Something able bodied people often struggle to understand/dont know is that chronic illness varies - it varies from person to person, but it also varies from day to day, hour to hour, even minute to minute.
I can be standing unassisted or moving around ok one minute and be on the floor or needing immediate assistance to remain standing or be completely unable to move without assistance the next. This is not an exaggeration. These are things that happen to me - that happen to people with chronic illnesses.
People have difficulty understanding that - that I can walk around the shops unassisted one day, and need a cane just to get out of bed later that same day.
Changing mobility devices day to day does not neccessarily mean I have gotten sicker if I am using a wheelchair when yesterday I used a cane, and if I am moving unassisted when yesterday I was bedbound, it does not mean I am cured. It doesnt mean I was faking or exaggerating. It means I am experiencing a different combination of symptoms.
Mobility Devices examples
Mobility devices vary - the obvious ones that most people would think of and recognise are:
Then there are some less obvious devices that people might not immediately think of but do actually assist in mobility, such as:
- Strapping Tape
- Service Dogs
- Custom Orthotics
And then there are the really not obvious ones - things we use to assist with mobility though that may not be their intended purpose
- Shopping Carts (Leaning on them)
- Friends/ Carers
- Walls (Shoutout to Walls)
Social Response to Mobility Devices
All of these mobility devices are valid. What combination of these we use (if any) can change at any time. That does not make us fakers, or lazy, or exaggerating, and when we dont need to use them, IT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE CURED.
Starting to use mobility devices needs to be normalised, especially for young people. I hear so many say they would have started using (insert device that has really helped them) so much sooner if I hadnt been worried about the stigma/not being ‘sick enough’/being afraid of how they will look etc.
Dont be afraid to accessorise your mobility device. Matching your cane to your outfit does not make your mobility needs or device any less valid. Your cane works just as well whether it is bright pink or dark brown. There is this weird idea that if your mobility device looks cool to match your aesthetic, you must be faking, or not really need it.
Your life does not end or stop because you are using a mobility device - why should your style/aesthetic die?.
Feelings about mobility devices
It is important for people to be comfortable with their mobility devices. That means
- Physical comfort - having a device that fits and is right and safe for you
- Mental comfort - Feeling good about using your device, feeling comfortable with it.
This can be hard - people stare, they make comments, especially if you are a young person.
When I first started using a cane, I felt shame, I was scared to use it, especially around family - (Still am). I find myself overly cautious of each step, trying to make sure my cane doesnt make a noise - and that is shame over being visibly disabled. Around new doctors I do this too, as if I need to be quieter about being disabled.
This is because of ableism. Because we are taught that to be disabled is to be worth less and we should be ashamed of it.
Perks of mobility devices
- Always have somewhere to sit
- When your friends push you really fast and you feel like you are in a trashy teen movie.
- You can do fun things with your friends that you probably couldnt do without the chair
- Can wear whatever shoes you want.
- Can be used to whack ableist arseholes (dont really plz, no violence)
- If you have a service dog, they are good to block people from patting your dog
- Collect them all - co-ordinate with your outfit
- Visible symbol of your disability means a much needed seat on the bus and not feeling like people are judging you wondering why a seemingly healthy young person needs to use the lift (elevator).
- Nunchucks (collapsible canes)
- Dressing up, getting your fanciest cane, and feeling dapper af.
- Best of both worlds - sitting AND standing.
- Somewhere to put your food tray
- Adding signs or fairy lights for events
- Pimping out your device
- Having fun shopping for mobility devices that match your needs AND aesthetic
- Being able to do things that you couldnt without the devices
- Making friends with old ladies (chronically ill people probably know what im talking about)
Now this is important
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ASHAMED OF BEING DISABLED.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ASHAMED OF USING A MOBILITY DEVICE
In fact, you should be damn proud, because going around in society with a visible representation of your chronic illness is damn hard (because people are dicks sometimes) - and to overcome that and do what is best for you is incredible.
So pimp your ride, put glitter on your cane.
I promise, you look awesome.
Mobility needs vary constantly - so what device (if any) a person uses can change too. That doesnt make their need less valid, it does mean they are suddenly cured, and using a mobilty device is not something to be ashamed of. And yes it is totally ok to bedazzle your mobility device.
1. Understand that we’ve been on our feet all day and probably dealing with shitty customers and bullies since we clocked in. Most of us as students trying to make extra money, and we’re stressed enough as it is without shitty customers making us feel like we fell out of a dog’s ass.
2. Say hello. We’re not servants. We’re people, and we like to be respected. Don’t just throw your shit on the counter and expect complete servitude.
3. Don’t come to us when you’re talking on the phone. That’s the height of rudeness.
4. If you’ve made a reservation or a booking, don’t tell me your phone died, or you lost the letter or email, or give some other excuse which is going to make it impossible to complete your order. If we sent you information on your order, write it down.
5. If you want to complain, do not complain to the person on the till/shop floor/bar/tables. 99% of the time, the fuck-up was caused by a failed delivery, a system error, a stock error or a similar diablos ex machina in the narrative that is retail, and we can’t do anything about it.
6. If we DO fuck up, and it’s easily fixed, LET US FIX IT. Don’t start insulting someone because we forgot one item or some other asinine bullshit that can be fixed in a few minutes.
7. Don’t ask for the manager. Ever. Unless I’m being rude or offensive, don’t ask for the manager. This is peak dickhead behaviour. You ESPECIALLY do not ask for the manager if YOU were being difficult or rude in the first place and I was reacting in my defence (i.e., not letting you walk all over me), or if I’m not performing my job to “your standard”.
8a. If you’re a customer at an establishment where leaving a tip is optional, leave a tip.
8b. If the employee tells you we can’t accept tips, don’t try and force a tip on us. It will fuck up our till and the manager will shout at us because it will be assumed that we stole from the customer, or we didn’t give a customer the right change.
9. Not everyone who works here is fully 100% trained. People come and go every few months in retail and we’re not all at the same level of training. So don’t get pissed off when the new guy doesn’t come zooming out of the stock room with your 11-item order and twelve coupons.
10. If I’m on my break, I’m on my break. End of discussion.
11. We’re only going to be well-mannered if you are. You’re not above us.
12. And on that note, you’re not above other customers as well. There’s a line for a reason. Wait in it.
13. And if you see me on the shop floor and ask me to put through an order for you because you don’t want to wait in the line, you’re the worst.
14. Don’t try to “bond” with me by making fun of other customers I’ve been serving.
15. Don’t say “I can see the item behind you!” if I tell you we have zero in stock. There’s so many different reasons why we might not be able to sell it, including reservations, stock adjustments, recalls, display, or just because the item is unavailable for sale until a certain date.
16. If I say we can’t do something, we can’t do it. No amount of harassing me or my manager will do anything to change that.
17. Complaining that you’ve been waiting for a long time in the store won’t change anything either. We’re busy, we’re working hard, and we’re trying our best to get you in and out of the store as fast as we can.
18. If you snitch on one of my coworkers, I literally won’t give a shit. We’re all together, even the people who hate each other.
19. You have to wait. It’s part of shopping. You wait in line, you wait your turn, you wait for your card to be accepted, you wait for your change, you wait for your item being scanned, you wait for your food/drink/item being brought out, and you wait when I have to walk across the store to help you. Don’t be rude when your order isn’t complete within seconds because it’s entirely unfeasible.
20. Don’t be sleazy to my female coworkers. They’re not interested in you, and they weren’t interested in the five married men who hit on them before you.
21. If it’s out of stock, it’s out of stock. If the store allows you to order in, we can order it in. If the store makes it available for delivery, we can have it delivered. But nothing we can do will make your item appear in the store for you to take home right now, so don’t be difficult.
22. Don’t come in as soon as the store opens or as the store is closing. Honestly. Every single person in the store hates you. We’re exhausted, we aren’t getting paid for the extra minutes we have to serve you, and we want to go home. This is the biggest dick move you can pull as a customer, apart from screaming and asking for the manager.
23. Don’t be rude when we suggest a store card/special offer/product insurance policy. We have to offer this to everyone or we get yelled at. Just wait until we’re done talking so our managers can hear that we’re offering it, then politely decline. We don’t want to sell overpriced shit that will get you into debt, and we know you don’t want it, but managers still force our hand.
24. “If it doesn’t scan that means I get it for free hahaha” We have heard this joke literally more times than we can count so please stop.
25. “It says it’s cheaper on the shelf over there.” Okay, BUT - the tills reflect the current price of the item, and customers LITERALLY come in and switch price tags around so they can cause trouble and get shit for cheaper than they should, which gets US into trouble because our tills don’t have the right amount in them. If there’s an offer or a deal on at the time of purchase and we haven’t changed the price tags, then by all means let us know. But if there’s an obviously easily removed price tag on an item and you’re trying to get it for cheaper, chances are, you’re not getting it for that price.
26. Don’t come into the store with 50 gift vouchers or coupons and don’t try and use some complicated wireless payment if we don’t accept it.
27. I personally work in a store with over 20,000 items in stock. It’s basically a warehouse with tills. I don’t know jack shit about anything we sell other than games and computers. So don’t shout at me when I don’t know if the snooker table you’ve ordered is collapsable or not. No, I shouldn’t “have to know this stuff” because it’s literally impossible for any human being to know the specifics of thousands of products.
28. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave milkshake cups and crumbs all over the store, because the people who have to clean that shit is US, and it’s NOT in our job description, but we’re made to do it anyway.
29. Don’t shop while you’re drunk or high. I shouldn’t even have to say this but for fuck sake it needs to be said, apparently.
30. Don’t vape in my face when I’m serving you. I have an e-cigarette too, which I use heavily because I’m so stressed out from working in fucking retail, and if I can wait five hours for my break to use it, you can wait five minutes to use yours.
31. I’m so sorry because this one is total bullshit but please don’t bring your dog into the store if you can. WE get shouted at because our managers are the ones who don’t want them in the store, and WE are the ones expected to be total dicks to dog owners.
32. Don’t complain to me if someone brought a crying baby into the store. Don’t complain to them either. Babies cry. That’s what they do. They cry when they’re hungry, tired, sick, dirty or scared. And babies scare easily. It’s not easy being a parent of a baby so cut them slack and don’t cause a damn scene over it.
33. This goes for disabled customers, customers who use mobility scooters, and senior customers with walking canes or Zimmer frames. They’ll take as long as they need and you wait your damn turn. This should go without saying too, but I’ve had customers complain to ME about how we’re “too slow” because the customer before them was using a mobility/support device of some kind. That’s none of your fucking business and it’s NOT something you have the right to complain about.
34. If you’re shopping in a store with displays that are easily messed up (like clothes), don’t just mess it up and leave it there. If you’re taking a shirt out, fold it at least SOMEWHAT neatly before you put it back. And if you can’t, let us know so we can keep the place tidy.
35. Stop giving prank names to baristas. They don’t give a shit. None of us give a shit. It’s not funny.
36. Bring your cups/trays back to the counter/disposal area otherwise mama didn’t raise you right.
37. If your coupon is expired. It’s expired. We can’t turn back time.
38. Nor can we teleport, so if your coupon’s at home, there’s nothing we can do about that either.
39. You need to understand that employees in retail get monitored on everything we do, INCLUDING how much money is in our till compared to the price of every item we sell through that till. So no, we can’t just “knock” 10% off for your inconvenience in the store, we can’t “take the price of the coupon off” because you left it at home, we can’t “just give you” a refund without a receipt even though you “swear you bought it here”, and we can’t “just change the price” of an item because you “think it’s too expensive”. If the store does price matches against similar stores, or if the store has a price promise for items reserved at a cheaper price, then yes, we will change the price for you. But don’t kick up a fuss because you think iPhone chargers are overpriced. They totally are. But that’s not in my control.
40. No, I don’t want the 99.
41. Don’t talk to us like we’re robots. “Good morning. I would like to purchase two items today please.” No offense but what the fuck is that? Why do people talk like this to cashiers? “Hey what’s up, can I buy this book and a stapler?” is totally fine. In fact, it’s preferred. Talk to us like you’d talk to literally any other human being on the planet.
42.. The customer isn’t “always right” and I wanna fight the fucker that came up with this ridiculous egotistical mantra.
A rude thing that people do to wheelchair and mobility scooter users
So, here’s a thing that happens a lot:
Someone rides a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a room that has many chairs in it
They want to sit on one of those chairs.
Several people, trying to be helpful, dart in to remove the very chair they wanted to sit on
This is very annoying.
Especially when it happens several times a week
Especially when the people who dart in to remove the chairs are very proud of themselves for Helping The Disabled
Even more so if they don’t understand “actually, I want to sit in that chair”, and keep removing it anyway
Even more so if the person has to physically grab the chair they want to sit on to prevent it from being removed
(And sometimes people react badly to being corrected and become aggressive or condescending)
Do not do this annoying thing.
Instead, find out what the person you want to be helpful to actually wants
People who use mobility equipment are not actually glued to it
And different people have different preferences about where they want to sit
You can’t know without asking them
(You can’t read their mind, Some people seem to think that mobility equipment transmits a telepathic call for help regardless of the person’s actual apparent interest in help. Those people are wrong. You have to actually ask)
You can’t know where someone wants to sit unless you ask, so ask
One way you can ask is “Would you like me to move anything?”
If you forget to ask, and make the wrong assumption:
Recognize that you have been rude
And apologize, and say “Oh, excuse me” or “Sorry. I’ll put it back.”
This is the same kind of rude as, say, accidentally cutting in line
Or being careless and bumping into someone
This is not a big-deal apology, it’s basically just acknowledging that you made a rude mistake
People make and acknowledge rude mistakes all the time with nondisabled folks
The same people who say “excuse me” when they bump into a nondisabled person, are often completely silent when they do something rude related to someone’s disability
Being on the receiving end of a lot of unacknowledged rudeness is degrading and draining. Particularly when you see that the same people who are rude to you without apologizing say “sorry” and “excuse me” to people without disabilities they interact with
Do not be part of this problem
When you are inadvertently rude to someone who has a disability, it’s important to acknowledge and apologize for it in the same way you would for any other inadvertent interpersonal rudeness
Today someone tried to ‘help’ without asking if I needed help while getting onto the subway, grabbed my collapsible mobility scooter despite me screaming 'NO!’ and literally pulled it apart in the doorway of the downtown A train at 42nd street.
Pieces of it fell to the ground where the train car meets the platform and very nearly plummeted to the train tracks below. I will not apologize for striking that person in an attempt to remove their hands from my property. They did not apologize for causing me an immeasurable amount of stress.
They literally ran away as I shouted “THIS IS WHY YOU ASK BEFORE TRYING TO 'HELP’ PEOPLE” and desperately grasped at the pieces of my mobility aid, reassembling it as quickly as I could. I wound up missing the bus I was trying to catch, had to buy a new ticket and sustained minor injuries in the process.
Please, please please. ASK A DISABLED PERSON IF THEY NEED HELP BEFORE TOUCHING THEM OR THEIR PROPERTY. HELL, ASK ANYONE BEFORE PUTTING YOUR HANDS ON THEM OR THEIR STUFF.
FULL METAL SCOOTER!! \m/
I. AM. SO. HAPPY. RIGHT. NOW.
I FINALLY HAVE A WAY TO GET AROUND INSTEAD OF STAYING IN BED ALL DAY BECAUSE MY LEGS AND BACK HURT TOO MUCH TO GO PLACES AND WALK AROUND. Holy crap, I’m excited. I cried a little bit. This is huge, guys. And it only cost me $165 because it’s refurbished/donated. Freaking amazing. I feel like celebrating!
Today I had to literally pry a woman’s hands off my scooter while getting on the train & tell her that I don’t need help, and she insists that because her father uses a walker she understands. Um that’s nice, but I’m not your father & you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t try to pull my scooter, the part you’re gripping is what causes my handlebars to collapse. I don’t need to be pulled onto trains, I can accelerate just fine. I just need you to step back so I don’t run over your feet. ASK if someone needs help before doing anything. Don’t touch a disabled person’s body or mobility aids without permission. Thanks!
Took Scoot MacGroot (my mobility scooter) out to a shopping trip at Homegoods today. At first I felt self conscious because other than achy legs I didn’t feel that bad, so maybe I didn’t actually need the scoot, maybe it was overkill, because I wasn’t totally wiped by the end… and then I realized that being able to do things and feel pretty normal afterwards - not exhausted and in pain - means the scoot is working for me. And that was great.
[Image description: image is of a piece of artwork painted on a white paper. In the center of the image, the text “diversity is natural.” is written in purple paint. Around the border of the image and in between the words are numerous stick figures with various body configurations and assistive technologies. Specifically, the image features: a stick figure with only one arm, a stick figure with only one leg and a pair of crutches, a stick figure lying on a wheeled bed, a stick figure with no visible disability, a stick figure sitting on a mobility scooter, a stick figure with one prosthetic leg, a stick figure sitting in a manual wheelchair, a stick figure with a walking cane, a stick figure sitting in a power wheelchair, a stick figure reclining in a power wheelchair with a service dog standing directly in front of the wheelchair, a stick figure with a long cane (as used by people with visual impairments), a stick figure with a pair of walking canes, a stick figure with no legs sitting in a manual wheelchair, a stick figure with no visible disability and a service dog, a stick figure holding the harness of a guide dog, a stick figure with one prosthetic arm, a stick figure with one prosthetic leg and a walking cane, a stick figure with a walker.
All of the stick figures are painted in purple. The various assistive technologies and service animals are painted in light blue. (end of image description)]
I’ve been super stressed because the battery for my mobility scooter is failing and I need to purchase a replacement asap. My permanent disability hasn’t gotten better (surprise! lol) and I need my assistive device every single day. When the battery dies I’ll basically be trapped in my house. But I’m an Avenger. I gotta GO.
To help pay for the replacement, I have several large (17"x 15") geeky drawstring backpacks available for sale! They are all sewn by me and fully lined to be extra sturdy and hold up to daily use. They make great gifts! If you are in NYC or will be at DragonCon, LGBT Expo, Baltimore Comic Con or NYCC, you will get a discount and I will hand deliver your bag. If it is being shipped, it’s $28 which includes shipping (within the United States) and insurance. To order a backpack, please email ThatJayJustice@gmail.com with the subject ‘Order Backpack’ and clearly state what style you would like in the email. Styles currently available: Wonder Woman, Hey Arnold, Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel Heroes, Superman. If you don’t need a backpack but would still like to help (bless you, kind soul), you can donate here, (donate button is on top left corner) and reblogs are appreciated! Thank you!