Let me start off by saying that I do not expect special treatment because of being in a wheelchair or because of having to wear sunglasses indoors due to being super light sensitive; I do expect people to treat me as they would treat someone who can walk more than two feet on their own and doesn't get light triggered migraines from normal indoor lighting.
Now on with the story...
Yesterday Kevin took me to the mall, something we don't do often because it is loud and it is bright and between the two I don't usually do so well pain wise shortly after getting in there. The plan was to go to one store specifically for an eye cream and an eye makeup remover that I had found on the store's website because I prefer shopping in person; I also wanted to "sample" the smells of some of their scented products because I have been hoping to find a sent that helps wake me up because I don't seem to be able to stay fully awake for more than a couple of hours at a stretch.
As we were heading to the store I noticed another store across from it with an OPI display and asked if we could go in just to look since they are considered some very good nail polishes and I only have one very dark red from them. They were busy and there were only two employees there at the time but they both made sure to say hi to us while they were helping other customers. We were looking at the nail polish which was well above my head and difficult to see. Once the employees had finished with the customers they had been working with they both came over to us separately to help and one of them even noted that I was wearing pink nail polish already and suggested some other colors I might like that were bright and/or pink and they both pointed out all of the limited edition sets since they are limited edition. We weren't planning on buying any of the nail polish but then one of then started pulling down the nail swatches they had of the stuff that was too high for me to see and going over all of them with me, and I do mean all of them, and Kevin ended up buying three different polishes for me based on my reactions to what she was showing me which was probably the best way to go because I just cannot make decisions.
After we went to the store we had planned on going to and it was completely devoid of customers and also had two employees standing around in it, one in the middle of the store, the other behind the counter. We headed toward the one in the middle of the store and she looked directly at us and then immediately turned away and didn't do anything, just tried really hard to not make eye contact. So we went down one side of the store and to the counter and the girl who was there looked directly at me and then practically ran into the back room. By this time another customer who could walk came in and the girl in the middle of the store jumped over to her and started helping her. So we kept looking around the store and really did need help because I couldn't find what I was looking for, we went up and down the store at least twice very slowly looking at everything on all of the shelves and did managed to find one of the things I wanted from there, but I told Kevin not to buy it because they obviously didn't want to help me. He thought maybe they were afraid to help me because the wheelchair and the sunglasses. I told him that since this store's main products were all scent based it shouldn't matter if they thought I was blind because you pick soaps and fragrances based on smell because they all do the same thing.
Today we went to Target, a box store that the most I expect from their employees is to tell us what the total is when they ring us up. It just so happened that where the eye creams and eye makeup remover there was an employee who had been helping some other customers and when she saw us she said hi. Then when she finished with the people she had been helping she came back over to us and helped me find a hypoallergenic eye cream and eye makeup remover and said that if I didn't like it to keep the receipt because we could return it. We made our purchase and after we left I told Kevin it was sad that a store I wasn't expecting any employee help from gave better customer service than a store I have always loved and always had great service from until yesterday.
The other store I have gone to in various locations for well over a decade and yesterday was the first time I had left one of their stores without buying at least one thing. I am sure this is just a fluke and that their employees are not normally like this which is why I am not mentioning the name of the store here. I don't know if any of my friends who will read this are in a customer facing job, but really, if you see someone in a wheelchair or wearing sunglasses indoors, using basic common courtesy that you would use for someone not in a wheelchair or sunglasses indoors will go a long with that person. Seriously, if someone in the one store had said hi to me we probably would have stayed until one of them decided to help us and purchased five different things because I had actually planned what to buy based off what was on their site, I just had to decide on which of three scents I wanted to get that wasn't the eye cream and eye makeup remover. Either way, I am over it, but just in case this made someone think about how they treat someone who is disabled then I will consider this a worthwhile post.