“She handed my change directly to my husband!” #EndTheAwkward at the shops

Squeezing through crowded supermarket isles, making small talk with the cashier – just popping to the shops for a pint of milk can be full of awkward encounters!

As we launched Scope’s Great Donate this week, we’re sharing some disabled people’s awkward shopping stories as part of our End the Awkward campaign to change attitudes towards disability. 

She handed my change directly to my husband! – Lindsey Marie, Preston

Woman smiling looking away from camera
Lindsey Marie

I have a mobility impairment, a husband with an invisible condition and two step children on the autistic spectrum. So I have a few tales to tell!

I’m with my family shopping, I have a basket on my knee, the children are fingering items and my husband is showing signs of boredom. I head for the checkout with my family trailing behind me.

I address the checkout girl with a hello and smile whilst reaching up to lift my basket onto the desk. A polite chit chat ensues whilst she rings up and bags the items, my family join in with chirps and banter.

I hand the girl the money she requests, having extracted it from my purse in note form. She tills it up, gets the change, reaches behind me, and hands my change directly to my husband!

He clears his throat, hands it back to me and says “I think this is yours babe” I take my cash, put it back in my purse, smile at the girl and say to my husband “It’s more expensive here than I thought love”, and we leave.

She asked the dreaded question – Ollie, London

Young man smiling at camera
Ollie has had a few awkward moments in Tesco’s

Where I spent most of my childhood we had a little Tesco on the way to school and I would pop in there most days.

Around this time I wasn’t quite comfortable telling people about my disability, so whenever anyone asked if I had done something to my arm I usually just said yes, or I’ve broken it, to avoid an awkward conversation.

One of the staff members in Tesco was one of the nicest ladies you’d ever meet and one day she asked the dreaded question. I replied with “yup I’ve broken it”, which to this day I regret as I must have seen her hundreds of times since, and I’ve never explained that I only have one arm.

Every time I see her now I wonder if she still thinks that I have a broken arm from nearly seven years ago. I wonder which conversation would have been more awkward – the one I could have had all those years ago or the one I’m most likely going to have where I explain that I’ve always been disabled and have never broken my arm!

More than just awkward – my wheelchair was pulled away from the toilet entrance! Alan, Pembrokeshire

I have MS and use a wheelchair. I was with my wife shopping in a local supermarket when I needed to use to the toilet facilities. I was in my manual chair making my way to the entrance when my chair was stopped from the rear, pulled and pushed away from the toilet entrance.

I was able to stop the chair from going any further and turned it around to see a man enter the “toilets for disabled”. I waited for the man to come out so I could speak to him about what he had done. I asked him why he had pushed me away and asked if he was disabled, to which he replied in a loud voice “No”.

He then leant forward, came face to face with me and again in an aggressive tone of voice said “I just had to bloody go OK” and ran out of the store.

Read more awkward stories

If you’ve had a similar experience we would love to know about it! Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media. 

This year we’re asking everyone to be a Great Donate Hero just like Adam Hills in our Milk tray advert spoof.