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Thread: Margate Pet Shop owner told me I am not allowed in her shop in my wheelchair

  1. #31
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    Last week my Mum and me met-up with the Mayor of Margate and visited the owner of the Paw Prince Pet Shop to discuss wheelchair access. Prior to this the Mayor had gone to the shop to advise the owner that we would be calling in at 3pm. The Mayor said that the owner was in a better mood this time and so was hopeful that we could resolve our issues. However, when we arrived at the pet shop there was a man behind the counter who became very angry and began shouting and using aggressive language during our discussions and we were unable to reason with him or the owner. The owner just kept repeating that I should "park" myself in the corner of the shop as her other disabled, and pushchair customers do, and I would be served from there.
    The shop layout had been changed a little but I still couldn't get to the counter as there there were three, 12"x10" plastic bags of parrot seeds laid end to end along the floor in front of the access to the counter and when we suggested that if the bags were moved to the empty shelf above, there would be access for my wheelchair, the man shouted that if he moved the parrot food, his parrot customers wouldn't know where to find it, my Mum pointed out that the parrot seed should be "parked in the corner", then there would be room for wheelchairs to access the counter, but this suggestion made him even more irate.
    My Mum believes the parrot seeds were laid on the floor as a deliberate wheelchair obstruction, so that they can continue to say "there is no room in their shop for wheelchairs"!
    My Mum said they were breaking the law by not allowing wheelchair access, the man then accused her of moving "fixtures and fittings", she replied she could not have done this without tools, he shouted her down. The Mayor tried to calm him and told him that we had to find a compromise, he became enraged. The Mayor told him to stop shouting in front of me as it was not a good thing because I'd had a Stroke, but he continued shouting so much that he frightened and embarrassed me, so I sat outside the shop in my wheelchair. The Mayor and my Mum also had to leave the shop too because of his hostility to any further suggestions. My Mum said that she found it was a frightening experience and we were both glad that the Mayor was with us, or who knows what might have happened
    Since this happened, my Mum has written again to our MP Laura Sandys, saying that we haven't heard from the Chief Exec of Thanet District Council that she appointed to assist us back in October. My Mum also said in her letter; "We need someone who can help us as we do not know how or to proceed further with this, and she asked "Why can people treat disabled people and their carers in this way and get away with it? We are told the law is on our side, but my daughter is not able to take this shop on in court." And my Mum added, "Please, is there anyway that you can help my daughter to find an accredited representative to champion her human rights". ........We are waiting for a reply.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    I am angry at this, I really am. You are fighting back, remember that. I still suggest the Media, or one of those TV programmes on companies, peoples' rights, etc. They might help you. You may even find some solicitor or disabled charity may take up your case.

    I think he reaction shows how dangerous that place is. They need bringing to book, they really do. All shops move their stock, we all know this. We go in one week, the next week we go in it is all changed, go in the week after it has been moved again. Shops do this to get us to buy more. There is no excuse not to move this seed bags, people want something then they ask where it is. Blocking any public area is a criminal offense. It may even bee a breach of fire regulations. It is a breach of Health & Safety ones. You should report them for that alone.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Stephen

  3. #33
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    The Disability Discrimination Act applies as well as the Human Rights Act, they need to treat all the customers the same and make any reasonable adjustments to make the work place (sales, services etc) accessible for everyone. I take it she at least has a ramp at the door? I'd take papers and TV and radio chances to bring this to light as it's a shocking story. If you hate media publicity then simply tell as many people the story as you can and ask them to tell it to everyone they know locally. Word of mouth is a great means of targetting any business, it may take a few months but slowly her business will start to drop away!

  4. #34
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    People like that really infuriate me. They don't have a clue how difficult life can be for us.
    I must stress that I'm NOT a policeman or a lawyer, but I believe you're well within your rights to take legal action against him. He has no right to make such remarks and is breaking the law by being discriminatary. We need to make a stand against people like him. We are human beings and not bags of rubbish.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    The problem with taking legal action now is you have to pay for it all up front. It is suppose to be a criminal offence too, so the police should help. Other Council & government agencies should help too, to enforce these laws as they have a legal requirement to, but as always it is said to be a civil matter.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Stephen

  6. #36
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    My Mum has just received a letter for our MP Laura Sandys, she didn't make any mention of why we haven't heard from the Chief Exec of Thanet District Council, whom she appointed to assist us back in October. However, she "thanked my Mum for her recent email which she read with great concern ", and she said that "she had forwarded our correspondence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and asked them to their advice and assistance on this matter". She also added " she would be in touch with any correspondence she receives". We just hope that because Laura Sandys is an MP, she receives a bit more interest and even possibly some assistance from the EHRC than my Mum did when when she wrote to them when this incident in the Pet shop first happened. The EHRC's reply was that they are only an information service and the information they sent to my Mum was about Part 3 of the Equality Act, which states that, it is unlawful for anyone providing a service to the public in the U.K. to fail to make a reasonable adjustment without justification to the physical features of their premises if a disabled person finds it impossible or unreasonably difficult to access those premises. The EHRC' also added, if we did take an action against the Paw Prince Pet Shop owner, we could only do this within 6 months from the complaint.
    I have speech difficulties so I cannot "spread the word about this shop". My Mum is trying to get this out for lots of people to read, she has been writing a blog about the owner of the Pet Shop but has only had a handful of comments, she has her blog link next to her signature on her emails and her facebook page and some of her friends are reading it, however, she also has to write to Yourable on my behalf and this has been the best, as I have received lots of support from other members. She has tried other disability sites for me but all have ignored what she has written .... but once they have her email address, she gets lots of newsletters and requests for money from them.

  7. #37
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    First, you can spread the word. Use email to contact the Media. They are not all demons & would understand any speech limits you have. It is a shame some are not talking this seriously, including officials. You do need to get the word out more if anyone it so help you fight on this.
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    Stephen

  8. #38
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    Try asking the council if they have an access officer who deals with access issues, they may be able to get involved, but I would also recommend speaking with Scope as well.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    action speak louder than words - direct action is needed

    Well you've tried the diplomatic solution now you need direct action.

    I think a little demonstration outside his shop is called for to attract attention. A number of wheelchair users carrying placards and chanting 'access for disabled people denied here' or something more catchy. Arrange a time for your local press to arrive with photographer.

    You can shame this shop into acting.

    There are groups of activists who may help swell your numbers. Have you ever heard of DAN?

    http://www.facebook.com/DirectActionNetwork

    http://www.patient-experience.com/in...ction-network/

    Good luck!!

  10. #40
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    I have added DAN to my something on FB, lol. Always nice to know such people are about.
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    Stephen

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