Stores could be more helpful to the elderly, disabled people
Following is a brief story about a recent experience I had during a trip to visit my daughter in Gloucester, Mass. The trip started out on a high note thanks to the exceptional wheelchair service provided by the Buffalo and Logan airports. When my daughter and I left Logan, we headed to the local mall. Our first shock was parking outside a large department store and finding the elevator was clear on the other side of the store. I could have been greatly aided by a wheelchair or a shopping cart to lean on, but the store had neither. General “mall practice” is that wheelchairs are provided in some central location in the mall.
Our observation and recommendations are: Before you even park, there should be signage/directions to an elevator entrance. Shopping carts and/or wheelchairs should be available at the same entrance or near any handicapped parking.
After several inquiries, we found out that the women’s department was on the lower level. We both thought that the department would have been more convenient on the first floor. Because there was no one to ask a question of, my daughter became my personal assistant, going back and forth from the dressing room to the clothing racks. Our joint thinking was to have a shopping assistant for seniors. Perhaps a few in the store – floaters who could be available via text message or a store loudspeaker.
This wasn’t the first time I had this experience. In a big brand-book retailer, where no carts are offered, I had to deal with heavy books. My only choice was to buy only one, which was all I could carry. My daughter, who has her own jewelry design business, will often bring work to her customers if they are unable to climb up to her studio on the second floor. A local grocery store that charges a quarter to rent a cart, then returns it at the end of the shopping gets more of my business for that convenience.
Our request is to please give me and others with physical challenges, senior-friendly shopping experiences.
Jacqueline Ganim DeFalco