Shopping can be stressful for disabled people. These 6 tips can help immensely.

Shopping for that perfect outfit can be an ordeal. But for a lot of disabled people, it can be downright hellish.

In fact, many folks will opt to shop online because of the inaccessibility and ableism they often encounter in-store.

In 2014, Trailblazers, UK-based disability rights campaign, interviewed a group of 100 disabled people between the ages of 16 and 30. According to the report, three-quarters of the respondents said they feel coerced into shopping online due to the limited accessibility at stores. In fact, two-thirds said that a place's physical accessibility determines whether they will visit it or go somewhere else.


But it's not just accessibility that makes a shopping experience unpleasant for disabled: About half of respondents say retail workers' attitudes dissuade them from returning to a store.

Millions of people around the world are physically disabled, which deserves better attention and awareness.

On June 26, Frances Ryan, a disability rights journalist, took to Twitter to address some of the obstacles people with disabilities deal with just to go shopping. "What would make clothes shopping more accessible for you?" she asked. "Are there any shops you particularly love for getting it right?"

Her tweet received hundreds of replies. Here's a few of their suggestions:

1. Make fitting rooms accessible.

A lot of disabled people either use wheelchairs and/or need a relative or caretaker to help them try on clothes. Larger fitting rooms would give the space they need to figure out whether that sundress or trousers are worth buying.

In addition to creating more space, some simple adjustments could also be made: hooks to hang canes on, grab bars, and/or more seats, to help prevent toppling over when trying on things like jeans.

2. Lower the checkout counter.

High checkout counters can make a simple purchase extremely difficult for wheelchair users. Some stores have recognized this issue and made adjustments: The UK clothing company Primark, for example, offers a checkout counter for disabled shoppers.

3. Keep the sales floor clear of clothes or accessories.

This is something able-bodied shoppers and retail workers can help out with. If the floor's covered with dropped clothes or boxes of product, it gets in the way of shoppers who use wheelchairs, canes, motorized shopping carts, or any other mobility device. That's an added — and completely unnecessary — hassle.

4. Offering at-home try-ons for online shoppers.

Making online purchases can be anything but fruitful, since clothes often fit awkwardly or are the wrong size altogether. The return process can be hectic and stressful, too, when there are limited time periods for returns and refunds.

One way retailers can minimize this frustration is to follow MM.LaFleur's example: Ship items for an in-home try-on before purchasing.

5. Include disabled models in advertisements and online stores.

While inclusivity is important, featuring both ambulatory and wheelchair-using disabled models provides a realistic depiction of the items available for purchase. Beyonce's "Formation" athleisure line featured a wheelchair user in her online store — that's how it's done.

6. Offer more detailed descriptions of items.

Many blind and low-vision people navigate the internet using text-to-speech apps or screen readers. Providing more details — from the specific color to the style of a dress — would allow them to make more well-informed and accurate purchases.

These are just a few ways that stores can make shopping a little bit easier for disabled shoppers.

But the onus is not just on companies and retail workers. It's easy for able-bodied people to take the little things for granted, but speaking up and advocating for accessibility is something that we should all take part in.

Whether that's by writing letters to theaters to screen movies with subtitles or suggesting a store manager add seating and grab bars in the fitting rooms, every bit of help can go a long way.

More
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular