Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Going Shopping with Mom

by Donna J. Jodhan

Going shopping with mom is always a very special occasion for me. You see, she is not just mom; she is my shopping buddy, my eyes, and my best friend. She knows exactly how to interact with me and how to make my shopping trip a joy, rather than a chore. For I can tell you this! Going shopping with a blind person can either turn out to be a nightmare or a joy, it all depends on who is taking you shopping.

For those who have little or no experience with taking a blind person shopping, here is how mom does it. I take her arm and she gently but firmly guides me through the mall; describing things as we walk. She describes the people passing by, tells me the names of stores, and if I am interested in any of them as we walk by, we stroll inside for a visit. If it is a clothing store, mom and I visit each rack and she tells me what is on each rack. If it is a shoe store, we do the same and if it is a supermarket then the fun really starts!

In stores, mom takes her time to describe the merchandise in detail. She tells me the colors of things, describes the shapes of clothing and shoes, and if I am interested in something, she takes the object of interest off the rack and we go to the fitting room to try it on. Mom gives me her opinion of how it looks on me; whether or not the color suits me or if it fits me well. I trust her totally to tell me how things look. It helps a lot that I was able to see at one time,so as she describes things, I picture them in my mind.

Shopping in stores is a two way street, when mom chooses things, she allows me to use my sense of touch to help her decide if something would be what she may or may not like. I am unable to help her with colors of course, but I can tell if clothing fits her by touching her shoulders if it is a sweater, blouse, or jacket, and feeling the length of skirts and coats. If it is a pair of shoes that she is trying on, then she allows me to use my fingers to make sure that her toes are not too close to the tips of the shoes. For handbags and purses, she places them in my hands and I can feel the shape and give my opinion.

Shopping in the supermarket is not much different for mom and me. She describes what's on the shelves, tells me the prices, and places produce and packaged meat in my hands so that I can get an idea of what she is describing. We always have fun doing this because we both love shopping at the supermarket.

So there you have it; shopping in a different way but getting the job done in style.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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