Shopping in a store is not all it’s cracked up to be…

The New Loaner Chair

Finally, a rainy day in the midwest. Every year I like to get a new outfit or two to add to my school collection, and cycle out some older things. We do have a tax holiday in Ohio, but Macy’s seems to give things away frequently and today was no different. I wanted to take my new loaner chair out for a spin, so of to Kenwood Towne Center Macy’s we went. We and about half of Cincinnati had the same idea today, and Macy’s like usual was having a “one day sale” and “double star dollars” or some such stuff like they usually do.

The first thing that needs to be explained is I got a different loaner chair until my chair finally comes in. Right now my chair is scheduled to be in the end of August, so I will be starting the school year in this chair. It is a slightly different style than my other loaner, mostly in the removable footplates and the hard back. I am significantly lower to the ground, but that also makes my center of gravity much lower which makes it much easier to push myself up the small curb cuts, and hills and ramps and things. The center of gravity was so high in my other loaner that I struggled with those, and in general it made me really tired to push myself around. In this chair, having done a grocery shop with my Dad yesterday and pushing around the mall today, I have almost zero fatigue. I would never had made it walking around the grocery store, or Macy’s, and I would have been exhausted and was exhausted in my other loaner. This chair is a bit heavier than my other loaner, but I am still able to handle getting it in and out of the car, so overall this switch out was a good thing. Of course Lorraine claimed it for herself as soon as she could. She even enjoys riding with me on it around the house.

Lorraine Along for the ride.
Wheelchair Fashion is Hard.

Now to the shopping experience. Macy’s is sort of my go to for “teacher wear”. Now I don’t wear high professional wear all the time, and I am still figuring out what works best with my wheelchair, so I needed to try some things on. I now have to be more careful of things like flowy sleeves, and I haven’t gotten brave enough to wear a dress or skirt in my chair yet, not to mention I am not much of a dress/skirt person. One or two days a week I wear spirit wear for my school, and honestly, I have enough spirit wear these days to wear it probably 10 days in a row. I want to feel good with what I am wearing in the wheelchair so some experimentation is needed. I plan on wearing pants/capris with tops that aren’t t-shirts and don’t have too many flowy bits. I can maneuver flowy bits on the bottom of the tops better than on the sleeves. Luckily Macy’s had an accessible dressing room, though the grab bar was way sketchy and the lock didn’t work, I made do.

Random objects in the way, had to go a different way.

Let’s talk about the state of the store. According to several clerks, Friday and Saturday at that Macy’s was crazy busy and a lot of areas of the store showed it. You can also tell they are understaffed, which I get, but sometimes there is no excuse to at least have someone walk through once or twice an hour and make sure aisles are clear for all customers. I often ran into areas of the store like at left, where something had spilled out and no one had been by in a good long while to pick it up. This particular area in home goods looked like a storm came through.

This was one of the better aisles in the Women’s Department, but still hard to work my way through.

If you think working your way through the aisles in a store like Macy’s is hard as an abled bodied person, you would be right. Double that for access in a wheelchair. There were several areas where I got caught, and or with all the clothes it was not or barely possible for me to get through what passed for aisles. I came up on strange corners, things all over the floor, and in general I got a new perspective I wasn’t expecting today. I did my best to not unseat more clothes onto the ground. There were several times where I literally drove my wheelchair over random hangers on the ground (I hope they didn’t have clothes on them, I did my best to avoid that). I did have several people offer to help me get things that were clearly out of my reach, but in general I was able to find what I wanted in my reach.

I often came up on obstacles like this. No way for me to pass

I know they can’t plan each and every pillar or bump out, but they should make more effort than they currently are. The Women’s department was very cramped, and had a ton of clothes packed in there, which made it much harder to navigate. They recently moved the women’s department in this Macy’s, and it is not an upgrade. Of all things in the old women’s department they put toys. The old department had much more space and was laid out much better, and was much less cramped. Now, I wasn’t in a wheelchair when I last shopped there, so perhaps the aisles were just as cramped, but it didn’t seem that way because it was a department on both sides of a main aisle opposed to being in a corner out of the way and shoved in there which is what it feels like now. Macy’s you need to do better to make all of your departments accessible, and do a little maintenance on your accessible dressing room.

Overall it was good to get out of the house, and now that my wheelchair is ordered we are moving along with getting me going. Still no ETA on my car hopefully there will be news on that this week. I have a week full of appointments this week, another urology follow up, and my annual eye exam. I need to get out more and have more experience in my wheelchair, and I am starting to realize how ableist the world really is, even with the ADA people just don’t consider the little things and it is sometimes the little things that make a big difference.

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