My CNA took me to Michael’s craft store where a few people decided to make things difficult for us. The company recently added an electric cart for disabled people, however, both times I used the carts my CNA and I were immediately jumped by the manager.
The first time we were approached rough was when the cart was plugged in by an office. My CNA unplugged it to bring to me. The manager acted like we were trying to steal it. She came out and physical grabbed the cart to ask what we were trying to do! I told her I was just trying to shop. She said ok then said they usually ask for it not to go outside but it’ll be ok if my CNA picks me up at the sidewalk then brings it back in. Keep in mind, I was sitting in my wheelchair inside the store. My CNA is trying to come to me inside the store with the electric cart when the manager came out of her office, physically put her hands on the cart and asked my CNA what she was doing. Where are you going? What are you doing? I’m inside the store which means I’m shopping.
Then she told us despite the sign, I can be picked up at the curb as long as the CNA brings it back. That was all last time. Using the cart today should have been fine, but nope.
I was in the car, at the curb. I was close enough to the door that I could hear and see the manager. The manager got in front of the electric cart and told my CNA she couldn’t take the cart to me outside. The CNA reminded her that we were told that I could be picked up at the curb, right in front of the door. So she tells the lady that she’s a caregiver and I’m her client. The manager settled down and let my CNA pass to pick me up at the curb.
The way the manager reacted to the CNA was over the top and accusatory. We know full well you’re allowed to take the cart to the curb. You can take it to the sidewalk and have a person bring it back in. Smh
As we shopped we had three employees openly following us. I said, it’s almost like they see color and stop thinking.
Several minutes later one of the people openly following us was crossing our path with those rolling staircases. This being the Midwest, and since we were that close, someone had to speak during the social collision. The employee politely said, Are you finding everything you’re looking for?….. My CNA snarled back, “No! And you don’t need to know what I want or what I’m looking for!” It shocked me and the employee.
I intervened and told my CNA to please stop letting words come out of her mouth. I told the employee that I was sorry for that interaction, then I went back with my CNA, who had left the scene of the accident. Lol
As we shopped I was deeply saddened that a trip to the craft store had turned so bad. I understand the CNA didn’t appreciate getting jumped by the manager for doing what clients are allowed to do, go to the curb. I too was hurt inside by being followed. I mean, you know that feeling you get when something is so wrong that you just want to say, look, I’ve done nothing wrong. Why are you acting this way?
That feeling is vulnerable. That feeling is degrading. It’s degrading because the accusation is pretty rough. We were followed by 3 people so openly because we’re that color. We’re the color that makes people stop thinking clearly.
When my CNA snapped at the employee it gave me an opportunity to play peace maker. When we went to the checkout I talked to that employee. I told them to have a manageable day. I said, the world has changed so much that I don’t expect to have a good day. We both kind of chuckled. I said, We never know what to expect. People are so angry.” I said, “It makes it hard to know who to trust.” That comment made a difference. It was like we broke a bit of a barrier there for just a second.
In all truthfulness, I believe this person followed my CNA and me because the supervisor requested it, the second employee, too. However, no such thing can be said for the supervisor. She decided to stop thinking when she saw color.
Imagine that! Imagine losing reasoning ability because of someone else’s color. Imagine not being able to accurately judge threat levels because you see someone of color. Imagine being so closed to the community that it never crossed the manager’s mind that we just wanted a fun day at the craft store. Why does my color make you stupid?
Michael’s craft store doesn’t even prosecute unless you take a printer or dye cutting machine. They don’t prosecute general shoplifting so why were they on us so hard over merchandise we were willing to pay for?
My anxiety for going out remains high. I worry regularly about getting shot.