the mall. Moreover, you know which stores and—gasp—hot sales to target right off the bat. In other words, you’re already ahead of the game.
2) Coupons are not a fashion faux pas.
Divas and cool guys with disabilities can use coupons. The common mistaken chap may brand you as “cheap.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Smart shoppers know that every dollar counts. The more you save, the more you can potentially throw into your swanky bag. Hooray!
3) Turn to an expert for help.
Store associates are there to help. Don’t be shy to ask a question or for directions to your item’s pit stop. Most associates will be happy to divulge their knowledge. Furthermore, most store owners won’t frown when you ask for goodies that are out of your arm’s reach. They want their products to sell and not collect dust.
4) Elevator abuse.
Some people can manage to climb a flight of stairs without the slightest blink. Yet, they decide to use the elevator for whatever reason. This is a huge annoyance, but don’t despair. There are many less frequented elevators tucked away in large bookstores, department stores and such. Get to know and use these babies.
Whether, you have a disability or not, you’re always the top dog as a customer. If you encounter discrimination or mistreatment of any kind, don’t hesitate to file a complaint. Head offices, particularly, are always on the hunt for feedback. Remember to note the date, time, and manager/associate’s name at the time of the occurrence. You have a voice. Use it without a second thought. Likewise, if someone goes out of their way to help you, let their reporting manager know. Good customer service skills shouldn’t go unnoticed.
6) Take breaks.
Shopping doesn’t have to be done in one quick swoop. During your pre-planning phase, allot time for breaks. Taking a breather will make for a more enjoyable and less hard-on-your-body shopping experience. This is definitely a good thing.
7) Shopping with friends.
Shopping isn’t always done alone. Sometimes, you head out with friends and family. They may have disabilities. Or maybe not. If you encounter a challenge at the mall, learn to think out of the box as a team. Your real friends won’t judge you. They’ll respect your opinions, thoughts and limitations. The whole point of hanging out is to have fun.
If crowds aren’t your thing, it’s best to jumpstart your shopping escapade during the weekday mornings or afternoons. During those times, the mall is usually operating at a crawl. Evenings and weekends are like peak season and treat them as such. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
If you rely on public transportation for people with disabilities, shopping at a whim isn’t an option. In most cases, you have to schedule rides ahead of time. Often enough, there are delays when it comes to being picked up and dropped off at your destination. You have to factor this into your shopping schedule as well. More importantly, don’t get carried away at a sale and miss your return ride! (Been there, done that). Be sure to wear a watch and be mindful of the minutes quietly ticking away.
Theft can occur anywhere or anyplace—even at a dainty little shopping plaza full of boutiques. It isn’t advisable to hang your purse behind your wheelchair. It can get swiped in a blink. Crossover bags are a gift from the shopping fairies. You can keep your wallet, keys, cell phone within reach and still look fashionably chic.
Last, but not least, if possible take in all the sights, sounds and smells at the mall. Relish the shopping experience and don’t be surprised if your credit card makes a cash register go cha-ching-ching more than once!
The Original “DitzAbled Princess”
Jewel Kats xoxo