Consumer

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – On the high street as a full-time wheelchair user, is difficult at the best of times. Throw in Christmas and it is a whole new ball game. Being in a pandemic and lockdown leaves me no other choice but to buy online! Do I prefer this to doing my shopping on the high street? What did I find to be the best and worst parts of shopping online for Christmas gifts?

I hate high street shopping at any time of the year. People, access, stupidity all add stress to what should be a normal part of my life! If you are an able-bodied person reading this, how many times in one shopping trip have you NOT been able to gain access to a shop because of steps? How many times have you NOT been able to browse around a shop due to clothes rails being so tightly packed together they hit your shoulder causing severe pain? Gone to a counter to pay and been ignored because the counter is so high you are NOT seen? Exactly!! I can experience each of these EVERY TIME I go shopping.

Benefits of Shopping Online

There are many benefits to shopping online.

  • It’s stress-free.
  • You can visit many different websites at the touch of a button.
  • Browse 1000’s of products in a short space of time.
  • You are not worrying about the next person bumping into you or clambering over your wheelchair.
  • Queue jumping because “they didn’t see you there”!
  • Best of all, left out in the cold because you can’t get into the shop!!

Online shopping gives you the freedom to search for what you want at a time that is right for you. Websites don’t have “opening times” the same as physical shops do! So, if you want to shop for a pair of socks at 2 am, you can!

If like me and you use a PC, then another benefit is you can have several tabs open comparing the same item across different sites to check for delivery time/charges, price of the item and of course returns policy. Can you imagine doing that on the high street, even if you’re not a wheelchair user? I love the fact I can sit at my desk, a cup of tea beside me and settle down to browse gifts for family/friends in the warmth of my own home.

The Downside of Shopping Online

When shopping online, images of products are of course going to be great looking. After all, the company is trying to sell you their product. You only have to read my review of Tapi Carpets to see the issues you can have.

  • You can’t feel the item – Texture, material
  • Smell the item – Some fake leather products can smell really bad
  • Colour is not always the same when viewing on a monitor
  • Judge sizing when shopping for items such as clothing.
  • Solitary experience.

I have bought things that look great online but once received, the material is of lesser quality, or the item is smaller, or worse, turns up broken or faulty. I have bought a Christmas present that looked a good size and quality online but having received it, I know it’s going to be a big disappointment to the recipient! No doubt it will have to be returned. Sometimes you just want to see an item in the flesh.

I have done 90% of my Christmas shopping online this year. I’ve used brand company websites, eBay and Amazon. Companies I’ve not been familiar with and I have to say, I’ve only had two incidents. One, where an item arrived broken and another replaced by a lesser quality item than what was advertised. Both of which have been sorted fairly easily.

Security Measures in Place

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person - Safety - A as a padlock T as a key

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – Making sure you are aware of the pitfalls of shopping online is paramount! There are many ways things can go horribly wrong.

  • Identity theft.
  • Spam emails.
  • Fake websites.
  • Fake products.
  • Cloned bank card – To name a few.

However, research is everything! It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company you are shopping online with. Once you have done these checks a few times, it will become easier to spot a dodgy website/product.

  • Check websites address for HTTPS – If the company’s web address starts with HTTPS (especially on checkout pages), then you know your information is being sent over a secure network. – What is HTTPS?
  • Pay with Paypal where possible – If you pay by Paypal, the company you are purchasing from will NOT have any information regarding your card details. Only your name, address, email address and phone number if supplied. The beauty is, you don’t even need to have a Paypal account to do this.
  • Use a recommended website where possible – It’s always good practice to use website friends and family have used. You will know if they had a good or bad experience.
  • Check delivery and returns policy – Things can go wrong and for this reason, always check the returns policy and make sure you agree with the company’s terms. You don’t want to get caught out when things are too late.
  • Can you find the company address? – The Gov.uk website, says the following: Before an order is placed, you must provide: your business name, contact details and address, so it is helpful if you can find this as a lot of companies show pricing in GBP but originate and send products from another country.

Conclusion

If you do your research and check out the website the best you can, you should have a fairly pleasant experience. Yes, things will invariably go wrong, that’s life but you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the issue resolved. I will most definitely be doing my Christmas shopping online next year!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please look after yourself and others. Here’s hoping next year will bring better things to all.

Santa in his sleigh with raindeers

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Tapi Carpets: How Good Is Their Service And Products?

As I won my compensation claim against NHS Wheelchair Service/contracted repairers for damage caused to my floors by leaking batteries in my electric wheelchair, I am now in a position to have my floors finally replaced. I chose Tapi Carpets, I’m looking to have them lay laminate flooring throughout all of our downstairs and lay a carpet in our bedroom. If I found Tapi to be of good quality and service, I would then book them to do my stair/landing floor. So a fairly lucrative order for Tapi. So, how good were their service and products?

Tapi Carpets: How Good Is Their Service And Products? – I contacted Tapi Carpets as they had been recommended to me. I had browsed their website which I found to be informative. It had a good range of laminate flooring, carpets and luxury vinyl tiles. We were looking for laminate flooring throughout the downstairs of our home and carpet for our bedroom. Once we decided on what we would like, I contacted the company to arrange for them to come and do a quote.

Our Quote From Tapi

A gentleman came out who seemed pleasant enough but had no idea as to what we wanted quoting. (Something that I had told the operator who booked our appointment). We told him which flooring we wanted and he explained and apologised as he didn’t have those samples as a new line of flooring was coming in. Off to a great start I see!

We went on to explain we needed very tough wearing floors to handle my electric wheelchair as it is an indoor/outdoor chair so is very heavy and has large gripping tyres. He confirmed the floors we had chosen would be fine and Tapi offer a “wear guarantee” on every floor.

Tapi Carpets:  How Good Is Their Service And Products?  This is what they offer.
Tapi offers all of the above, some are an extra charge.

Our quote arrived later that day via an email priced at £1840.98. Our quote included:

  • Laminate flooring for our hall, lounge and kitchen
  • Underlay for all laminate flooring – Extra charge (Note: Some of the flooring supplied by Tapi require you have underlay for warranty purposes).
  • Scotia’s & End profiles (End profiles, no idea what they are)
  • Carpet for our bedroom & Spray adhesive
  • Uplift, removal and disposal of all existing flooring – Extra charge
  • Fitting – Extra charge – Tapi don’t make it clear that payment is direct to fitters on completion

We decided to go ahead with our quote. The three floors we ordered were:

From left to right – Floor 1: Richmond – Pembroke Oak, Floor 2: Richmond – Asgil Oak, Floor 3: Dallas Carpet.

Tapi Not Generous With Important Information

We were told by two different people at Tapi, the time-frame would be 2-3 weeks from start to finish. Great, won’t be long until completion. We paid for our flooring 10th August 2020, the fitters came to lay our hall/lounge floor 25th September 2020. Hmm, is that 2-3 weeks?? Have I miss-calculated? No, I didn’t think so.

While waiting, I contacted Tapi to get information about how the laying of the floors would be with a full-time wheelchair present. (I needed access to my wet room), so needed to know some sort of schedule.

Tapi replied, “The fitter will fit one room at time. If the wheelchair user is able to wait in a different room while he fits that’ll be great”. Sorry but that information wasn’t really all that helpful. (Should I just vacate my home altogether?). So glad I didn’t!! All will become clear soon.

We were told we would receive contact from Tapi the day before fitting, with arrival times of the fitters. Mid-afternoon I hadn’t received anything. As Tapi had been fairly bad at communication to date, hubby and I began to wonder if this was a terrible sign. I phoned the store, just rang and rang, emailed, nothing, tweeted, nothing! We were now getting worried we had paid a lot of money for something that wasn’t going to happen!

At 4:56 pm, I received an automated email: Tomorrow’s the big day! “Your fitter will contact you either later today, or tomorrow morning, to let you know when they’ll be arriving”. (They never did ring me). Then, 5:32 pm (Talk about 11th hour!!) I receive an email from Tapi with the information I needed. The fitters would be arriving between 9-11 am.

The Fitting Of Our Floors

Our new living room laminate flooring in dark brown wood

Our fitters (who I have to clarify are NOT Tapi employees, Tapi contract the work out to third parties, according to the fitters) arrived at 11 am. Two men arrived, introduced themselves and got straight to work. They worked non-stop until 10 pm. They were very nice and I have no complaints whatsoever.

The fitters were professional and friendly and I have to say, very impressed as they cleaned up every bit of mess and even mopped the new floor once finished.

In fact, I would recommend them to anyone looking for fitters and I’m hoping they will be returning to fit our kitchen floor once that has been rectified. More on that later.

Our floor in the lounge and hallway is amazing and beautiful looking. I am very impressed with the work that has been done. 10/10 to our fitters…Thank you for doing such a brilliant job.

No Kitchen Floors Today!

Our fitters showed us a sample of the flooring that was to be laid in the kitchen (taken from a new packet). Omg, I could have cried, the sample was (in my opinion) nothing like what we had ordered or what the website advertises. The sample looked like it had been lifted up from a high traffic warehouse after 20 years of use!! The website shows a lovely rich dark/black wooden laminate floor, shown below (middle picture).

The sample looked extremely washed out (Pictured left), I actually thought it was a sample that been in their van for some time. I was shocked this had come out of a new packet of flooring. Put against our present black flooring, the sample is far from black. The far-right picture shows what we believe to look very close to what floor came with the fitters.

Yes, I’m aware we are always told colours shown on a website are not always identical in real-life, but not this different! We explained to the fitters this is not the flooring we ordered and did not want them to lay it down in our kitchen. They advised ringing the store. I explained that the store NEVER answers their phone, so the fitter rang (to whoever) on our behalf.

Tapi said they would need to compare the sample to their shop sample to confirm if they are the same and then take things from there. It may be the case the wrong flooring was sent out or the image on the website is wrong. (I believe the latter is the case, to be honest).

More Mistakes By Crappy Tapi!

The following morning (Saturday), I received a phone call from Tapi. (I thought this was regarding the sample from the previous day. No, not so lucky!) It was to inform me, the fitter went to the warehouse to pick up my carpet and was told that particular carpet (Dallas in Grey) hadn’t been in distribution for some time and therefore not available!! This was the last thing I needed to hear!

I was so angry! I told Tapi, that I would choose a new floor for my kitchen and another one for our bedroom without any quibble from Tapi. He agreed!

Resolution So Far?….None!

So, the following day (Sunday 27th Sept) I rang Tapi for an update. The flooring for both kitchen and bedroom was on order and once confirmed, an appointment would be made for the fitters to come and lay the floors. He explained he was off on Wednesday and would get in touch with me on Thursday with dates for fitting.

I didn’t hear anything on Thursday, so I sent an email the following day (Friday), for an update on my floors. Tapi replied 5/10/2020 informing me my carpet was due for delivery the following day and could be fitted that week. Great! Bad news? My kitchen floor is out of stock and will probably take to the end of October before it’s back in stock again…..Bloody typical!! I now mentioned a goodwill gesture wouldn’t go amiss, he said he would see what he could do.

Due to the timeframe, the fitters who lay my hall/lounge floor understandably now would like paying for the work done so far. They asked if I could phone Tapi for the cost of what was owed to them so far. I did this and paid what was owed.

Bedroom Carpet

Friday 9th October, finally my bedroom carpet is laid, 2 months since payment!! The fitters, (Different fitters from laminate fitters), did ring beforehand with a timeframe as the standard auto email explained.

Three men turned up to lay one rectangle bedroom carpet. NONE of them wore any PPE, not even a mask!! What angers me the most is the fact Tapi is fully aware I’m a disabled customer, one would assume common sense would tell you that that customer is most likely shielding, yes? If unsure…….Bloody ASK!!

Tapi’s website says the following:

Fitting Service

  • Our fitting partners are working across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • They have been provided with adequate PPE equipment and will be sanitising between every visit.
  • They will ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times while in your home.

Not my fitters! Not even as much as have one mask between them!!

They also say: “Rest assured, we will continue to put the safety of our teams and customer first, and feel confident we have the right technology and processes in place to ensure this”. So why knowingly put unprotected fitters into a disabled person home??

They were also in quite hurry, they came in my front door, straight upstairs, no hello, broke a picture frame, took roughly 20 minutes and gone! But took 3 of them to do that!

To add insult to injury, the fitter was unable to supply an invoice, nor did they offer a receipt of our payment. I have since messaged them asking for both. Would not recommend these fitters at all.

Reading Tapi’s TrustPilot reviews, this is not the first time this has happened. I emailed and complained!

They did get back to me informing me my complaint has been passed onto the manager who is also CEO. Nothing since!

Kitchen Floor

I finally got a date for my kitchen floor to be laid, 9th November 2020! That is 3 months (literally to the date), from the date we paid Tapi for our order. So if/when crappy Tapi tell you 2-3 weeks for completion, they probably mean 2-3 MONTHS!!

Even though Tapi told us the end of Oct our floor would arrive, when I complained about the carpet fitters wearing no PPE, I asked for an update on our kitchen floor…..Guess what? Our floor was in!! When was Tapi going to tell me???

The floor was fitted by the same company that fitted our lounge/hall flooring, so again no issues. The only downside to the flooring is the fact it is NOT what we had originally ordered, Tapi was unable to offer a suitable alternative, so we went with the same flooring as in the hall/lounge.

I’m sure the majority of you will understand me when I am extremely disappointed in not getting the floor I wanted.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Quality and style of our laminate floor seem very very good. I would recommend this floor. We have since decided to have this our kitchen now as crappy Tapi’s (black) flooring is not black!
  • Their prices are fairly reasonable.
  • Tapi gives you wear guarantee on every floor. Our downstairs floor has 20 years wear guarantee. (How this will pan out if I need to use this, I have no idea, TrustPilot’s review are not promising!) Our (new choice) of carpet doesn’t state “wear guarantee” on their website. (A bit worrying).
  • The laminate fitters are professional, friendly and work very hard. The result is wonderful.

Cons:

  • Tapi can take forever to order/lay your flooring. It’s taken 3 months so far for us!
  • When having a quote, the salesperson may not have samples to show you. DO NOT trust Tapi’s images on their website, they can NOT be trusted.
  • Make sure you check the fitter’s invoice, our carpet fitters tried overcharging us. (Tapi can give you a break down of the fitter’s charges on request).
  • Confirm the product you want is still being sold, the carpet we ordered is still being advertised on their site even though Tapi say is no longer available. (False advertising?)
  • Information to help disabled customers leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Informed regarding extra charges – (Moving of furniture, uplift of your previous flooring, disposal of your old flooring). Is not made clear enough!
  • You pay the fitters separately from Tapi once they have laid your floor/s. This is a real annoyance when more than one fitter is involved.
  • Our carpet fitters wore no PPE whatsoever when laying our carpet.
  • Chase Tapi every time when waiting for your flooring to come in. They have a great knack at not informing customers when their flooring arrives.

Conclusion

Tapi Carpets have been unable to provide a service one would expect from a so-called professional company. They have shown complete incompetence, total disregard for any and all upheaval and confusion throughout my whole experience with them.

From not being able to provide samples of flooring, selling me a carpet they say they haven’t been selling for some time (yet still advertise this very carpet/colour on their website) to providing flooring that doesn’t match with any shop sample or website image and sending fitters who don’t wear PPE, yet state on their website PPE is supplied to their fitters??

The sad part is, they are reasonably priced and so far, their products do seem to be of good quality. But, the stress of the whole experience is NOT worth any money I may have saved. It really isn’t!

As a disabled customer, they seemed incapable of answering or reassuring me on any queries I had. To not be able to reassure a customer they will be able to go to the toilet while their floor is being laid, is quite shocking really!!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I would like to have my stairs and upstairs hall carpet replaced. Will I use Tapi?? Never, even if hell froze over!!!

Would I recommend Tapi? No! Quite the opposite, I would advise staying clear away from this incompetent company. They actually behave as they have only just started trading in this field.

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Magnet next to a pair of false eyelashes - text - Magnetic false eyelashes that work with my poor dexterity. Can they work for you?

False Eyelashes: That Work With Poor Dexterity

False Eyelashes: That Work With Poor Dexterity: I have poor movement and grip in my hands. I have searched for what feels like a lifetime for false eyelashes that I can put on and take off by myself. That search is now over!

A few years ago, I used to get individual lashes put on at a beauty salon to give me fuller and longer eyelashes. I really don’t know why I did this as there really wasn’t anything wrong with my own lashes once I had applied mascara. I suppose seeing other females with what I believed to be lovely long lashes made me feel like mine were not good enough.

Unfortunately, this was a big mistake! Having this done repeatedly for approx 6 months ruined my own lashes. What the beauty salons don’t tell you is that while having the glued-on false individual lashes removed, they can and often do, pull your own lashes out along with them. This, in turn, makes your own lashes look short, uneven and very sparse. So, of course, you feel the need to have this treatment again!

I suffered from having minimal lashes for well over a year before they grew back to anywhere near what I had previously and even now, they are not like they used to be but that could also be down to my age lol.

My Dream of Wearing False Eyelashes

False Eyelashes:  That Work With Poor Dexterity - An eye wearing pink feather false eyelashes

Anyway, ever since I can remember, I wanted to be able to wear false eyelashes. You know, for those wild nights out or special occasions. (Although not many wild nights anymore :)) Due to my disability, I could never use them due to how fiddly they were to put on and all that glue…..Always terrified I was going to harm my eyes by getting the glue in my eyes.

I tried so many times to find a workaround with the glue, applicators and different types of lashes. Nothing worked, so I had to give up. (Hence why I started using the salons for false lashes). One of my regrets, I have to say.

That is until now……Magnetic false eyelashes…….The solution to my problem 🙂 This did take a few trials and errors to find what worked for me (and my hands). I tried them using an applicator, that was useless, I bought eyelashes with only 3 magnets, they didn’t sit right. Finally, I found a good combination….

The Solution to my Problem

Magnetic eyelashes, how do they work?

  1. You apply the magnetic eyeliner as you would any other liner – I would suggest testing the amount you need to apply – Let dry for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Take your magnetic lashes and position them onto the magnetic eyeliner as close as possible to your own top lashes.

Yes, it is that simple!

Superdrugs magnetic false eyelashes online listing

I started out using Superdrugs magnetic false lashes that come with its own magnetic eyeliner, magnetic eyelashes and liner brush. I found several issues with this product.

  • The lashes didn’t sit right
  • The pot of magnetic gel liner is glupey/sticky and very difficult to apply
  • The price was very expensive

So, I did some research and looked online for alternatives. I ended up buying an applicator that looked like an eyelash curler to see if this would aid me in putting them onto my eyes.

The applicator came with magnetic lashes. These lashes are supposed to sit above and under your top lashes. I used Superdrugs magnetic liner. What a bloody palaver that turned out to be!

The applicator was more than useless. The lashes magnetised to the applicator (obviously) but when you put them to your eye and try to release the lashes to sit on your own lashes, they don’t budge, they will not come off the applicator and if they do, you have only half the lashes on your eyes. Not a pretty sight I can tell ya lol

Moving onto my next idea, I decided to dump the applicator and lashes and look for some different ones. You may or may not know these lashes can come in all shapes, sizes and thickness. It’s personal preference as to which ones you want to buy/wear.

Also, magnetic eyelashes can come with different amounts of magnets. Some have three and some have four (that I can tell). I definitely recommend using ones with 4 magnets.

Still using Superdrugs liner, I made sure the next pair of magnetic lashes that I bought had four magnets. They came in a handy compact holder (shown to the right) on eBay for a good price.

As Superdrugs liner is very dry and sticky, applying it onto your eyelids can be hard work. I tend to put mine on fairly thick, I never know how close I’m going to get the lashes to my own. So, if they are not as close as I would have hoped, I still have plenty of eyeliner for them to magnetise to.

Conclusion

I have terrible grip and movement in my hands. I struggle putting on false eyelashes in the conventional way (lashes and glue method). Thankfully, a new breed of false eyelashes have emerged and are much easier for me to use.

  1. Decide the right shape, size and thickness of magnetic false eyelashes to want to wear.
  2. Decide if you want to/can use an applicator.
  3. Purchase magnetic eyelashes, liner and applicator as a set or individually – I would advise you get lashes with 4 magnets, they stay in place much better.
  4. Apply the magnetic liner.
  5. Place the lashes as close as you can to your own.

Job done!!

One thing I will say though, Superdrugs magnetic eyeliner is a bitch to take off. I had mine on all day and I used a wet wipe to remove the liner and ended up hurting my eye. I never normally have any issues using a wet wipe to remove my liner, it’s my usual routine but whatever this eyeliner is made from, it really doesn’t want to come off.

Do search around as prices can vary greatly. I got all mine on eBay, in fact, I have just bought some liquid magnetic liner to see if that is any easier to apply compared to Superdrugs Gel liner. Once I have received it and tried it, I will update and let you know how I found it.

I wore mine yesterday (a fairly windy day) and they stayed on the whole time. Now, I do wear glasses when out, so this may have helped. They are extremely comfortable to wear, so comfortable, I forgot I was wearing them, to be honest.

I say, give them a go, they are so easy to apply and can be bought at reasonable prices if you shop around.

More Info

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Fish Insurance: Do You Have Insurance For Your Wheelchair?

Insure your mobility equipment with the disabled insurance specialists Fish insurance

Fish Insurance: Do You Have Insurance For Your Wheelchair? – If you insure your wheelchair or mobility aid, you get peace of mind and protection for your chair.  Fish Insurance is a company that can insure your mobility products:

  • Mobility Scooter
  • Manual Wheelchair
  • Electric Wheelchair
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics

And of course all the other stuff like home/holiday insurance etc.

As you may be aware, I am due to fly out to Vegas later in the year and my biggest worry of all things that could go wrong is my electric wheelchair being broken, or worse, lost!!  That would be my trip destroyed.  So insurance is very important.  My insurance package for my NHS Electric Wheelchair with Fish includes a worldwide cover (including baggage handler cover).  This is exactly what I needed to put my mind at rest, I’m sure you can imagine the stress I was feeling!

As a responsible wheelchair user, (well, most of the time :))  I decided it was a good idea to be insured, if nothing else, for third-party.  We all know there are people out there that will do anything to make a buck or two.  Anyway, a few of my friends recommended Fish.

So I rang them up yesterday to get a quote as I found their website to have a few flaws:

  • Didn’t have my make and model of wheelchair
  • When you click on “Get Your Quote” you are taken through the steps to “purchase” the insurance.

It turns out Fish did actually have my make/model of wheelchair but was just not showing up on the website.  This flaw could possibly invalidate your insurance if you haven’t selected your correct wheelchair.

The first man I spoke with was helpful but sounded rather bored and like he really didn’t want to be there.  I didn’t feel confident in going any further with my enquiry or even purchase, so I told him I would ring back later.  Which I did do.  The second man I spoke with was very nice and very chatty, actually, it got to the point where I thought I was never going to get off the phone but nonetheless, I did.  He answered all my questions and I was happy enough to go ahead and purchase the insurance.

At the time of taking out my insurance, here are a couple of the things they cover:

  • Loss or theft Up to £7,000
  • Third-party liability Up to £2m
  • Contingent liability of Up to £2m
  • Personal accident Up to £3,000
  • Worldwide cover (including baggage handler cover) – Excludes liability cover in North America & Canada (Up to 21 days)

Please remember, insurance companies are always changing/updating their policies, so the above may be different if/when you enquire/purchase yours.

A couple of points to remember:

  • Make sure you tell them if your wheelchair is manual or electric
  • If your wheelchair is NHS or privately owned – Each have their own pricing
  • Make sure you pick the correct option for your wheelchair/scooter – You don’t want to invalidate your insurance

To get more information, please visit Fish’s website:  https://www.fishinsurance.co.uk/

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely?

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely? I take a look at high street clothing and adaptive clothing to see how easy it is to dress nicely as a disabled person who is also a wheelchair user.

Dressing Nicely

Finding clothes that sit right AND look nice on a person who is always in a sitting position is not an easy task. When I go out, I want to look my best. It makes me feel happy and I feel much more confident.

I enjoy coordinating my clothes, shoes and make-up. I have different styles of clothing depending on the situation I am going out for. Rock chic look for karaoke nights down the pub, jacket & trousers for when I meet with shop managers and casual for meeting up with friends.

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can't dress nicely?  Woman sitting on the floor posing for a fashion shot

Fashion, unfortunately, is not geared for people in wheelchairs or disabled people in general. For example, models are 90% of the time in a standing position when being photographed for magazines/websites etc. If they do happen to be in a sitting position, it’s not a natural sitting position a wheelchair user would be sitting in.

Heels of any height is a no-no for me, as transferring in/out of my chair becomes impossible, I have to stick with flat shoes (ballerina type) which can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to style/design.

I have seen some lovely dresses hanging on the rail in clothes shops but as soon as I try it on, (oh, don’t get me started on dressing/fitting rooms in these shops) it is dreadful. It all bunches up on my lap, making the dress look far too long for me and looking like it could do with a good iron. So I now know it is pretty worthless even looking at dresses when out clothes shopping.

It has taken me many years to know what will suit me as a wheelchair user. Not only because I sit down all day but because of my body shape too. It’s still not an exact science but the majority of the time I can pick up an item, look at it and know if it’s for me. Well, I say that but I still have to fit them on as sizing greatly differs from shop to shop.

High Street v Adaptive Clothing for Disabled People

Adaptive clothing, I have to admit, is not something I ever think about. I suppose this may have something to do with the fact it’s not widely advertised, therefore, when doing a clothing search online, I can honestly say, I have never seen anything to do with adaptive clothing appear in my results. I have to tell my search engine I am searching for “Adaptive Clothing” before anything will appear.

Like everything else that is sold to make “disabled people’s lives better/easier”, it can come at a very high price:

Red linen wrap skirt with velcro fastening.

This is a wrap-around red skirt, it has two pockets and is fastened with a velcro strip on the waistband. I see a couple of issues with this skirt:

  1. How strong is the velcro? Will it come undone with manoeuvring, transferring out of my chair?
  2. Anyone half decent with a needle could attach a piece of velcro themselves.
  3. HOW MUCH?? £52.50…….You are having a laugh!!

There is no way, under any circumstances would I pay £52 for a skirt, no way!!

Red wrap skirt with tie fastening

By comparison, this skirt is also a wrap-around style…..Cost? £9.00 (was £12.99). Even at full price, it’s much more affordable. At the full price, you are making a saving of £39.51, not something to be snubbed at.

The item description says: “Calf-length skirt in a softly draping viscose weave. High waist with concealed press-studs and ties at one side, a wrapover front and asymmetric hem. Unlined”. A little needlework and a piece of velcro could be put in place of press stud.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Pair of floral jersey pull on trousers

Ok, how is this item any different to a pair of leggings??? They say ” Fully elasticated waistband for ease of dressing”. Errm, so are all the trousers I possess that I have bought from high street retailers! Again, how are these “Adaptive”?? And you want £40 quid……No!

At the end of the day, you can wheel into any high street clothing retailer and find an identical designed item for a much cheaper price!

So, by comparison, these next two items are what I would agree are in fact “Adaptive” pieces of clothing:

Black and grey coloured tie dye leggings

These leggings may not be floral but no different from the pair above: “Made from a stretch jersey fabric for comfortable wear, they feature an elasticated waistband and finish with a tie dye print”.

The price of these are again much more affordable: £14.99

I know which pair I would purchase.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive navy jacket made for wheelchair users

Now this is what I would believe to be an adaptive jacket, they say:

“This very comfortable Wheelchair Jacket has been specifically designed for wheelchair users. The front of the jacket has a shorter cut to prevent it bunching up and to keep it looking stylish at all times. Similarly, the arms of the jacket are reinforced on the insides for extra strength and durability, ensuring that the Wheelchair Jacket is strong enough to cope with all the usual scuffs and abrasions that occur when self-propelling without any loss of performance”.

So the problem I mentioned about dresses bunching up at the front has been catered for and I know how sleeves can get damaged very quickly while self-propelling in a manual wheelchair.

Look at that, a reasonable price too: £16.48 Just goes to show, adaptive does not have to mean expensive!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive polo shirt in light blue

This is a polo shirt that the wearer can put on like a back to front jacket. Or at least that’s what I think they mean.

The description says: “Full back overlap with snaps at shoulders. This adaptive polo shirt for men completely opens up, allowing the individuals arms to be slid into the garment sleeves without ever having to raise/lower their arms or struggle with small neck openings. The back overlap is then folded over and domed/snapped into place”. 

I’m extremely disappointed that this company shows no images of how the “Adaptive” part works. Just looks like an ordinary polo shirt as it stands.

Domed/snapped?? Not sure what that means. But at the price of £76.92, I really couldn’t care less as again this is just legalised robbery!!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Red suede ankle boot with fleece lining and lace fastening.

I have saved the most expensive for last…..Cosyfeet pair of boots: A website: Adaptaware, directs you to Cosyfeet when looking on their site for footwear.

As I mentioned before, my feet are odd sized and shaped, therefore I normally need to buy 2 pairs of shoes to accommodate this. But bugger if I would purchase 2 pairs of these.

Ironically, if they were more reasonably priced, I would have bought a pair, I like the style of them. Unfortunately, at the wonderful price of £112.00 – £93.33 without VAT I would not even consider purchasing a pair.

Would this be classed as a VAT relief disability aid? Hmm not sure myself!

  • 100% waterproof to keep feet dry in all weathers
  • Breathable and with climate control to keep feet comfy and fresh
  • Windproof to keep feet warm and comfy
  • Water-resistant lace adjusts to fit a range of swelling
  • Roomier than it looks due to hidden-depth design
  • Seam-free toe area is ideal for problem toes
  • Lightweight sole is durable, shock-absorbing and cleated for good grip
  • Deep collar offers additional stability around the ankle
  • Comfort footbed is removable for extra depth – ideal for orthotics

The description is still leaving me with the question of how are these “adaptive”? Hang on…….Seam-free toe area? Is it just me, or does it look like the seam goes right over the toe area?. Climate control?? Are you for real? Where’s the temp knob? Hidden depth design…..Oh, this must be like the “luggage” in Terry Pratchett books.

Conclusion

It would seem that some items described as “Adaptive” are truly adaptive and would benefit many disabled people but…As with all aspects of life, it would also seem that some companies are trying to “cash in” on the £259 Billion spending power of disabled people by advertising some of their products as “Adaptive” when clearly it is no more adaptive than I am Lady Ga Ga!!

The prices of the majority of these products are purely legalised robbery! Do these adaptive clothing really cost this much to make? I doubt it very much. Disabled people have much more to pay out for in comparison to ableds, yet still, companies who advertise to help make disabled’s lives easier, do this by fleecing us! In turn, making our financial lives much harder to impossible!!

Some of these products can be bought from many high street shops and with a little alteration, can be “Adaptive”. Yes, I’m aware not all people can do this (physically) I for one. The question is, would it be cheaper to purchase high street product and pay someone to make alterations, or purchase the “Adaptive” product??

As a disabled person, of course, I would love my daily life to be easier but I’m just not willing to pay the kind of prices that are being asked from some, of these adaptive clothing. Shoes are my nemesis, I have one foot that swells up much more than the other. Depending on style/sizing, I have to buy two pairs of shoes so I can have one of the shoes in the next size up needed for me to wear them. Boots? Well, I’ve given up trying to find a nice pair of those for wintertime. I really like the boots above but will not pay that price.

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

Prices/information correct at the time this blog went live. (I have no affiliation with any third parties I may have linked to.)

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Facebook banner with three product adverts below

Bogus Companies Sell Via Facebook

Bogus companies sell via Facebook – These companies send faulty products and that’s if they turn up at all. Then you find the website has disappeared!

My family and I have bought many products from companies advertising on Facebook, from Mascara, Lipsticks, to T-shirts and other such like. So far, we have received more faulty items then not and that’s if they turn up at all! We are still waiting on several items that we have little hope in receiving.

I had seen some lovely make-up products that I wanted to buy on Facebook. So as my birthday was in a few weeks (this was back in mid-April as my birthday was at the start of May), my family offered to get them for me. They ordered some of the products approx three weeks beforehand and we are still waiting for one item to arrive. (Magnetic eyelashes with an applicator).

  1. Outside of the above, I ordered three eyeshadows, I’m in a dispute with the company via Paypal as an extra item was added to my order. My order confirmation does not show this extra item however, it only showed up once I received my Paypal invoice.

Order confirmation at the checkout stage.

Bogus companies sell via Facebook - Order confirmation showing items ordered

Paypal invoice, received AFTER placing and paying for my items.

Bogus companies sell via Facebook - Paypal invoice for order placed.

As you can see, these items are not what you would call cheap, especially with postage costs. So I decided to contact the company with the above proof and asked for a refund on the extra item. I got an apology and told I could have a free item. I asked why then could they not give me a refund on the extra item their company saw fit to add to my order……No reply! So I took it up with Paypal, for all the good that did me. I put in a billing claim, this was their response:

Dear Caroline,

We have reviewed all the details of your claim. Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because your billing dispute doesn’t match our qualification for a billing dispute.

Then what the hell does it match?? If this is NOT a billing dispute, what is it?? Yes, I have appealed, no, I don’t expect a resolution in my favour.

***Update***

I appealed Paypal’s decision and yet again they find in favour of the seller??

“We have reviewed all the details of your claim. Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because the documentation we have on file shows that this transaction is valid and was authorised by you”.

I Appealed again based on their response:

Ok, I tried contacting you outside of this dispute but I was redirected back here. So here goes!

You told me: “Based on the information we have to date, we have to deny your claim. This decision was made because the documentation we have on file shows that this transaction is valid and was authorised by you”.

The information YOU have on file? Surely my claim should be based on the information I have given you?? After all, this is the basis for my claim!!

I’m NOT disputing the transaction, I AM, however, disputing the amount charged. I would like to know how you ascertain I authorised an extra item to my order that I DID NOT purchase nor did it show up on my CONFIRMATION ORDER, you know, the one I check before making my payment?

I have previously sent you my order confirmation clearly showing I purchased 3 items ONLY. Yes, I authorised these but AFTER payment was made for what I believed to be 3 items. I received my Paypal CONFIRMATION OF PAYMENT and it was here and ONLY here did I see the extra item added to my order, an item I did NOT authorise to purchase or pay for. For clarity, I have sent these confirmation images to you yet again. You will clearly see in the red circle on my confirmation order, the items ordered were a total amount of THREE. Then, once I made my payment, I received my Paypal confirmation showing the extra item. Please elaborate on why/how I could have possibly authorised the extra item??

Simply put:

I pick three items
I go to the checkout
See three items in my basket
I pay for these three items
I receive my order confirmation from Paypal
Paypal confirmation show 4 items purchased
How does that constitute my authorisation of 4th item???
I await your response.

I got a response:

We received the claim(s) you opened on 21 May 2020.

We’ve reviewed the transaction(s) and are denying your claim(s). This decision was made because your billing dispute doesn’t match our qualification for a billing dispute.

We’re sorry for any problems you may have experienced with the transaction(s).

So now we are back to the start! Funny how they wouldn’t answer my questions. I feel Paypal can be very biased in their decisions.

I have searched their website for a way of contacting them and can only find a live chat thing where you are told “All our agents are currently offline. Please try again during business hours. Messaging support is available: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 5:30pm GMT”. Yeah, work that one out!! Their Facebook page is as helpful as a chocolate teapot and I hold no hope on Twitter either!!

—————————————————————————–

Bogus companies sell via Facebook –

2. I also ordered two mascaras from a different company as I stupidly believed the advert: https://bit.ly/3gh7YBc I have supplied the link to the product for you to see what I’m talking about but I really do not suggest purchasing any item from them.

Fabulous 4D Fiber Mascara – Mascara with waterproof effect, create dramatically beautiful & bold lashes that enhance the beauty of your eyes.

Glitter rainbow coloured bottle of mascara.


Does it F***!!!!!!

  • Waterproof?…..NO! I rubbed my eye later in the day and I ended up with lovely black streaks across the back of my hand.
  • Dramatically beautiful & bold lashes that enhance the beauty of your eyes?……NO!! I put on three coats of the stuff and it was useless, didn’t make a difference whatsoever! Better off sticking with what I was originally using. I have to say, the one good thing about this mascara……The bottle, it is rather pretty!

3. Lipstick – lipstick was bought from yet another company and I will NOT put them near my lips. They turned up in what I would call a disgusting and used state.

  • The outer box and individual lipsticks all unsealed
  • The bottles were all scratched
  • One of the lids is broken as it won’t screw shut, just lifts on and off
  • Lipstick marks on a couple of the lids like they had been handled by someone with lipstick residue on their hands.

Looking at the images alone, would you use them? With the COVID virus and the fact they turned up in the state they did, I don’t want to use them, so money wasted.

When we tried to contact the company to ask for either a replacement or refund, we found the website no longer existed. So as it was my hubby that ordered them for my birthday as a gift from my daughter, he has also had to take it up with Paypal. (Still waiting on their response).

4. I ordered a bra in a bigger size than I would normally wear and it is small enough to fit my petite 15-year-old daughter.

5. T-shirts from a company called Moteef that send you out Men’s t-shirts even though you have ordered and paid extra for a women tee and when you contact them to rectify their mistake, they send you another T-shirt exactly like the first one!! Really does make the mind boggle.

So I think these are expensive lessons to learn the hard way but learn I have. I will never purchase anything from an advert on Facebook ever again. Order at your own peril!!!

***UPDATE***

Check eBay, I have found all these items and much more and guess what??? At a much LOWER price too…..RESULT!!!!

If you would like to know more or wish to discuss something else, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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Hands holding a piece of paper with VAT at the top and coins and paper money in the background

Are You VAT Exempt?

Did you know, as a disabled person, you may be exempt from having to pay VAT on certain items?? Neither did I!! According to Gov.uk website:

If you’re disabled you’ll generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy, but VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people.

VAT relief that may be available if you’re buying goods because of your disability.

Source: Gov.uk

You’ll only be able to have eligible goods VAT-free if you’re chronically sick or disabled and the goods are for your personal or domestic use. You do not need to be registered disabled or eligible for any other benefit to qualify for VAT-free goods.

Goods you can buy VAT-free

This section has information on the goods you can buy VAT-free because of your disability including:

  • medical and surgical appliances
  • invalid wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • equipment to aid the hard of hearing, and low vision aids
  • specialist beds, chair and stairlifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices
  • goods that have been designed solely for disabled people
  • computer equipment
  • emergency alarm call systems
  • boats
  • parts and accessories


You can hire or lease eligible goods VAT-free if you’re disabled.

Your retailer or other supplier is responsible for checking if the goods are eligible to sell VAT-free.

Medical and surgical appliances

You’ll not have to pay VAT when you buy medical or surgical appliances that are designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or severe injury such as amputation, rheumatoid arthritis, learning difficulties or blindness.

Appliances that can be bought VAT-free include:

  • invalid wheelchairs
  • certain types of mobility scooters
  • leg braces
  • neck collars
  • oxygen concentrators
  • specialist clothing
  • specialist footwear
  • wigs

Items that you cannot buy VAT-free include bandages, plasters or other wound dressings and dentures (unless you buy them from a dentist or other dental care professional).

For full information, please visit: www.gov.uk

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Pandora logo - Pandora in black text with a crown above the letter O

Pandora as Faulty as Their Bracelets!

I was bought a Pandora bracelet roughly 2 years ago and over time I managed to fill it up with charms. Over this period of time, I took my bracelet into Pandora a couple of times to take advantage of their free sonic cleaning. I wanted to keep my bracelet in as good condition as possible. The trouble was, each time my bracelet came back to me, it never seemed to be as clean as before, the silver still looked tarnished. This got so bad I contacted Pandora and their reply was non-committal, to say the least!!

I wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have had my Panora bracelet for approx 5 months now and have had to take my bracelet into my local Pandora store for a professional clean at least 4 times, as my bracelet has tarnished very badly.

I took my bracelet in for a professional clean only on Friday (2/6/17) and as you can see in the pictures I have enclosed, this did not clean my bracelet, you can see my bracelet is still very tarnished? This is the same result every time.  You will also notice that the tarnish does not seem to affect the charms, just the clasp and the safety chain.  (I can confirm my bracelet has never come into contact with any chemicals such as perfume, detergents, hair spray etc).
We all know silver tarnishes over time and a good clean solves the problem and brings the item back to its former glory.  My bracelet was “professionally” cleaned yet it is still tarnished???  I wear other silver jewellery on a daily basis and do not seem to have a problem with tarnishing.  I am now thinking, is it just Pandora jewellery!!
 

I would love to buy your new bangle but do not wish to spend the money on something that is going to look cheap on my wrist as I am afraid this will tarnish also.

I would like to know if there is anything you can offer/do to fix my bracelet as I am extremely disappointed with having a tarnished black bracelet.  Even the shop assistant said it looked like the silver was coming off but felt this couldn’t be the case as it is real silver.  
I took my bracelet to my local store within the first week of having my bracelet due to the tarnishing and they replaced the bracelet.

Pandora responded:

Dear Caroline, 

Thank you for taking the time to email PANDORA and I’m sorry to hear about your bracelet and charms. I can completely understand how disappointing this must be for you, especially as you have such a collection. 

For the purpose of addressing your issue fully I would like to briefly outline the PANDORA warranty policy that all our stockists are trained in. PANDORA warranty on all silver items is two years, on gold it is two years and leather items it is one year. This is to allow an ample amount of time to discover any manufacturing faults with an item and rectify it for the customer free of charge. 

PANDORA jewellery is made from 925 sterling silver and 14 carat gold and these metals will naturally tarnish.  As such, tarnishing is a natural process and is not considered the result of a manufacturing fault, as is also the case with skin reactions. Factors which contribute to this are; the metals coming into contact with damp environments, prolonged exposure to UV light, and contact with perfume, body lotions, detergents, bleach, and secretions of the skin. Tarnishing can be prevented by regularly polishing all jewellery with a polishing cloth. It is worth noting that Pandora packaging is not tarnish proof and even when jewellery is not being regularly worn we would still advise to polish it to prevent tarnishing from occurring. 

I understand how disappointing this situation must be, so I would recommend taking the items back into your nearest local PANDORA store. Many PANDORA stores also have ultra sonic cleaning services available in store that can carried out for free, should this not change the appearance of the items they can also be sent to the European goldsmiths for assessment and professional cleaning.

I hope that the store are able to help further, but if you have any more queries please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

These are the pictures:

So please, is this really just normal tarnishing after just 5 months? If so, why does it not improve with professional cleaning? Why does my other silver jewellery not tarnish, which HAVE come into all sorts of chemicals on a daily basis? Just doesn’t make sense to me!

This went on for a while and in the end, I had to give up as the situation was making me ill as I was still recovering from my heart attack. Pandora had made it perfectly clear they wanted nothing tarnishing their good name/reputation and would not agree that there was a fault with this bracelet.

I turned to Twitter recently to try again, once again a brick wall, oh they were nice at first suggesting taking it for a clean, contacting Cust. Serv but once I had explained I had already done this and sent them pictures, I got nothing further…..Not another correspondence from Pandora!! Complete radio silence!!

One can’t help feel Pandora’s Customer Service is as faulty as their bracelets!!!! So now I am stuck with a dirty ugly looking bracelet, I won’t be purchasing any more Pandora products, not with service like this!!

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Fanned out 5 pound notes with Money not good for dexterity problems

Is money slipping through your fingers?

24/3/19

I think we’re all familiar with the new money that has been circulating for some time now. These new £5, £10, £20 pound notes are somewhat fiddly buggers, to say the least. If like me, you suffer from dexterity problems, you will understand what I am about to tell you.

I am constantly dropping these notes due to the shiny surface they have, especially when against other notes, they seem to just slip right out of one’s hand! Folding them is near impossible too, they just bounce right back at you and fly all over the damn place. I believe they were designed not to be able to be folded. No, I have no ideas either. I think it was something to do with maybe keeping them in good condition for longer.

The idea they can not tear is obviously a good one. Who hasn’t torn their money by accident! But, because of this, I believe this design is what causes them to be so shiny.

I can’t help but wonder who actually thinks up these ideas and how much research/testing goes into such a major decision. Who is consulted in deciding if these things are suitable? Clearly not the right sort of people!

Do you have problems using the new money? Let me know in the comments below.

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Stacked shopping baskets in blue, red and green colours

Is Your Shopping Basket Accessible?

My local Asda only offers the wheelie baskets shown here:

I suppose under normal circumstances, these would do nicely but what if you’re in a wheelchair?  I find these impossible to use for a few reasons:  

  1. Not easy to steer around the store and manoeuvre your own chair.
  2. When at checkout, I’m unable to reach into the basket as it sits on the floor.
  3. Or they are too big and clumsy to put on your lap.


So I contacted Asda via Twitter and to my surprise, they responded: “Thank you for getting back to us! The store manager has advised as they are only a supermarket they only get wheely baskets, however, he has put in a request for the regular baskets! Fingers crossed the baskets will be available soon”. 

This is great if it happens!  I will keep you updated.

One thing bugs me though in their reply.  They say because they are only a supermarket they get wheely baskets???  Is that not what supermarkets do??  Supply shopping baskets for their customers??

***UPDATE*** 23/3/19

This store now have many baskets that I can use on my lap……..Result!!!!

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Woman shaded all in black holding up two dresses, one pink, one black

Fashion Sitting Down!

Someone on Twitter was talking about having some mannequins sitting down in fashion shops to help people in wheelchairs see how clothing would look while in a sitting position.

I personally love this idea and feel it would be a massive leap forward in the fashion industry.  I have bought too many bits of clothing and found them to look completely different in a sitting position as they do in a standing position.  There are many factors a wheelchair user has to take into account when purchasing clothing:

  • Trousers – How high do they come up the back, are they hipsters?  Are they buttoned/zipped/elastic waist – Some of us can only wear elasticated waist.
  • Skirts – Will the hem hang too far down and catch on my wheels?
  • Sleeves – Are they going to get destroyed by my wheels too quickly?

So, to be able to answer these questions before purchasing an item of clothing, taking it home to try it on (as not all of us are capable of using the changing rooms) then find it’s no good and have to make another trip back to the shop to return said item, would be a massive achievement!!

Yes, obviously there are some mannequins that are sitting down but, is there enough?  I don’t think there is.  We need these to be commonplace, like the wheelchair.

Don’t you agree??

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Argos self checkout machines too high

Argos say “Good height for wheelchair users”.

26/11/18 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Argos self checkout machines too high

So I emailed Argos regarding their recently installed self-checkout machines.

This is what Argos had to say,”

I know your concern was about the height of the Quick Pay Kiosks. Having investigated further, it seems that the design of the kiosks is historic and none of the current designers know where the guidance was consulted at the time.

We are however aiming to ensure that new designs are more inclusive and I am working closely with the Store Format teams to ensure moving forward this is the case. We are also trialling other technology where you can browse for products and pay on the same terminal and these are more accessible. However, there will always be aspects of Argos stores that are not accessible for every customer, and when it occurs, our colleagues are always happy to assist (which is of course something Argos is required to do under the Equality Act 2010)”.

Hmm, she says the new terminals where you can browse and pay (presumably the ones pictured above) are more accessible.  Not quite sure about that!

I’m in a pretty high seated wheelchair and you can see below, the touchscreens are too high for me to use, it is above my head!  For a disabled person like myself who is unable to raise their arms past chest level and doesn’t have very good dexterity, this becomes an impossible task.  Now, remember, you have to pump in numbers or the name of the item you wish to browse/pay for on this screen.  Gonna take some time I reckon!  Yes indeed, staff may be required to assist under the EA 2010 but try finding one in the Hounslow branch! 

Cazbarr sat next to Argos self checkout machines

Argos said in a further email, replying to my email with a few suggestions:

“I went around one of our stores on Friday in a wheelchair (before your email came through) just to try to get a view of the barriers in store for wheelchair users, albeit it was the Liverpool Belle Vale store that has just been refitted with the Pay at Browse device. While it is a good height for a wheelchair user, the screen while lower than the kiosk that you mentioned, may well present an issue to a user who can’t reach higher than chest level. We will need to give some thought to how we make sure a wheelchair user can get close enough to the screen e.g. get their knees under the desk and still have the screen and the pay point within easy reach”.

Now I’m really not sure what machines she is talking about as it seems she has mentioned several.  As she mentioned the Liverpool branch has just been refitted with the new machines, I can only assume she is indeed talking about the ones pictured above.  Now, this being the case, how on earth can it be concluded these are a good height for wheelchairs??  You would definitely need to reach up past your head.  

The plus side is, Argos haven’t completely disregarded my comments or even my suggestions.  They do say they will give some thought on how to improve things, this is definitely a plus for Argos.

So now the waiting game and in the meantime, I still can’t go shopping independently!!!! 

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

***UPDATE*** 27/11/19 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Lowered counter with new argos self checkout machines

Argos have been true to their word!! They have indeed installed new LOWER machines in their Hounslow store. I was in the store last week and found these lowered machines to be much easier to use. Unfortunately, the machine at the lowered counter meant for wheelchair users wasn’t working. (I did report this).

The only slight issue is the fact if you’re not careful, you could very well hit your knees on the bottom of the machine. Other than that though, I say, good job Argos.

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Purple Tuesday £249 bn written in white against a purple square

Purple Tuesday, is it worth it?

14/11/18

Purple Tuesday has been and gone!  Did you go shopping?  Or did you stay at home because of the rumours that the DWP will be given CCTV footage so they can use it against claimants?  Yes, that’s right CCTV has in the past been given to the DWP for this purpose and guess who from?  Sainsbury’s!!

According to Disability News, they say:  

“Purple, the social enterprise formerly known as Essex Coalition of Disabled People, has secured the support of DWP for next week’s Purple Tuesday event but has denied that there is any “hidden agenda”.

Tuesday’s (13 November) event has also secured at least 14 high-profile partners, including retailers M&S, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos, and shopping centre owners such as intu and Landsec.

One of the partners, intu – which owns and runs shopping centres across the country – today (Thursday) refused to promise not to pass CCTV footage from the event to DWP, while Sainsbury’s has refused to answer questions.

But Disability Labour, which represents disabled people who are members of the Labour party – but is independent of the party itself – has called for a boycott of the event.

It has raised fears that those companies taking part could pass CCTV pictures from the day to DWP to use against disabled people who have made benefit claims.

It highlighted how Sainsbury’s has previously admitted that it occasionally passes CCTV pictures to DWP”.


Scary stuff that this can happen and the fact companies are willing to abuse their use of CCTV so willingly and feel they don’t have to “comment” on that fact, or be accountable!!!  I’m not going to debate about whether or not CCTV is good or bad but I never liked the fact that it was forced onto us, the public without consent or consultation.

So the purpose of Purple Tuesday was what exactly?  If you visit the Purple Tuesday website, this is what they say:  “The aim of Purple Tuesday is to make customer-facing businesses more aware of these opportunities and challenges and inspire them to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience over the long term”. Their slogan:  The UK’s first accessible shopping day!  Is in itself very confusing.  It suggests it is the very first day all retailers are going to be accessible!!  Eerr….No!  So straight away it is misleading.  PT was meant to highlight the difficulties disabled people have while out shopping and retailers were supposed to make a pledge to change at least one thing to help with accessibility.  Will it work?  I doubt that very much.  It was one day, on the quietest day of the shopping week.  Once the event is over, we will be forgotten again!  Over the next few days, I intend to go to my local high street & shopping centre and ask how they thought the event went.  I bet quite a lot of retailers will ask, what event was that?

A few retailers have been mentioned that are supporting PT but no real information regarding as to what these retailers plan to change or if they will be followed up to see if any changes have been made?  Has an audit been done to see what changes needed to be made to compare to any changes that may or may not have been done??

I hate to be so downhearted about this event because if it works, it will be a milestone movement for disabled people.  I, unfortunately, don’t believe this event will make the slightest change whatsoever.  I’ve had to contact the same company twice regarding access issues, so what does that tell you about how serious retailers are about accessibility?

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