Tag Archives: Shopping

Why businesses need to think about disabled consumers

Will Pike is a games developer from London whose parody of Channel 4’s Superhumans advert went viral last year. Tens of thousands of people have signed his petition for better access. In this blog, he talks about how this affects disabled consumers, and what needs to change in media representation.

Back in September 2016, I made a short film to highlight the poor disabled access found up and down our high streets. As a wheelchair user, I wanted to demonstrate how frustrating these obstructions are from my everyday perspective. I also wanted to demonstrate that establishments are missing out. By not being accessible, they’re losing multiple paying customers. Regardless of the fact that I can’t walk or overcome a set of stairs without assistance, I still have money in pocket to spend.

The ‘Purple Pound’ is worth in the region of £240 billion. This spending power is exactly why society should be a more opportune place for everyone. Why are so many businesses unable to recognise this?

We need to see more disabled people in mainstream media

Whilst accessibility is fundamental, it’s no good just making a bunch of logistical improvements if attitudes to disability don’t change. I’m not simply talking about seeing disabled people as an untapped purple cash-cow. I want society to see the purple person behind the purple pound. It’s so important that disabled people are given a more prominent place in mainstream media, where they can contribute to reversing poor public perception and ignorance.

Will in his wheelchair outside a restaurant where there's a step
Man in a wheelchair unable to access a restaurant

Fundamentally, this is the reason why diversity is so important. If we only have a monosyllabic representation of society displayed upon our TV screens, then we’ll continue to limit the prospects of anybody who doesn’t conform to a notion of the perceived norm. We must challenge this. It obviously goes beyond disability to include race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and age. It also means evolving our perceptions of beauty and happiness. For instance, in the film ‘Me Before You’, the main character is a quadriplegic chap called Will, who ultimately concedes that life with a disability, even with love and financial stability, is so miserable that he must end it all. What kind of message does this send out to the world? For those with a disability it’s insulting and heartless. While for those without a disability it simply reaffirms the (misplaced) need for pity.

Change is happening, but we need more

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Change is happening, but society needs to do more than the bare minimum. We need to see more disabled people on telly, while ensuring that the inclusion of disability isn’t a token gesture toward equality. There also needs to be a comprehensive strategy to improve the quality of life for all disabled people, positioning us as simply part of the normal spectrum of human experience. Only then will society truly benefit from the Purple Pound.

At present only 2.5% of all characters on TV screens are disabled. It’s hardly surprising then that 81% of the 13 million disabled people in the UK do not feel they are well-represented on TV and in the media. This has to change. It’s time for businesses to recognise the value of the purple pound and put more disabled people at the heart of their campaigns.

Will supports Scope with our mission to drive everyday equality, so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Visit our website to find out more about our work and how you can support us.

Read more blogs on the power of disabled consumers.

“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.

“Want my space? Take my disability!”

Guest post from Chris Welch who is campaigning for the law to be enforced to stop people using disabled parking spaces when they shouldn’t.

I am registered disabled and I use crutches or my wheelchair to get around. I am married and have five children aged 3 to 10 years. If it wasn’t for my car, I’d never get out anywhere, especially when winter comes. But let’s backtrack a bit.

Have you heard of the spoon theory? It rings true with a lot of disabled people, including myself. The idea is that you’ve 12 spoons per day and each spoon represents part of your energy allowance for the day. A lot of people with disabilities have a very limited amount of energy, so everyday activities are a huge challenge.

Going shopping

My nearest superstore is a mere five minute drive away. I get up and get dressed and take my medications and my wife kindly fixes me some breakfast; out of the 12 spoons I had at the start of the day I have used at least three already.

I drive over to the supermarket from my house. I arrive to find that not one of the disabled drivers parking spaces is free. I search for a space near enough and without any other vehicles near it so that I can park my car and get my wheelchair out with the help of my wife. The whole car park is on a slight incline, not enough to notice in a car, but you notice it when you’re pushing a full trolley and even more so when you are attempting to get to the shop in a self-propelled wheelchair.

On my way to the shop I notice many of the cars parked in disabled spaces do not have the necessary blue badge displayed. I am already exhausted from the short trip across the car park when the driver bounds back to his car. “Excuse me, do you realise that this space is reserved for the disabled?” I ask. “Yeah but I was only a few minutes getting some cash out mate” responds the offender and he gets in his car and drives off. His ‘few minutes’ just happened to coincide with my attempt to find somewhere to park.

I had to do something about it

The extra exertion to get from my car to the shop means I cannot immediately join my wife shopping, so she has to leave me in the coffee shop. Whilst I am sat there I feel the waves of fatigue pressuring me to sleep. I sip my coffee and then I begin to feel something else. Anger.

I was sick of hearing “I’ll only be five minutes”, “I’m just getting some cash out” or the one that really annoys me “I’m waiting for someone” – as if that makes any difference! Why is it that people feel it is okay to park in our spaces?

After speaking to other disabled drivers, locally and online, I realised I was not alone. Disabled parking is so often abused it has become the norm for those with disabilities to put up with.

So I created a Facebook group called “Want My Space? Take My Disability!”  for the disabled drivers fed up with the situation, their partners and carers, from all over the UK. The group has become a place for sharing experiences, ideas and friendly conversation.

Petitioning the Government

As the numbers in the group grew I began to realise just taking pictures of offending cars and posting them to the group to embarrass the offenders was not enough. We started a petition with the aim of getting the law changed, to protect those who view these spaces not as a perk but as utterly essential.

There are a few aspects to the petition, but basically it calls for the UK Government to enforce the law and stop disabled parking space abuse. The petition also calls for changes to be made to ensure the facilities provided meet a minimum standard.

This is a national problem and the Government needs to realise there are a lot of disgruntled disabled drivers who’ve had enough of the selfishness. At the time of writing the petition stands at over 1100 signatures and the group has over 500 members.

We are even on Twitter @Spaces4Disabled! It is of course early days yet, but I am confident as more hear about it, the group and the signatures will grow.

Then we can tackle something else!

I hope you’ll join the group, sign the petition and follow us on Twitter. After all, the more people the louder the voice!

Photo by Elliot Brown.

What’s in your wardrobe?

Guest post from Katie Adams, Media and Public Relations Officer at Scope.

” I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them”

If you enjoy shopping, there’s a very good chance you have a wardrobe full of clothes you’ll never actually wear!

Losing weight, following a crazy fashion trend and listening to the advice of others. These are just some of the reasons we buy ourselves new clothes, but then never actually debut them in public.

A nation of secret hoarders

Later this month, we will release the surprising results of a poll into people’s shopping habits, exposing large numbers of us as secret hoarders.

Most of the men and women quizzed as part of the poll admitted buying new clothes and then just leaving them to sit in their wardrobes, with both sexes being exposed as frequent impulse shoppers.

One month, one million items

The polling will support a celebrity-backed bid to collect 1,000,000 donations at our shops throughout July. Actress Lynda Bellingham is supporting our Scope’s Great Donate – one month, one million items challenge and urging people to think about what they could donate from their own closets.

We have already been busy talking to shoppers about their reasons for hoarding clothes and we want to know what you’re hiding in your own closets.

Here’s what you’ve been telling us so far:

Craig Evry, 34, from Oxford said: “I think men are just as bad as women when it comes to shopping and we all buy clothes for the wrong reasons. I remember buying a David Beckham-style sarong in a moment of madness once – I wore it once, but needless to say it never saw the light of day again.”

Shed Simove, lives in London where he works as a performer, author & entrepreneur. He said: “I once had a suit made out of some black fur I bought at a Chinese market. The suit was beautifully cut, but when I got home and I put it on for my family, they couldn’t stop laughing. I looked like some sort of bear or gorilla. It’s such a lovely suit that I can’t bear (ahem) to part with it, so it’s just sitting in my wardrobe and hasn’t been worn since.”

Shed said he also bought a pair of pink sequinned Patrick Cox shoes which have since ended up as stunning ‘shelf art’. He explained: “I’d previously owned some black versions in the exact same design, which I adored and wore all the time. The pink ones captured my imagination when I saw them, but in the cold light of day, I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them.”

Mother Adele McIntosh, 39, had a disastrous personal-shopping experience at a big high-street chain after having her twin daughters and wanting to revamp her image.
She said: “Unfortunately for me I found myself going with the flow and ended up buying a tiny crop top and red mini skirt that I never ended up wearing.
“It’s so easy to get carried away when you’re shopping, forgetting about what you’d actually wear in your everyday life – rather than what you like in the changing room.”

Whatever the reason for your shopping mistakes, we want to hear your stories.

Email me at katie.adams@scope.org.uk, tweet us using #GreatDonate to @scope or contact us through Facebook with pictures of clothes you have bought but never worn and the reasons behind your hoarding.