Sunday, November 05, 2017

Disability and Displays

First, she didn't want to move the display. I had come into a store to pick up two gifts, that I'd seen there before. I couldn't get into the aisle because there were now display cases on the corner blocking entrance. The display was a light cardboard thing that just needed to be slid over. I had glanced at the first employee I saw who was unoccupied with a customer and asked for assistance. She came over and when I told her I needed entry to pick up what I wanted, and maybe needed help to get the gifts to the counter, she agreed, reluctantly.

She slid the display over and I entered the aisle, following her. She said that we had to be quick because she didn't want the display to block other shoppers. I said, "Oh, yes we wouldn't want to inconvenience those who walk, do we?" sarcasm dripping from my lips. She said, "Just because we can walk doesn't mean anything, we all have some kind of disability."

Now I hate that shit.

We're all disabled in some way.

We are maybe the only minority that people say that shit about.

Man: Oh we're all Women in some way, look, I like pink.

Straight woman: Oh we're all Lesbians in some way, look, when I bake, I like to lick out the bowl.

White person: Oh we're all Black in some way, look, I tan.

Those are ridiculous statements, offensive in every way. But when people say, 'we're all disabled in some way' they are presuming membership that they are not entitled to. Non disabled people not only exist but they exist in such a privileged way that they can humble themselves by claiming disability status because their nails are too long to use a calculator and we're supposed to go gooey inside at their understanding. Fuck that.

Oh and same goes for:

I understand because my mother uses a wheelchair.

I understand because there were kids with Down Syndrome in my school.

I understand because I once walked by a rehab center.

Stop that shit.

I told her that I found that statement offensive and would she please stop saying that. She's carrying the two gifts I want to purchase now and following behind me. She is continuing on insisting I understand that disability means nothing because everyone is disabled, that there is no meaning to disability, no difference arising from disability, because she ... 

"OK, I'm done," I can shop elsewhere. 

I turned and left the store.

She actually called after me,  "Don't you want these anymore?"


I didn't.


clairesmum said...

Ugh....just ugly.

ABEhrhardt said...

I'm glad you left - hope you can find what you wanted elsewhere.

Leaving the house and going into a store shouldn't be planning WWIII.

Just as if they wouldn't put a 6-foot wall which requires scaling with a rope in the path of most of their customers, they shouldn't narrow aisles below anything reasonable (and lawful) with their seasonal displays.

They think it allows them to display the maximum amount of merchandise. I think it makes it much more likely that customers will make a mess - because there is no room not to. So a bad idea even without us.

Adelaide Dupont said...

And there might not have been an "elsewhere" to shop, for you or for any one.

L said...

I hate it when stores block aisles with displays.

and when you complain, they shrug.

and if you accidentally knock a display over, they get cross.

One of the worst offenders I've encountered is a chemist/pharmacy - ironic, given that that is where elderly and disabled people go to get prescription and over the counter medicine: Friendlies Chemist Subiaco.

Ron Arnold said...

Willful cuss wasn't she? Ironically - looks like it's a disabling willfulness. She certainly is blind to something significant . . . .

Shannon said...

Yes those displays are annoying, I'm sure I have knocked over one or two of them. I like when they are lightweight because I can move them over myself. I too am not a fan of the "everyone has a disability" comment. Sometimes I guess it's an attempt to relate and say we're not that different from you, this time it seems like an excuse not to keep things accessible. I've seen the expression used to try to say that character flaws are disabilities, so everyone has one... never made any sense to me. Wouldn't that mean that people who have actual physical, sensory, mental disabilities, since they must also have character flaws, have extra disabilities? Or is it supposed to mean that people with those actual, obvious disabilities have better characters/are somehow made better people because of their disabilities? Anyway, I don't like the expression!

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I haven't heard people describe character flaws as "disabilities" before, but my reaction is about the same as yours--it doesn't make sense to me, and I don't like it.

In thinking about it, I think one of the reasons I don't like it is because it posits the whole concept of "disability" as something wrong or "bad" in an individual person, in complete disregard for whatever role an inaccessible environment might play in creating what could be easily avoidable difficulties in our lives. So I think I dislike it both because it confuses the concept of what a disability even IS, and because it implies that disability automatically means something "wrong" or "bad" about the person.

Unknown said...

Ooooh...I HATE that. Do NOT pretend that disability doesn't exist. Don't pretend that we are "all the same" and that you understand the barriers that people with disabilities face each and every day. Unless you actually have a disability, you do not and can not ever understand.