Do you have a favourite supermarket? I do, it’s Tesco. I like my Clubcard points, we’ve bought tickets to Longleat Safari Park, Stenaline tickets and an iPod with Clubcard Boost over the years. I worked in Tesco during my University days and my staff shares helped furnish my first home (I’m glad I sold them when I did). The money off petrol each month is also a help. But and it’s a big BUT I very rarely actually go into a Tesco store. Why? Because my son is in a wheelchair.
If I do venture into a store with Daniel in his wheelchair, I’ve always found Tesco staff very helpful (maybe I’m biased as I was one for 4 years). They’ll go and get me items, help me pack and even offer to help me out to the car. However, the most I am able to buy on any one visit with Daniel is one or at a push two bags worth of items. It’s not easy pushing a wheelchair, keeping Daniel’s 4 year old brother under control and carrying a basket. Daniel is now too big for a standard trolley, with his super long, wiggly legs I can’t lift him high enough and guide his legs into the seat. One basket is never going to feed a family of four for a week. This means l have two options - I can go the shops every day or I can shop online. I think that’s part of the reason why I stick to Tesco - it’s easy, my online list is set up. It’s a pain going somewhere new and starting a new online list! It’s OK shopping online, but it would be nice to have the choice.
So when I heard the news that Sainsbury’s had purchased 600 GoTo Shops, which provide a larger seat for children with special needs, including a five point harness, lateral support and an open front for ease of transfer my first thought was ‘Aww - I wish it was Tesco.’ But, I was determined to have a go and last Tuesday I headed out to do my first weekly shop at Sainsbury’s with Daniel in tow. So what did I think? Well more importantly, what did Daniel think? He was very happy and comfortable in the GoTo Shop, it gave him just the support he needed.
He happily allowed me to wander up and down each aisle doing my shopping - just like any other family across the UK. It was really lovely to involve him in something that is seen as a chore - it was a whole new sensory experience for him touching different items and packages, lots of lights and noises and people stopping to talk to him. I also met a friend, we stopped to have a chat - this reminded me of the social experience that shopping is! I would say that the trolley is slightly smaller than a standard trolley, but this just made me choose more carefully. It is slightly different to push than a standard trolley but I soon got the hang of it. There’s only one of them so you’re reliant on it being available at the time you choose to go shopping. In most stores the trolley is kept at the Customer Services desk so this may cause difficulty in getting it out to your car - the last thing you want to do it get your child out of the car into their wheelchair/buggy just to find the trolley - but with most supermarkets there is usually staff in the car park collecting trolleys who are available to help.
So all in all - it was a lovely experience! Sitting up nice and tall in front of me - I got lots of eye contact and chatter from Daniel which was an added bonus. Now that I have tried it and it was a success,Tesco may just have lost a customer…
Have you used a GoTo Shop in a Sainsbury’s store? Why not review it and support our Campaign to get these trolleys into every store by clicking here. We want every family with a child who has special needs to have the opportunity to shop where and when they want - with your support we can get a GoTo Shop in every supermarket making it a fun family experience for everyone. To find out more about The GoTo Shop Campaign, click here to join our Campaign today
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