How-to: Shopping in a Wheelchair

Love it or hate it, 'tis the season for shopping! Between black Friday and last minute Christmas Eve deals, sales are too good to pass up, right? But the daunting task of encountering those insane, pushy crowds may seem too much if you use a wheelchair. However, there are lots of wheelchair-users who are undeterred, and have no problem whatsoever getting up at 3am to get the best deals at 5am, or navigating the masses of people.

You may think these people are nuts, but shopping in a wheelchair is an important skill! There's a lot to learn from those who have already mastered it, and it's not just about asking for help. There are a few other important things you need to know to get the whole wheelchair-shopping thing down pat, like how to push a shopping cart and get things off shelves. Check out our three in-depth wheelchair-shopping videos below.

2013-12-24-Picture1.pngOur first video comes from a paraplegic going shopping after his spinal cord injury. After a quick heart-to-heart with his camera, he films himself as he shops at Home Depot. It's a fun video. He zooms around store having fun with his kid, and he shows how to get something off of the top shelf without asking for help. He has great energy. Check it out yourself!

2013-12-24-shopping.pngOur second video is of an adorable 20-something paraplegic who loves to shop. In her video she has her friend film her as she shows how she pushes a shopping cart from her manual wheelchair. She has a great technique too; it's all in the swing of the hips, and boy is it awesome! Once she gets going, her momentum continues and she's able to push the cart. gotta love this girl's sass! Watch her do her thing (and then stop because Wal-Mart employees tell her no recording in the store).

Our third video comes from a C6 quadriplegic from Ann-Harbor, Michigan, and he shows something that's not very easy at all - shopping from your wheelchair in the winter. Michigan's winters are known to be pretty frigid, but he won't be stopped. Hey, a quad's gotta eat too!

2013-12-24-Picture2.pngThis video is particularly useful because it shows the entire process, from getting ready in the house and exiting his van to getting things off the shelf at the store completely on his own. He's also wearing thick mittens 75% of this time he's grabbing stuff, which is quite impressive considering he can't move his fingers. It's not easy, but he shows you how it's done. Watch his thorough shopping trip.

Love it or hate it, shopping is a necessity of life, even more so around the holidays. Just remember the following whenever you go out to get your shopping on - have fun, and don't let anyone or their staring bug you. Shopping can be a blast from a chair. No one should ever ruin your shine!

What are your best tricks for shopping in a wheelchair?

Support SPINALpedia in the Crowdrise Holiday Challenge by donating here!

Learn how SPINALpedia is changing the way people adapt to life with paralysis: