Thursday, 23 July 2009

101 in 1001 - Item 81...

Sort out a funky and appropriate bag to live on my powerchair

...has been completed!

I actually figured out a couple of months ago just what sort of bag it needed and how I needed to put it on the chair and got the bag on Saturday just gone. But the story of the bag involves the trading standards story I mentioned a few days ago so I was waiting until I had an answer on that before blogging it. Also a few more attempts at using it to be sure it worked seemed a good idea.

Basically I can't put a regular bag on the back of my powerchair due to design of it (bar as opposed to push handles). And wheelchair bags are shit, basically. Totally don't work for me.

But a few months ago someone showed me a wheelchair bag designed to hang on the side of a chair. Only problem being it was much too small for my purposes. However I was able to try a regular messenger bag on there and it worked. Just needed to find one that I liked and that didn't cost the earth. I'd seen several that would "do". None that were a style/design I really liked and waterproof. So I'd not got one yet and was beginning to think of going for something less perfect.

When I was shopping at the weekend however I remember a small bag shop that was a bit out of the way and I'd not tried yet. Bingo, they had a waterproof plain black messenger bag for a tenner. Perfect. It doesn't scream "Emma!" ye but I have a few possible customisations in mind to make it more "me."

It's working well... I'm in two minds about whether to put a couple of stitches in the strap to make it more secure but at the moment it's ok without that. I've fitted most of the stuff I've got when shopping in it (and that was a relatively big powerchair to sainsburys trip for me).

The shop I got it from however shocked me greatly. And as I mentioned before I ended up reporting them to Trading Standards.

So basically I asked the guy to reach me down a bag to look at and he did. Then I asked to look at another one (the one I actually got) and he told me it was crap, it was a tenner (the first one was £30 I think) and I didn't want to look it. Annoying but not the reason for my complaint.

Decided what to buy and asked "do you take X card?" and he said they did.

But there was a problem... they could move the card machine but had a display of bags in front of the counter and that meant the card machine couldn't get to me because I couldn't get very close to the counter.

The guy working there told me "it's fine" and I'm thinking he'd move the stuff (it wasn't much).


"Tell me your PIN number and I will type it in for you."

Oh My God. So I just kind of gaped at him and went "No."

"well, you can whisper it to me."

"No." In the background another customer walked in. He already knew I was by myself because he'd asked when he asked if I wanted anything reaching earlier.

"Tell that lady your PIN number and she can type it in."


At that point I started gesturing for my card back and he finally got the message. He moved the stuff (which was all of about three things and took less than a minute) and I typed in my own PIN number.

Jesus wept. I was absolutely astounded that anyone would consider that 1) an appropriate thing to ask a customer and 2) in anyway safe.

I deliberated for a couple of days and in the end e-mailed trading standards. Because it's such a huge safety issue I felt that on reflection I had to. They tell me it's a clear DDA Breach (which I knew already) and they'll be discussing DDA requirements with the proprieter and also referring the matter to the local access officers

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