Lack of Access


I have been dealing with a bad knee for nearly two months. Long story short, about 6 weeks ago I did something stupid and screwed up my left knee. Until 2 weeks ago, walking was agony. After dealing with the pain for about 2 weeks, I realized I was either going to need to adapt to using one of those blasted mobile scooters in a store,or stay at home.

The following is from my correspondence with Staples.  (The big difference in complaining to Staples and Hobby Lobby, is Staples appeared to take my complaint seriously.  That alone is interesting.  Hobby Lobby has a corporate profile for being quite Christian and very conservative.  They did not give a damn about my complaint.  Staples once belonged to Mitt Romney.  It is basically middle of the road.  They took the complaint seriously.  At the same time, I am helping someone attempt to locate contact numbers for Delta Airlines.  It is wild.  Nothing works.  It is as though they have this false front, of alleged transparency that could not be farther from the truth.  You cannot get hold of them – at all.  We’ve tried email, phone, Twitter – absolutely nothing.)

I was aware of problems with mobility due to my mother, but I always ran her errands. She would sit in the car. I finally understood why. Today’s modern shopping experience has even handicapped spaces quite a distance from a location where a person can access a cart – if at all.

I now understand why Amazon is growing.

A goodly percentage of Americans are literally being marginalized due to lack of mobility and accommodation in stores.

Sunday afternoon I needed a few items. I would have ordered them from Amazon, but I wanted them before Thursday.

I went into the Sierra Vista Staples.

Granted, my knee is much better, but I wasn’t going to walk all over that large store.I went inside about 5:15. I asked about a scooter. They did not have one. I said I would need to leave because I was not going to walk the store. One of the employees, went through the entry doors to help me leave!

One of the other guys, tall brown hair, said he would take care of my list. He did so quickly and politely. On the way out, he told me he assumed the store did not have one because they weren’t large like a Walmart and could not afford the upkeep.

I mentioned it was a corporate decision. He said he’d never thought much about about it. The kid was polite.

That’s the deal. There is no motorized scooter. The local Hobby Lobby does not have one. Yet, there is a store next to Hobby Lobby, not a national chain, that has one. It is a matter of accommodating customers and realizing as Baby Boomers age, you are going to be losing walk-in business.

Give me another week and I won’t need the blasted scooter. That’s not the point. I’ve come to see just how difficult it is for someone with limited mobility these days. There were some additional things I needed to purchase, but needed to look at what I wanted. I bought several things at Target, instead and Staples, then purchased the remaining items on Amazon – A total of about $125 I could have spent at Staples.

Staples response is they will look into my complaint.  I don’t expect that to happen, but it was the fact that someone actually responded that caught my interest.  We have a very serious problem brewing here in the US.  We Baby Boomers are starting to get all the aches and pains that go along with survival.  I don’t know about others, but I have every intention of living well past the century mark.  I have no intention of growing old nor giving up my life.  Unfortunately, corporate and city planners have something different in mind.  If you cannot navigate their brave new pedestrian world you’re screwed.  There are approximately seventy-four million of us.  That’s a sizable chunk of the population of this country.  Are we to be consigned to the trash pile of the community?

When did things begin to change?

I remember when the pharmacy was located at the front of a drug store.   Today, though, one must walk through all the merchandise, to get to the pharmacy, that is all the way in the back.  The idea is to be exposed to the merchandise so you will buy more.  There are times when a person just can’t drop off a prescription at the drive-in window.  The person who needs to consult with a pharmacist may be the one least able to navigate through a store.  But – that doesn’t matter.

There are too many handicapped parking spaces.  The reason I say that is having so many spaces taken up and rarely used prevents those who have physical limitations but no parking permit, from accessing a reasonable parking place.  Have you ever tried walking five spaces up, past an empty handicapped spot, then very slowly, agonizingly taking another fifty steps across the drive to a building, which is set back a ‘safe’ distance from the drive?  It is torture.  I’ve nearly passed out trying to do so.

I’m almost ill – not from the knee, but the knowledge that my family allowed our mother to be pushed into a second class status because she could not easily navigate these new distances.  Do you know how difficult it is to walk down the new proscribed inclines?  They are worse than stairs in many ways.  When  you can barely walk, all those metal clinks that slow down a wheelchair are torture.

We did not fight for my mother.  Instead, we talked her into staying in the car while we went into a store, with her shopping list.  Damn, that was cruel.  I learned the lesson, the hard way.  Our society is now designed to be pedestrian friendly.  Walking is good for  you.  We are to take as many steps possible during the day, no matter how debilitating those steps are.  It quickly reaches a point where a person is in such pain, and so confined, because of the vast amount of walking now required to be ‘healthy & productive’ that they literally quit bothering to go out in the world.

This was what I was allowing to happen to me, even when I knew the blasted knee discomfort was only temporary.  I gave up, and began asking people to bring a few things to me when they went shopping.  I stayed home.  I hurt too much to even walk the steps necessary to have dinner at the local eatery.  I could drive thru something, but that was about it.  I couldn’t even carry in my own shopping.

It was so very humiliating.

It still is.

Do you know how people treat someone driving those stupid scooter carts?  I must admit part of the problem could be the danger involved in driving one.  Sunday evening, in Target, I took out an entire Reese’s Pieces display!  At least I could make it to the scooter without nearly passing out the way I nearly did about three weeks earlier.

Even worse – what about the men and women who have been severely injured serving our country?