There are some facts about parking and shopping:
- I do not shop a lot of stuff once a week. Also, I shop daily and I shop small amounts. That allows me to keep overuse of my heavily strained left arm to a minimum.This means frequent runs to the store. I park close to the entrance. Actually, I park very close to the entrance. My ability to carry bags far and my ability to push a heavy shopping cart straight over asphalt or paved parking lots is limited. And truth is, I do have a choice.
- My left "non disabled" arm contains damage to wrist and hand after about four or more serious falls, sports injuries and the likes, so it is unstable and chronically painful. So I buy small amounts and carry these using a suitable bag.
- Do I have any interest to pay a parking fee? No. Free parking rules.
- I have a problem loading my bags into my car sometimes, having to open the passenger door wide. That requires wide parking spots. Typically, disability parking is better suited, it is narrow on normal parking spots. I always managed to get my bags into my car - don't ask. Better to be safe than sorry.
- I do not get any official 'disability parking' allowance. Our laws do not provide for that as upper extremity amputation is not recognized, simple as that. Doesn't mean I have no options though now, does it!
- This restricts my shopping to two classes of shops (a) shops that have ample free parking available, (b) shops that allow me an explicit exception to use their disability parking.
- I did write to all of our shops in the area to ask how they see the situation. Of all, only COOP answered politely saying they allow me to use their disability parking despite not having an official 'disability parking' vignette (Swiss traffic law restricts these to people that can't walk well).
So, Glatt Zentrum, COOP Dietlikon and gas station shops are definitely winners! That is where I feel my requirements are met best. Thanks, guys. After that, online shopping is next. Why carry anything if they can have it transported here.
IKEA, JUMBO, Migros, Media Markt and others lose. Parking is elusive, costly, narrow, scarce, uninteresting. Also I did not like the stares in some of these shops, also by employees, so maybe some of these shops just by nature are a bit against disability. Shops without parking don't even come into consideration. I am not strict or exclusive in where I pick up my stuff but obviously, friendship is a natural process.
Employee / shop clerk staring that stands out as particularly unpleasant
Employees in the Walder Schuhgeschäft in Glattzentrum actually will stand at a safe 5 meter distance, all turned towards me, and give me a full stare as I struggle to tie shoe laces. More than once, their company is extremely tense and uneasy. These folks are highly recommended for investigative journalists - that is, if you go there with a disabled decoy to shoot some undercover camera, or as actors for a Paradrom Rathausen experience.
Employees in IKEA Dietlikon also stopped and stared. If a customer with disability scans and packs his stuff, it is considered good practice to stand at a safe distance and spend a few minutes with wide open eyes staring.
Best shops to use
Furniture, carpets or frames, fabric, bikes, hifi equipment, watches, nails or screws are definitely best ordered through eBay.ch or ricardo.ch. Clothes are best and cheapest ordered through llbean.com and from jcpenney.com. Shoes are best ordered from rmwilliams.com.au.
Besides, why fight it! I am now free of problematic overuse symptoms that I had last year and daily jerking around of heavy stuff played a major role in these - and I am determined to keep it that way.
A gerneral solution to such accessibility issues would mainly increase other shops' chances to sell stuff so maybe it'd be in their interest. But then who knows. And who cares.
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