Private and Public Policy Reviews for the Disabled

Wood Village Wal-Mart Revisited

By Stephen Rex Goode, BSW

Since publishing my original review of the Wal-Mart in Wood Village, Oregon, I have a little more to say. My review was mostly positive, and I still hold that view. However, I’ve noticed a flaw that is becoming more important to me as my mobility wanes.

The problem is in the motorized shopping carts. I don’t know how many there are, but the last three times I’ve been there, there have been none available. The last time I was there, there was one on the west entrance that was plugged in to recharge it. The attendant there said that there were three others on the east side in the same state.

I appreciate any store that has a supply of these carts. I don’t generally need one in smaller stores where I’ll be in and out. I can usually lean on a shopping cart and use it like a walker. A large store like this Wal-Mart requires that I be able to be off of my feet. It helps to have the benches, but they need more of those too.

Another problem is something that Wal-Mart can’t do much about. It’s the problem of people using them who probably don’t really need them. I know of one man who just thinks they’re fun and likes the idea that people think he’s disabled as to mobility. He is disabled, but developmentally. He likes the kind of attention that driving a cart brings from sales people.

I’m the opposite. I really don’t want to ride around in one. People won’t get out of your way. Stores stuff their aisles so full that you can’t maneuver to a lot of things, especially in clothing sections. The carts are slow, necessarily.

Once, a woman came rushing up behind me pushing her regular shopping cart. She said she was trying to catch up to me to give me her card. She sells mobility devices and offered to help me get my insurance to pay for one. I appreciated her offer, but I really don’t want to draw that kind of attention. I’m not likely to get one from my insurance company, because most of the time I can walk the minimum of ten feet on my own.

I don’t really think that stores like Wal-Mart can do much about people using mobility devices when they don’t need them. I don’t think they should go around asking people if they really need the carts they’re using.

I recommend that this Wal-Mart get a few more of these carts. There have been several times that I’ve thought to go buy something I needed at that store and decided not to because I believed there wouldn’t be a cart for me to drive.

I might not even need the electric cart if there were more benches where I could rest. I think it’s great that they have these benches. They need more.

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