Whilst out in town with my family the other day, it really dawned on me how frustrating living with sight loss really is. I used to like going in to town and looking around the shops, browsing the aisles and seeking out the bargains. I enjoyed being able to compare items or choose things that I liked.
Nowadays people generally moan about going to the supermarket, what a chore it is and how frustrating it is when they have moved things around so you can’t find them, but think of it from my point of view.
I have to have support to do any kind of shopping nowadays. I can’t see well enough to walk in to a shop, pick up the things I want or need and take them to the till to pay for them. No, I have to locate a member of staff (finding the shop door can be a challenge let alone finding someone that works there) and then wait, sometimes for up to 30 minutes, before a member of staff is available to help. I then have to explain what I’m after and rely on this unknown person that they are going to find me what I need. I have learnt not to trust them (sadly) as, in previous shopping expeditions, I have purchased the wrong items due to the member of staff not putting in to the basket what I have asked for – an example is when I bought a pair of jeans, I told them my waist and leg measurements and what colour I was, to get home and find out that they had sold me a pair that were the wrong size.
I appreciate that I am able to get support from staff, but it is the browsing that I miss. I am often unaware of what is on offer or of new products unless someone makes me aware of them. I also find that members of staff only offer me the cheapest items on sale. I have learnt to ask what else is available and have surprised the member of staff when I have chosen a higher priced item – sometimes I think that they assume that I can’t afford a more expensive item; maybe they think I don’t work due to being blind??
Maybe as technology improves, there’ll be an app that recognises what items are around me and automatically informs me of the bargains, offers and of new products enabling me to make a more informed choice rather than relying purely on the person supporting me.
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.