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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:
JuicyNectarine · 07/07/2017 12:31

I hope MNHQ delete your thread for being disablist offensive claptrap and you get a chance to take yourself off and study the law on the subject.


Judashascomeintosomemoney · 07/07/2017 12:32

My DF has all kinds of trouble, every single day of his life, just getting around even a place that has been adapted. He's yet to have verbally abused anyone for it though, but as PPs have said, that's more to do with being a nice reasonable person than it is to do with the wheelchair. C8H10N4O2 totally agree, accompanying my DF when he 'walks' haha with two sticks and more often than not now when he's in his wheelchair, you see this all the time. I really think there should be nationwide initiative where town planners , councillors, business owners and maybe even schoolchildren spend a day in a wheelchair just trying to get around. I think there'd be a real change in people's mindset.

TinselTwins · 07/07/2017 12:33

Your workplace is being unreasonable. You can get fold up ramps that go up several steep steps, your "solution" though well meant, of him having things fetched for him at the door, its very publically humiliating. So if you came across as if you thought you were doing a "good" thing by doing that, no wonder he got upset with you!

elliejjtiny · 07/07/2017 12:33

He was right to be upset, but wrong to take it out on you, like when people have a go at nurses because of long waiting lists.

HarmlessChap · 07/07/2017 12:39

YANBU to be upset by his rudenesd. As others have being disabled doesn't stop you from being an arsehole.

A bloke in my town who uses a mobility scooter bangs on shop doors with his stick to be let in then proceeds to drive in, expecting you to get out of his way, complains if there is insufficient room to turn his scooter around, shouts at people to get out of his way on pavements all while smoking and being on ovygen at the same time. If you challenge him about smoking in a workplace he will get abuse then tell another member of staff to hold his fag outside for him.

He's an foul mouthed idiot with no regard for others but because he's disabled he gets away with it.

TheFairyCaravan · 07/07/2017 12:50

He has every right to be upset.

Imagine sitting on the pavement waiting for someone to go into the shop to do your shopping for you? How do you pay? Can you bring the card machine outside for them? It sounds quite degrading to me.

I'm disabled. I use a wheelchair more and more now. It's terribly hard to get around in this country. Previous posters have said about shops not thinking about accessibility when they put displays out. Other folk doing their shopping look at you like your shit on their shoe if you dare to politely ask to get past. It's horrible.

He shouldn't have shouted but it was possibly the straw that broke the camels back

nocoolnamesleft · 07/07/2017 12:54

I'm not sure how he was meant to be able to attract attention without banging on the window? No ramp to get in, no bell to summon assistance... As a matter of interest, were you already irritated by the window banging, mandated by the owners' failure to provide reasonable adjustment,, before you went out to him? Because if not, why mention it?

From his point of view...he may well have been trying to attract attention for a while, before the window bang to which you object. Which would lead to you going out there already miffed by the window banging, and him already being frustrated not only by being barred from the shop, but also by having been ignored (by his perception). Frustration, and annoyance, were absolutely normal reactions.

Yelling at you, however, was not acceptable.

Motoko · 07/07/2017 12:59

It's always the interesting little independent shops that are difficult to either access, or manoeuvre around inside, I've found.

There are so many shops in a couple of towns I know, that I just can't go in any more, now that I'm in a wheelchair. It's a shame. They've now lost my business, and I've lost the enjoyment of browsing and buying things, supporting a small business.

That man shouldn't have shouted at you, but I hope you're going to be bringing up the possibility of getting a mobile ramp and/or fitting an accessable doorbell to your management.

WomblingThree · 07/07/2017 13:00

Oh for goodness sake HarmlessChap, that bloke is an arsehole full stop. Nothing to do with his abilities.

As proved even on this thread he doesn't fucking "get away with it because he's disabled". Believe me, as a wheelchair user, you don't "get away with" anything. You know, like trying to live a normal life.

Toysaurus · 07/07/2017 13:02

I had a shop with steps. I had a fold out ramp. No excuses.

Bearsinmotion · 07/07/2017 13:02

Agree with Fairy - I used to hate shops where I had to ask for everything - it's humiliating. I wonder how long he was there before you noticed him? I've been there, feeling invisible, wondering what I need to do to get someone's attention while everyone else wanders in and out as they please.

LogicalPsycho · 07/07/2017 13:09

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.

Even with the Disability Inclusion Act, there are always going to be some limits as to where this is possible.
A few years ago when on holiday with DCs in Wales, a man stood verbally tearing a strip off a poor tour guide, because there was no disabled access.
He wanted to an answer why there was no measures in place so his DW could also enjoy walking around the borders of Conwy Castle.

I'm not a structural expert, but the Castle is an old, Listed Building, and the borders are highly irregular stone paths. There are random inclines and narrow parts along the top, and given that it was built around 800 years ago this is to be expected.
You can't just integrate wheelchair access into to pre-modern day buildings and presume them to be safe.

Cheby · 07/07/2017 13:11

YANBU. He behaved like an arse. Lots of things in life are unfair and far from ideal. Is it reasonable to complain civilly and attempt to get them rectified? Yes. Is it reasonable to publically abuse someone about it? Particularly if the person concerned is not even responsible? No, absolutely not.

Andrewofgg · 07/07/2017 13:15

I remember a thread a few years ago about a shop which had formerly been reasonably accessible; but the owners had gone bust and new occupiers and put up a central display structure which made the aisles too narrow for a wheelchair and why was this allowed? There were MNers ready to point out that perhaps the business wasn't viable without the extra display shelves and that's why it had gone bust before, but of course they were pissing into the wind (please excuse the male metaphor!) saying so here.

The fact is that a lot of the stock of business and commercial building space is inaccessible and always will be. One of my favourite restaurants is in a basement down a narrow stairway - the owner has a lease for, probably, seven years - he can't rebuild it to install a lift even if the upstairs occupiers were willing to give up part of their trading space and why should they?

BreconBeBuggered · 07/07/2017 13:17

It's up to shop owners to provide customers with more imaginative solutions to fairer access if building modifications aren't possible. It's easy to shrug and say 'life's unfair' when it's somebody else who's been dealt the shitty end of the stick.

There's no single, simple answer. It's not always ideal to have items brought out to you; this creates a sense of obligation to purchase that you wouldn't feel as an able-bodied customer simply wandering around the shop. But at least it's a start.

Andrewofgg · 07/07/2017 13:25

Sorry BreconBeBuggered but if I am running a self-service queue-and-pay shop on tight margins I am going to lose money on any customer I take things backwards and forwards to - and that's before I consider the customers who say "Sod this" and take their business elsewhere rather than wait.

AgentProvocateur · 07/07/2017 13:39

Andrewofgg, it's either that or perhaps have a discrimination case raised against you with the possibility of a fine. Unless you can come up with some other reasonable adjustment so that disabled people have the same access to your goods/services as non-disabled people. Hmm

Andrewofgg · 07/07/2017 14:00

No AgentProvocateur - the obligation to make adjustments is limited to what is reasonable. It's not reasonable to expect retailers to trade at a loss.

Now, of course, the problem there is that if you win the claim you might not be able to get your costs out the claimant, and one fine day we will insist that every claimant has insurance to pay the defendant's costs if the claim is dismissed. Not just in discrimination claims.

hulahooper9876 · 07/07/2017 14:03

He had every right to be upset and every right to shout, mostly because you seem to think that "bringing stuff outside" for disabled people is an acceptable alternative to being able to do your own shopping like an actual human being. Why do you think segregating and treating disabled people like children is OK?

Andrewofgg · 07/07/2017 14:15

He had every right to be upset - Yes

and every right to shout - No. People with a disability have the same right to shout at retail staff who cannot do what is asked of them as people without a disability - namely, no such right.

C8H10N4O2 · 07/07/2017 14:53

There is an assumption here that accessibility will by necessity cause a trader to make a loss. The disabled spend money as well which traders lose by discriminating.

I used to hear the same arguments made against laws protecting women from discrimination - an endless line of business owners insisting they would go bankrupt if they couldn't discriminate against women.

Or possibly there are other reasons why businesses perform well or badly. If a business can only survive by discriminating against one group I'd question its business model.

C8H10N4O2 · 07/07/2017 14:58

and every right to shout

I don't agree to this although I can see why people reach that level when basic shopping is made so difficult and with no sensible adjustments.

I've never shouted at anyone over lack of access, I have been sworn at and abused for committing the crime of being 'too slow' or 'needing a seat on public transport'. Abuse of people with disabilities has become horribly normalised over the past 5-7 years after a period of improvement.

I would also ask people who don't like being challenged by the disabled what they personally have done to consider access in their workplace. Its not just 'someone elses' responsibility - its down to all of us to consider others needs as well as our own.


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WomblingThree · 07/07/2017 15:44

Fuck me Andrewofgg. If you had a shop, you could just put a great big sign outside saying "no cripples". My money is just as fucking good as anyone else's.

Are you racist and sexist as well? Are are disabled people just an easy target?

WomblingThree · 07/07/2017 15:44

Or are.

MusicForTheJiltedGeneration · 07/07/2017 16:05

Not every shop or tourist attraction is going to be able to make it accessible for people with disabilities purely due to building regs. There has to be a realistic attitude I'm afraid. Knocking down part of a listed building to install a lift simply isn't possible in a lot of cases.

The idea that people can ring a little bell outside and tell the shop assistant what they want sits uneasily with me even though it's possibly the only compromise. Don't we all like to browse and perhaps buy things we didn't go in for originally? That's how a lot of shops survive - impulse purchases bought along with the regular stuff.

I've been into plenty of shops where the lighting and/or loud music would make it unbearable for someone with autism to step into. Sadly shops cannot always respond to the needs of every customer, even though these issues are a lot easier to rectify than, for example, making Hadrian's Wall wheelchair accessible.

As a society we do have the responsibility to make areas accessible to all where it is possible. Shouting about the times when that is not the case really doesn't help.

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