Disability, My Life, Student Life

Tills Vs Wheelchair – Little Sea Bear

Hi guys, It’s Shannon from Little Sea Bear.  My friend, Sophie, asked me to write this awhile ago and I nearly forgot but thankfully, as I sat here, trying to think what to write, spoke to dad about it and asked online, Sophie’s request shot back to mind.

Sophie and I decided it should be a guest post on here. So, today, we will be discussing shopping!

The busy shopper

Shopping is an everyday activity. We shop for a range of things from food to clothes, school uniforms to stationary, books to dvds. And, we often browse shops when we don’t know what to buy, say for example, when searching for that perfect birthday present for your little sister. However, while most of us are able to stand in a queue, stick our card into the checkout and then walk away, not everyone can.

We were out shopping in the Bullring, searching for a birthday present for one of her cousins, around 3 or 4 years old. The one thing we can all be certain about is kids love Disney, right? So we went to the Disney store.

The Bullring Disney Store

Sophie knew her cousin was a fan of Minnie Mouse and other characters that I have forgotten the names of—new characters that have sprouted in the coming years, so we browsed the shop and found the perfect present. Then we joined the queue. Not bad, nothing wrong here. 5 minutes pass and we finally get to the front and to the tills.

Sophie hands the man at the till the items and this is where I noticed an issue I never thought about before. The chip and pin machine was resting on a shelf that is at my chest height. I’m a 5 foot something woman who can stand.

Sophie is a wheelchair user and as I see Sophie as a capable person, I always wait until she asks for help, so I let the scenario play out. The man looks at me. I don’t do anything, he unattached the chip and pin and tries to lower it but it is on a wire and still not able to reach Sophie.

Eventually, she asks for help but another issue happens here. The amount she spent is over the £30 contactless limit and she has no iPhone (but even if she did, I wouldn’t have had her thumbprint). So we cannot use contactless, Sophie cannot reach the chip and pin to enter her pin and I am unable to hear whispering.

So we had to come up with a solution. I paid on my card and Sophie paid me back when she got to the cash point but that shouldn’t have to be the case.


I can’t believe I never saw this issue before, but I know solutions exist. I’ve been to stores that have a counter that is specifically wheelchair height. Now, I know they are not going to turn every counter into wheelchair height, but every store should have at least ONE counter that is… or have another solution.

They can have a chip and pin that is not wired down that the retailer can bring around and pass to a wheelchair user. A few months back, I was Christmas Shopping, I only had 1 hour to find the perfect present and I don’t move quickly so I hired an electric chair. This was great, I got to visit more shops and I did find that perfect gift.

The tills were not wheelchair friendly, but the cashier had a chip and pin that she bought around to me. The wires and counter combined prevent disabled individuals whose height is affected (through a wheelchair, dwarfism or other) from shopping independently.

Before you go

Did you enjoy this post? Read some more posts by Sophie and follow me on Little Sea Bear. I have had to have a break from posting because of my Master’s but I am back now, so here is the time to get some raw and fresh content.




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