Shopping cart

The Shopping Basket Theory Encourages Disability Bias

About a year ago my sister and I went to a craft store. Upon entering, I instinctively wanted to direct the shopping cart, an offer my able-bodied friends and acquaintances often appreciate.

But before I could get a full sentence out of my mouth, I remembered that both my sister and me to have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). As CMT users, we cherish the opportunity to hold the cart during particularly long runs.

For many CMT users, carts are not bulky burdens that keep us from moving freely through aisles. Instead, for many of us in the disability community, carts are a welcome way to get extra support while blending in. In fact, carts are so popular in our community that many of us gravitate towards them even if we only pick up a handful of things at the store.

Thus, when discussions about a “Shopping basket theory” became social media trend, this memory came to my mind. While I agree with the sentiment of the theory, I cannot stand behind its encouragement of bias and its narrow-minded assumption that we live in a world where everyone is equally privileged and capable.

For those unfamiliar with the viral shopping cart theory, she claims that flipping a shopping cart is a good litmus test of a person’s character. The logic being that if someone meets a societal expectation that has few rewards or punishments, a person is demonstrating that they are capable of some level of autonomy.

Although elements of this “theory” are not really newthe now-viral post continues that if a person abandons their basket after using it, they are “no better than an animal, an absolute savage who cannot be done with what is right except by the threat of a law and the force that stands behind it.

Now, while that statement may be a little hyperbolic for humor’s sake, it illustrates the disdain that some people with disabilities fear they will face when they cannot return their shopping carts – whether due to fatigue or pain or a multitude of other possible causes. the reasons.

Certainly, abandoning carts in the parking lot is not a trivial thing. The accessibility of shopping malls and the burden of retail workers are multi-faceted issues.

Abandoning carts does not make retail jobs easier and does not provide job security for retail workers. I understand that many people who confront others who leave their shopping cart in the parking lot are generally well-meaning people looking to help retail workers and other shoppers.

And yet, while I think working to make shopping malls more user-friendly and accessible to both the disability community and retail workers is worth discussing, whether or not we should strive to act with empathy and be slow to judge others, this is not the case. It is in this aspect that the shopping basket theory fails.

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