Just some thoughts on a situation that occurred yesterday. Last week I saw some boots on the Cloggs website that I was very interested in. Yesterday we were in Birmingham where there is a big Cloggs store. As we had a bit of time to kill, we decided to try and see if we could get to the shop so that I could look at the boots. We started by getting the address and phone number from directory enquiries. We then decided to phone the shop to find out where on Corporation Street they are. However, we couldn’t get through.
We then started asking questions to various people. No one, including the barman at a pub, the staff at new Street Station, or a couple of taxi drivers, could tell us where this shop was. As Corporation Street is apparently fairly long, we eventually decided against looking for the shop as once on the street we had no idea where we should go.
cloggs have a second branch in the Bull Ring shopping centre, but this is just a complete no go area for blind people unless they have had some orientation practise in there. It is all open fronted shops, wide open spaces, and very noisy. so in the end we gave up on the idea and went back to the pub to wait for our friends! I bought the boots online today and just hope that they’ll be OK otherwise I’ll have the inconvenience and expense of sending them back.
This highlights probably my greatest frustration. We were possibly so close to that shop but eventually had no way of finding it. Those uninitiated people who say that blind people shouldn’t have any problems getting about don’t realise that yes, we can put one foot in front of the other and walk or run with the best of them, but not knowing where we are going can at times be as debilitating as a physical disability and renders it impossible for us to go to the places that others take for granted.
the flip side of this frustration is that if I were sighted i’d probably be broke as i love shopping and it is only its inaccessibility that stops me from doing it regularly as a form of therapy!