Tag Archives: Shopping


I went with my husband to buy a new truck. I was down on the ground looking at the rear differential. A salesman came over and asked if I had fallen. We left immediately.


Another intersection of sexism and ableism… and ageism, too, really. I was out doing some grocery shopping in Lidl a couple of weeks ago, in the electric wheelchair I use, and I lifted up a mid-weight medicine cabinet I wanted to buy and propped it over my lap, on the side of my chair, without any real difficulty. I took it to the till queue, and when I moved to lift it and set it down on the conveyor belt, a man I’d never seen before in my life came up behind me and decided to “help” me with it — never asked, never even spoke to me before he did it — and he grabbed the box out of my arms, and by yanking the weight out of my grasp, he dislocated my shoulder in the process. On top of that, if you can believe it, he then got angry at me for calling him out on his behaviour (even though I did it politely) and pointing out that if he hadn’t “helped”, I would not have been injured – *and* he refused to help me relocate my shoulder (a woman of about my age a bit further back in the queue helped me put it back). I am fucking fed up of being treated like I couldn’t possibly ever handle anything by myself just because I happen to be (a) young, (b) a woman, and (c) a wheelchair user! This kind of crap happens far too often, and it’s nearly always men who do it. That said, however, I have neither forgotten nor overlooked a *delightful* incident from a couple of months ago: In that particular instance, a woman about a generation older than I am decided that she was going to “help” me get off a bus, all along talking at the top of her voice and half the time in third person, to show everybody else on the bus how she’s soooo charitable and a better person than they are, helping this poor disabled girl (that was the way she was acting, and it was frankly humiliating)… So I said to her, “Look, thank you for the offer, but really, I’m fine, I can manage without help.” She ignored me at first and went down to speak to the driver, again at the top of her voice so the whole bus could hear, even though I’d already pressed the buzzer to let him know I needed the ramp to be put down at the next stop, so she didn’t need to talk to him at all. I said it again, and a little more forcefully because by then she was actually getting in my way when I was trying to turn my chair around, and next thing I know, she’s effing and blinding all over the place, calling me all the disgusting names under the sun, with ableist insults, ageist crap and some equally nasty misogynistic epithets no woman ought ever to use to another… and all I’m doing is just trying to get off the damn bus and go home, and she’s shouting swear-words at me at the top of her voice… eventually I just yelled back “Oh, fuck off and grow up!” when I was finally off the bus, quietly apologising to the bus driver for the scene – and she had thoroughly triggered my PTSD by then. The closest comparison to that incident with a man? Well, that was also on a bus, but it actually began with him physically assaulting me, after which he went off on a similar verbally abusive rant – but he wasn’t even pretending to try to help me. Just loud, misogynistic, ableist, ageist verbal abuse all over again. I posted that incident on ES shortly after it happened, in 2012. I am so very tired of people who think they have a right to “help” me against my will, almost always without asking, and are not being helpful at ALL. Every single time someone has done that I have ended up with either a physical injury or a damaged wheelchair. And eight times out of ten it has been a man who has tried it. I am just so tired of it all.


I’m looking to buy a new bike. On Saturday I went into my local bike shop to ask some questions and try a few models. I had great service and was treated pleasantly and fairly. Tonight I popped in again – this time with my husband. It was a totally different story. I may as well not have been there, as far as the guy in the shop was concerned. Every time I asked him a question, he addressed the answer to my husband. At one point he looked over at my husband and rolled his eyes as if I’d asked a stupid question (I hadn’t). It made me feel angry and ignored, and was embarrassing for my husband too. It seems the presence of another Y chromosome in the room renders me invisible.


I tried to buy my daughter some sandals suitable for scooting and climbing trees etc. The woman in the shop kept bringing out white and pink strappy sandals that were totally unsuited to a small child in the park. The footwear gender divide is very stark, it may seem trivial but white fancy sandals say: girls should be neat and tidy and not run or climb. Then as a present for being sensible she presented my daughter with a pink hairbrush that dyes your hair pink!


When I was about 11 or 12, I was walking back to the car with my mom from the grocery store. I was walking a little behind her, and was wearing a sweatshirt with jeans. A guy walking past us in the opposite direction slapped my ass as he walked by. I was so shocked I didn’t do anything. My mom saw out of the corner of her eye. She turned around and started screaming at him and he ran off. A man at a sports bar next to the store saw everything and chased the guy, tackling him to the ground. Someone else called the cops. The cops interviewed me. I was still in shock, and just wanted it all to go away. I acted like it was no big deal. I have always repressed that memory and tried to pretend like it doesn’t bother me. To my knowledge there were never any charges pressed and the man was not punished at all for doing what he did to a minor, however small of an action it was, it scarred me. Adult men in my life now still make comments about my butt and it makes me so uncomfortable. I am trying to learn how to speak up for myself and tell them to stop, but I am scared because I know they will just belittle me and not listen to me. As a woman, I feel helpless against men. I want to change this. I don’t want women to constantly live in fear.


When I was 13 I was in a shopping mall during the busy holiday season. I got seperated from my family in a crowd and then felt a hand touching my butt. I brushed it away, but it came back to reach further under my skirt. When I caught up to my family they had run into someone they knew and I felt too embarrassed to say anything. The pervert took off in the opposite direction.