In fact, I could eat out everyday and be perfectly fine with it. Unfortunately, my wallet does not agree. This winter has made the struggle even more real. When it is minus stupid outside and the snow is falling the only thing that goes out the door is my motivation. Aside from battling the weather elements, grocery shopping comes with a few more obstacles that people in wheelchairs have to face. The trick comes in finding ways to overcome those obstacles to make this daunting task more enjoyable and ultimately successful.
The challenges I face while grocery shopping start from the time I get there with finding parking.
When the weather is good and I am just getting a few items then I don’t mind finding a parking spot in the back away from the hustle and bustle, I actually prefer this. When the weather is less than favourable then i prefer parking closer to the door. Finding an accessible spot can be a challenge in itself depending on the time you go (this is a whole other topic in itself). Once inside I face the challenge of accessing items. It never fails, there is always something that I need that is on the top shelf. If someone nearby doesn’t see my stubborn self struggling to reach what I need, and asks if I need help, then I need to find the closest, nicest looking person. I find people are always more than willing to help. I have met some lovely people. I always take a bin with me that sits on my lap. This works to help me know my carry limit. Once the bin is full, it is time to go home. I have never tried using a shopping cart myself. Sometimes I have a hard enough time navigating my chair around a store without knocking things over so I can imagine adding a cart to my chair and forming a train would just end in a train wreck with a clean up required in some isle.
I did a google search and did see some interesting concepts -for lack of a better word. the most interesting one I saw the cart attaches to the front of a person’s wheelchair leaving their hands free to push the chair as normal.
Photo source: globalaccesibilitynews.com
I have come up with a few strategies to make shopping as painless as possible, and also limits the number of times I have to go...
This way I have a mission and I know what I am going for. Having a plan makes for a quicker grocery shopping experience.
2. Make a list
Having a list ensures I do not forget to buy something. It also helps me stay focused so that random bag of chips is less likely to find its way into my bin. I like to make the list on my cell phone because I always have that with me.
3. Bring a basket/box
I sit a bin I have on my lap so I can place my grocery items inside. This prevents items from escaping from my lap. For those unplanned trips to the store where I do not have my bin with me I will search the store for an empty cardboard box and use that instead of one of the store baskets so that I can also keep items in the found box to transport them to the car instead of dealing with a bunch of random bags.
4. Take someone with you
It is always easier having someone to go shopping with. I also find it brings some joy to a miserable task. After all - misery loves company. Having someone with you also means you have someone to reach things you can’t and they carry things to the car. I find this especially helpful on days when I need to buy a lot of things, or heavy things like a case of water. In the past I have made shopping dates with friends where I will meet them at the store or pick them up on my way since everyone has to shop at some point. I am lucky, I live next door to family. Usually it works out that we can organize it where we go shopping at the same time. This gives me the extra benefit of having someone to carry my groceries into the house for me.
In London there are personal shoppers you can provide with a list and they will do the shopping for you for a fee (fee varies depending on how much you are buying). Another option is placing an order online at On The Move Organics’ website and having it delivered. The Superstore and Loblaws offer the option of placing an order online and scheduling a pick up time. I have personally never tried any of these options yet.
I like to have staple food items on hand for times when the weather is bad or I just do not have the energy, desire or time to go to the store. For me, this includes having rice/quinoa, frozen veggies, cans of beans and frozen tofu. This way I know I can throw together a quick meal with things I already have. One of my favourite meals is Tofu Stir-fry.
Although the above tips may not totally eliminate the dislike for grocery shopping, it can at least aid in making it easier.
Have you seen an accessible cart?