Tag Archives: supermarkets

Chrysanthemums

Supermarket aisles.
Plastic smiles
And chrysanthemums I bought
As they brought
To mind
My grandfather’s garden, and hours
Spent amongst the scent
Of flowers.
Yet I find
But little scent
In these doctored blooms.

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To an Indoor Rose Bush Purchased In My Local Supermarket

On the supermarket shelf you shonne.
But now are gone.
A stick in a pot
That liveth not.
O why did I buy
A thing sure to die?

BlindStudent Refused Entry To Tesco Because Of Guide Dog

Last night my friend, Brian drew my attention to the case of a blind student who was ejected from Tesco’s supermarket for bringing her working guide dog into the store, (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/oct/17/blind-student-banned-from-tesco-for-taking-in-guide-dog). Under the UK Disability Discrimination Act (now subsumed into the Equalities Act) assistance dogs (including guide dogs) are allowed to enter premises selling or serving food and it is an offense to refuse entry. Tesco and those employees who threw this lady out of the store where therefore guilty of breeching the legislation. To compound matters the dog was wearing it’s distinctive high visibility harness thereby clearly marking it as a working animal.

Initially Tesco offered the lady a £20 voucher. However following the BBC picking up on the story Tesco has, I understand agreed to pay £5000 to the Guide Dogs For The Blind Association (The UK charity which trains guide dogs). The supermarket has also said that it will “remind” staff of their duty to admit assistance dogs.

As a blind guide dog owner I am afraid that this incident does not surprise me. On several occasions I have been refused service in restaurants when accompanied by my guide dogs (my current dog is called Trigger). I have, however had 3 previous dogs: Nixon, Zeff and Drew all of whom have been wonderful companions and have provided essential assistance in finding my way around London together with other cities.

In most instances the issue of my guide dog has been resolved amicably by me politely explaining the law and producing a letter from the RNIB which furnishes a brief description of the legislation as it relates to blind people (including their working guide dogs). Unfortunately, in a few instances I have had to invoke the threat of legal action which has proved effective in ensuring the future admittance of my guide dog and I.

It is incredible that a huge multinational like Tesco can not provide adequate training to it’s employees regarding their duty not to discriminate under the Equalities Act. Despite the company’s assurance that they will “remind” their employees of their duty to admit working guide dogs I feel in my water that incidents such as this will continue to happen.

Tesco is not the only company guilty of such actions. Many other organisations have (and continue to practice) discrimination against disabled people.

Ironically I visited my local Tesco (it’s about a 30 minute walk from my home) on Friday and had no problems in gaining admittance with my guide dog, Trigger. Indeed the staff where extremely helpful and I was escorted round the store as I can not shop independently due to my poor vision.

I hope that Tesco and other similar organisations get their act together. However, as I say above I fear that articles like this will continue to appear.

The Lady On The Bus

Shortly following my move to Crystal Palace in 1997 I took a bus to the Sainsburys supermarket, located at Crystal Palace’s football ground. There I sat, my then guide dog, Zeff lying at my feet, minding my own business when a lady began rattling Keys. I remember being torn between the desire to smile owing to the sound being reminiscent of the rattling of Marley’s Ghost’s chains in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and the wish to get away from this lady who, quite obviously had mental health issues.

I remember, at the time thinking “I hope she doesn’t follow me off the bus”.

On reaching my stop I alighted and to my dismay the lady followed me, muttering incoherently to herself, keys rattling as she walked.

I quickened my pace wishing to reach the relative safety of Sainsburys in double quick time. I entered only to have the lady grab hold of Zeff’s harness and for her to say “I’ll kill the dog”. Matters descended into black comedy with a member of the supermarket staff asking whether I was acquainted with the woman. I felt like answering,

“Do you think I hang around with mentally unstable individuals who threaten to kill my guide dog?” Instead I merely confirmed in a surprisingly calm voice that I had never met the woman before and could they please eject her from the store. Fortunately a security guard intervened at this juncture and escorted the lady off the premises.

In retrospect I should have insisted that the supermarket call the police as the lady was clearly mentally unstable, had made a threat to kill my guide dog and, quite obviously required medical and/orpolice intervention. I suspect the woman had stopped taking whatever medication she was on leading to her bizarre and, quite frankly frightening behaviour. I hope to heavens she didn’t go onto harm some other poor soul.

The above recollections where prompted by the following post which I came across earlier today, http://doctorly.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/sightless/

Sainsburys Ebooks

I very rarely listen to commercial radio preferring BBC Radio 4, however while enjoying a curry in my favourite Indian restaurant this evening I heard an advertisement for Sainsburys Ebooks so determined to check it out, http://www.sainsburysebooks.co.uk/about.

Being registered blind I love ebooks which I read using the text to speech facility on my Kindle, the Kindle app on my iPad or Voiceover using iBooks on Apple devices. I’m not clear from the Sainsburys Ebook site as to whether their books can be read using the kind of accessible software used by blind people such as myself. The website states that Sainsbury’s Ebooks are not compatible with Kindle which suggests to me that they can not be read by registered blind people. I have, however e-mailed Sainsburys to ask whether their books can be read using access software (the product I use on my computer to access the screen as Jaws converts text into speech and braille). However It is always good to know of healthy competition in the ebook market so I thought that I’d share the site with my readers.

For my Amazon Author’s Page please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0