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AIBU?

To be upset by this disabled mans behaviour?

143 replies

Greeeeenjuice · 07/07/2017 10:25

I work in a shop which is in a reasonably historic town, most shops are about 100 years old. We have a few steps leading up to our shop, there is no ground floor access

We have a glass front, and just now I heard a huge bang; almost hard enough to crack the glass. I went outside to find a man in a wheelchair, no bother, usually we have a chat outside and I go in to fetch their products. I am polite and help as much as I can.

But today all this man wanted to do was shout at me in front of loads of people about how we didn't provide for disabled people. I was really shocked. It isn't even my shop. Turned out he only wanted to check for a bit of lost property which we didn't have.

He then sped away and left me on the side of the road with a crowd of people watching. I think some of them think I'd been horrible to him.

AIBU to think this is not appropriate? A colleague thinks I am- that he had a right to be annoyed. Confused

OP posts:
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BasketOfDeplorables · 07/07/2017 11:03

It's not always possible to use a temporary access ramp. If there are a few steps the pavement may be too narrow to have one that isn't too steep to be workable. Ramps have to be safe, and it's not always possible to have one.

This is rubbish, of course, for people using wheelchairs, but even if OP owned the shop they may not be allowed to make the changes that a ramp would need. I've dealt with this at work a lot, and it is very frustrating when you have to get shouted at and there's nothing you can do about it.

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badtime · 07/07/2017 11:04

I used to work in a shop and was shouted at by a very rude man in a wheelchair who had been banging and shaking the door demanding to be let in and abusing staff members because the door wasn't accessible. The problem was, the door he was banging at was a (clearly marked) fire exit, not an entrance and if he had come to the shop's actual (signposted on the fire exit) entrance, we had a ramp, and a bell to attract attention for assistance. He was a dick.

However, if your shop doesn't have disabled access, they should have trained the staff in what procedures are, and what explanation to use when asked why you have no wheelchair access (including the legal position). I don't think the man was unreasonable to be frustrated, but he shouldn't have taken it out on you; YANBU to be upset by it. It wasn't your fault.

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Samcro · 07/07/2017 11:04

he should not have shouted

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NeedsAsockamnesty · 07/07/2017 11:07

as the parent of an adult who is in a wheelchair....omg shops with no access are awful
he is right you don't provide for people like him

Yes shops with no access are awful.
However the op neither owns nor rents the building and she has given no indication she she is senior enough to authorise building work.

Her employer doesn't provide for people like him, that is quite different to her not doing so

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Samcro · 07/07/2017 11:09
Biscuit
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MrsJayy · 07/07/2017 11:10

people like him what does that mean ?

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mydogisthebest · 07/07/2017 11:13

We had a bell at the shop I work in and it was stolen! Yes that's right some arsehole stole it. So we replaced it and it was stolen again.

Of course the man had every right to be annoyed that he could not go in to a shop but he had no right whatsoever to shout at someone who works there.

It could well be that even the shop owner cannot be allowed to make it possible for a disabled person to enter. So he needs to rant at the council, his MP, councillors not a shop worker who quite possibly already gets enough abuse from customers

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araiwa · 07/07/2017 11:13

Id have walked back inside

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Laiste · 07/07/2017 11:16

He shouldn't have shouted 'but' ...

I think the 'but's are wrong in these posts. It implies he was justified. He wasn't. He shouldn't have shouted. Verbally abusing people is not the way forward and shouldn't be excused.

The lack of ramp is wrong but he shouldn't have been shouting at the OP.

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BreconBeBuggered · 07/07/2017 11:17

You were lucky, OP. My MIL once went round and tore the owner of a clothes shop a new one just for having an inaccessible first floor whilst I was using a wheelchair. I wasn't even with her, and if I had been, they'd have been very helpful, assuming I was in the market for men's braces or long johns.
The town I live in now has lots of old buildings with varying degrees of accessibility. Often there's not even lip service paid to the needs of customers in wheelchairs. If/when I need to use a wheelchair again, I won't be able to shop independently. This is hugely frustrating and does not lend itself to a calm frame of mind. Unless the OP's shouty man is naturally a dick, he'll probably be cringeing now at his behaviour.

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MusicForTheJiltedGeneration · 07/07/2017 11:18

I'm still a bit confused about the lost property aspect.

If he cannot access the shop how could he have lost anything in there?

Was he just visiting every shop in the street in case it had been handed in to them?

Either way, he was bloody rude but I agree that the shop owner needs to find a better way for disabled customers to attract your attention than hammering on a glass window.

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BarbarianMum · 07/07/2017 11:20

I do not have the authority to decide upon or authorize changes to my office - but I do have a voice, as do my colleagues. It is due to that voice that our building has a lift to the first floor rather than a third meeting room. It needs all employees, all customers, to start saying "actually, this isn't right". Not to even have a bloody bell is indefensible frankly. OP and her colleagues have a duty to be raising this.

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n0rtherrn · 07/07/2017 11:29

Yes it's wrong, yes every place should make an effort to assist people with disabilities, and listed/old buildings should not be let off. But, nobody has the right to shout at strangers because they can't access something.

He isn't unreasonable to be pissed off and upset, but he was unreasonable to have a go at you.

All he needed to do was ask how to access the building/service and see how the staff could help.

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BabsGanoush · 07/07/2017 11:32

Get a ramp and a bell and a sign that says: "if you have difficulty accessing this shop ring the bell and you will be assisted immediately".

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SchadenfreudePersonified · 07/07/2017 11:35

YANBU - how did he get into the shop on a previous occasion (if he thought he had left an item of property there)?

I can see how very frustrating it is for people in wheelchairs, but sometimes you just have to accept that what is, is, and it's not the fault of the person who works there. In fact, in historic buildings it's often not physically possible to provide disabled access because they are frequently small, on several levels or listed buildings which can't be altered.

He acted like a twat. (Being in a wheelchair doesn't mean you are not occasionally an arsehole!)

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Alexkate2468 · 07/07/2017 11:45

It's just a bad situation that you have no control over. I understand his anger and frustration, I only have to use a pushchair in a town like this and find it inconvenient so goodness knows how much more difficult it is in a wheelchair every single day. HOWEVER, you can be annoyed and frustrated and still be reasonable. Maybe he is usually. Maybe this was just one thing too many. Everyone snaps sometimes. He wasn't right to shout at you but don't take it personally, is not actually YOU he's angry at, but the situation. Councils need to her their act together when it comes to stuff like this.

Hope you're okay.

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PurplePeppers · 07/07/2017 11:50

Some buildings can NOT be modified to allow access for a wheelchair. It's a shame, it's awful for people who are disabled. However, short of flattening any old building that doesn't allow for those modifications (or have some looser regulations regarding listed buildings), I cant see how this can be changed.

I can totally see how someone in a wheelchair can get really frustrated by it.
I really don't see how banging on the window as if to break it, shouting at the OP etc... is acceptable in any shape or form. If it has been an able person doing that, people would have considered it to be verbal aggression. And trying to damage a property. None of which would be tolerated.
I'm not sure it should be because someone is in a wheelchair.

I would be much more lenient to someone who is in pain (and some people are in a wheelchair because of that) but I'm also aware that people who are 'able bodied' and in pain are not ususually given that sort of leeway....

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WomblingThree · 07/07/2017 12:01

He shouldn't have shouted, as that gets you nowhere.

As a wheelchair user, it is incredibly bloody frustrating to not be able to do the same things as able bodied people. Able bodied people really don't get it (not that I expect them to) but it's very difficult sometimes to not feel like screaming.

In a nearby town, there is one dropped curb between the car park and the shops. Idiots park on it all the bloody time. So I sit and wait for them to come back. No-one else except a wheelchair user would have to wait, they could walk on any other section of the pavement. Is my time less valuable than anyone else's?

When they eventually return to their car, and I point out where they have parked (over the only fucking dropped curb), I generally get "oh I was only gone five minutes" or "oh I didn't see it". It drives me fucking insane. If you can't see a dropped curb, then maybe you shouldn't be driving wanker .

What makes me most angry is the fact that they truly cannot see what my problem is. I've been sworn at, shouted at, told I'm unreasonable...Yet I have to sit there like a good little disabled person and accept it.

Superdrug in another town I go to is a repeat offender. Shit piled in the middle of the aisle, displays both sides of the doors, a convoluted checkout queue. I knock stuff over all the time. Stores like B&M and HB who pile up boxes everywhere to fill shelves and then people roll their eyes when I can't get past. Bloody pain in the arse.

I want to be able to do my shopping like everyone else can. I don't think it's too much to ask.

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C8H10N4O2 · 07/07/2017 12:02

Accessibility in this country is a nightmare for disabled people and its a daily fight just to get to essential places.

So whilst it may not have been nice or fair of him to shout at you I find it entirely understandable that people get so frustrated.

Have you raised accessibility for customers and staff in your workplace and asked why it isn't being addressed or pushed them to provide access help (eg the doorbell and temporary ramp if the building is not allowed to put in a permanent ramp)? From your description its sounds like accessibility is a recurring issue in your shop.

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C8H10N4O2 · 07/07/2017 12:05

Wombling people roll their eyes when I can't get past

Absolutely all this - its not just the lack of access which is so bloody annoying its the fact that people take offence and make it your own fault or tell you that you are a massive inconvenience for existing all the time.

Seriously OP - try spending a day in a wheelchair, or with one hand fixed in your pocket (to simulate managing with a walking stick) or with weights around your joints (to simulate arthritis) and you will get a tiny taste of the problems.

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WomblingThree · 07/07/2017 12:07

Hi 5 C8H10N4O2

Gently though Wink

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demirose87 · 07/07/2017 12:15

Yes he has a right to be annoyed, all shops should have disabled access these days,but not the right to be rude, especially when it is probably obvious its not OP's fault and nothing she can do about the situation. I've also seen this when I worked in a shop and was told the counters were too high for people in wheelchairs. I was a 16 year old saturday girl, so not really much I could do about the situation.

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AgentProvocateur · 07/07/2017 12:16

Even though the building can't be adapted, there are reasonable adjustments that could be made - a mobile ramp, or a bell outside for disabled people to ring for attention. I'd have been enraged if I was in a wheelchair and the only way to get attention was to bang on the window. He had every right to be annoyed

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worridmum · 07/07/2017 12:17

the problem with it soooo many places that can be converted to be disabled accessable arnt that people get upset as places then generuable cannot be modified ie historical buildings like castles.

Eg when I used to work at dover castle there was places that people in wheelchairs could not access and could not be converted for access without destroying the very building itself and recontructing it so its no long actully orignal and because of this there price was suitable reduced to reflect the % that they could not access but the amount of abuse i got saying every single bit should ethier be open to all or open to none and basically said a 1000 year old structure should have massive modifications (aka wall to be knocked down floors to be removed etc) to allow for a lift to be instilled and people should come before historic buildings........

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bigbluebus · 07/07/2017 12:24

He was unreasonable to rant at you in that way but it s unacceptable that shops and businesses hide behind the 'old buildings' excuse regarding disabled access. As a very minimum there should be a door bell arrangement with a sign asking people to ring for assistance. I also live in a town with lots of old buildings with steps at the entrance. Some of them have managed to put ramps in at great expense (mainly Banks) but others haven't bothered doing anything. It meant that I could not go shopping locally with my DD who was a wheelchair user.

I hope that in light of today's incident you are discussing with whoever is responsible for the building ways in which the situation can be best improved. I once complained in a HIgh Street chain store that my DM could not reach a card pay machine from her wheelchair as it was too high up and the cable would not stretch down as far as her in her chair. I told the shop assistant it was not acceptable that I had to input my DM's PIN code for her in order for her to make a purchase. The next time I went to that shop with her I was pleased to see that the POS terminal had been lowered and she could reach it.

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