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Problems with prams


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#1 Guest_EBmel_*

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:13 AM

(By Prue Corlette)

Dear posh department store, I really want to spend some money with you. I have twin boys, and being a bit of a fashionista with a weakness for international labels, I’m prepared to spend a bit of cash in your store. With twins, I probably buy twice as much in one shopping expedition as your typical mum with a single child.

Yet I can't navigate my pram – a MacLaren Twin Techno, bought specifically because it’s the narrowest side-by-side available – around your childrenswear department without getting caught on fixtures and knocking display items off their pedestals. I know space is at a premium, but more often than not I end up going home with my wallet still heavy to log on to an online store (usually foreign) to do my shopping there. It really does bewilder, because who else is shopping at 11am on a Tuesday? Look around, retailers; do you see a few mums pushing prams? That's who you need to be designing your stores for. Oh, and it's not just you, posh department store – your not-so-posh competition is hardly better.

Supermarkets. We all shop in them and it could really be one of only three, maybe four, big names. I’ve been loyal to one major brand, but recently decided to give the other mob a go. Usually I grab a trolley and plonk the boys in, but the other day I had the pram and was only going to do a basket shop.

Piled to the left of the entrance were baskets being handed out by a very smiley woman. To the right were buckets of flowers, which were blocking my path. I backed out and tried the left side, manned by the smiling woman. This was blocked by her baskets. She stared at me as I tried to manoeuvre my pram around the baskets. She recoiled when I asked for help, so I called out to the sturdy young blokes busy stocking the fruit and veg section to see if they could assist my stuck pram. Help? It was all they could do to stare right through me. I let them know in my best loud Mad Cat Lady voice that on this day, said supermarket would be missing out on my patronage, then (clumsily and slowly) turned before flouncing off towards the competing supermarket. I'm sure they couldn't give a proverbial, but the attitude made me feel better about creating a scene. Hint: it wasn't Coles.

Next up: pharmacies. By their very nature, pharmacies are the sort of place one expects to be accessible for all. The new breed of warehouse-style chemist carries everything from hearing aids and walking frames to nappies and soft drink. But my visits are becoming less frequent these days, as the aisles become more narrow and cluttered.

The other day I needed to pick up a script from a local pharmacy which has, ironically, rebranded itself as the go-to place for mums. But I couldn't even get through the security sensors at the front of the store, so over-bedecked were they in discount makeup, shower gel and bulk-buy toilet paper rolls. I was with my sister, whose burden is only a single, narrow Bugaboo. She got through the front door, but left an entire tower of cheap plastic sunglasses on the floor in her wake. Take this Mum's Advice and please clean up the clutter.

As for transport, I'm not going to play coy guessing games; I’m naming and shaming Sydney Buses for doing an utterly execrable job. I’ve been through a couple of instances of car trauma this year, and have had to rely on the bus. I don't usually mind – it’s a nice opportunity to get a few pages of a book read, or a chat with the mainly elderly passengers who catch the bus during business hours (and don't they all love twins!). But on one occasion, my own frustration measured barely a blip compared to the woman waiting along with me, who needed an accessible bus because she was in a wheelchair. We waited for more than an hour while the apparently wheelchair and pram-friendly buses sailed past with nary a ramp in sight. I registered my complaint, which I was assured would be followed up, but it never happened.

Of course I’ve saved the best for last. I don't really adore having a pram (love the kids, hate the bulky, heavy, unwieldy appendage) but what’s the alternative? I actually have three prams, each chosen for a specific purpose, so I don't understand why something designed specifically for the prams – a parents room – won’t let any of my prams past the threshold.

There’s a small shopping centre in Sydney's eastern suburbs (not Westfield) whose parents room is down a narrow hall that can only be occupied by one pram and person at a time (that is, if you’re driving a pram and there’s someone walking towards you, they can’t pass). Then the room is so small it won’t allow more than one person in … despite having three change stations. Who designs these things? Obviously not anyone who has ever needed a pram, or a wheelchair, or has even used a set of crutches!

Anyway, please feel free to add your little whinge! I could go on for aeons, but I would love to hear what irks everyone else. Get it off your chest!

#2 Fanny McPhail

Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:14 PM

The worst shop I ever encounter for pram accessibilty was our local Babies Galore. It has now shut down, hmm?! The stock was stacked on the floor and the displays were far too close. It was ridiculous.

The other day my friend (a father of twins) went to change his DD at a the local shopping centre and his twin pram did not fit through the parents room door. His DD was changed in the boot of the car.

I have completely given up on bookshops as they seem to think that the floor is an appropriate shelf and therefore completely impractical with a pram (even my little shopping pram)

I look forward to the day when I not longer have to push a pram but I will miss all the shopping storage, especially while christmas shopping.

#3 ellie bb

Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:32 PM

Thee Randwick Shopping centre has got to be the most under equiped shopping centre for prams, despite having a baby clinic, childrens library and doctors surgery in the centre.  The problem is, these are all both situated on level 1 and there is only 1 tiny lift to accomodate everyone.  The lift can hold a maximum of 2 prams max.  If that wasnt bad enough, the little corridor which leads to the lift is so small, you can only fit one pram down at one time (sigle file style), there isnt even room for 2 people to walk side by side. Many a time, i have been met mid way down the corridor by an elderly lady in a wheelchair or another mum with pram and the trouble it causes trying to reverse backwards into an already packed lift corridor.  

Did i mention the corridor is also used by all the stores to in the centre to stock their goods!


Overall - rediculous!!

Edited by louisebcfc1, 01 August 2012 - 01:35 PM.


#4 Sweetpea11

Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:11 PM

Big W was an unexpected shocker!

I only have a single pram and the wheel base isn't that large either.
I go down the checkout lane to the register ok but right at the end were security detecter panels either side of lane that were positioned much closer together than the actual lane itself. There was no way I could push the pram through to get out and with a queue of people behind me there was no going back either. I had to take one of the rear wheels off the pram and push it through on 3 wheels. Luckily for me the rear wheels come off fairly easily but I don't know what I would have done otherwise!



#5 prue~c

Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for putting up EB Team. I just came in to do it and there it was. Marvellous stuff when I am still dealing with iffy new internet connection.

louisebcfc1 So that shopping centre in the Eastern Suburbs, that isn't Westfield?? You got it girlfriend. Dreadful place isn't it!? No thought whatsoever.

#6 LaurenJJ

Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:56 PM

I only have a single pram for the minute & I too am suffering the same ridiculous aisle-stuffing in stores across South-East Brisbane. I am especially annoyed when other parents allow children to throw toys, skate boards & the like on the shop floor just to leave it there & then certain staff are always too lazy to clean up the hazzard. I have also gone as far as to travel twice the distance to a shopping centre with decently sized car spaces (& adequate parents parking) that also cleans their parents room MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK (yes I'm refering to my local mall & what was confirmed by it's rude managerial staff).    I also abhorr when shops see fit to provide cramped, filthy & stinky facilities to then be subjected to extemely loud music & audio advertising being pumped into an area that is supposed to be for quiet breastfeeding!

#7 dolcengabbana

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:07 PM

Don't even start me on wheelchair accessibility in certain posh and not so posh stores for my spunk rat husband in his manual über sleek titanium and carbon fibre chair. It's a joke he rides the escalators just to freak them out as revenge

#8 whatnamenow

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:17 PM

my favourite is supermarkets where the only checkout you can go through is the wheelchair one...  but its never opened.  Or it is opened and one person races you to it with a trolley full of shopping when you only have a basketfull,  and when there are 6 other checkouts that are empty...


#9 belwu

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:30 PM

Pushing a pram (both single and double) through shops, supermarkets and even around the streets of Newcastle and Sydney has made me become so much more aware of how people in wheelchairs must struggle to get around in day to day life.

#10 FeralAlpacaWarrior

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

On one shopping expedition when my arthritis was especially bad, I hired an electric scooter from centre management. It gave me a whole new perspective on what it must be like for wheelchair users everyday. Shop entrances too narrow, displays poorly placed or flimsy enough to fall if slightly bumped. Even getting in and out of the disabled toilet was a drama. What the?! Those toilets are supposed to be designed to be easier for people in chairs and scooters!

#11 tilley1019

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:47 PM

There is a lovely baby shop in SE Melbourne that I am yet to venture into because the lift is broken and the entrance is up 12 steps. Their loss, I would have spent lots of money in it if only I could have got in the door!

#12 Bam1

Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:55 PM

QUOTE (lovealpacas @ 01/08/2012, 10:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On one shopping expedition when my arthritis was especially bad, I hired an electric scooter from centre management. It gave me a whole new perspective on what it must be like for wheelchair users everyday. Shop entrances too narrow, displays poorly placed or flimsy enough to fall if slightly bumped. Even getting in and out of the disabled toilet was a drama. What the?! Those toilets are supposed to be designed to be easier for people in chairs and scooters!


That's why I don't get all these white whines about some inconvenience with prams, it is just a short period of time that we need to use then - yes even with twins, yet for the disabled it can be everyday for a lifetime with little alternatives. I wish the OP would've have focused her blog on the importance of better accessability for the disabled and then we parents can then just be grateful that this makes it easier for us too.

#13 MummaDiva

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:00 PM

I specifically bought a stroller that is designed such that it will fit just about anywhere, and keep a sling handy for using on public transport / places where even the stroller can not go.
I also have challenges parking, so therefore bought a little zippy car rather than a 4WD.

I would hate to have to use a wheelchair though.  Some places are ridiculously inaccessible.

#14 Pooks Combusted

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:04 PM

Ok, to me the worst thing is ladies toilets that you can't navigate a pram through when there are other people there too, then there's like one 'parents ' loo for the whole centre and a queue of busting toddlers crossing their legs, and you gotta go, thanks to the weak pelvic floor muscles... Ahhhh why is there a narrow walkway between a wall of basins and a row of loos with doors that open outwards, we are all tripping over each other anyway then here comes me with a pram.

Last time I was there, I waited for the far cubicle to be free, then as I pushed the pram along the walkway yelled out 'don't come out of the loo just now, I'm taking a pram along here!' and then 'ok you're safe!' and then I weed with the door wide open as I couldn't close it with the pram in the way, but I was so busting I didn't care that people could see my flabby white ass hanging off the side of the toilet seat.

Then I realized I wasn't just busting...

Oh dear.

#15 FeralAlpacaWarrior

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:18 PM

QUOTE (Bam1 @ 01/08/2012, 10:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's why I don't get all these white whines about some inconvenience with prams, it is just a short period of time that we need to use then - yes even with twins, yet for the disabled it can be everyday for a lifetime with little alternatives. I wish the OP would've have focused her blog on the importance of better accessability for the disabled and then we parents can then just be grateful that this makes it easier for us too.

Yeah it really opened my eyes. Some of the disabled toilets had 'normal' toilet doors, so they were near impossible to open when in the scooter. They either opened inwards, so I had to use the scooter to barge the door open, or if they opened outwards then I actually had to get out of the chair to pull it open, what if I had been a paraplegic who couldn't get out of my chair?!

I now religiously take a sticky beak at cars in the disabled car spaces whenever I walk past them. I haven't come across one parked there without a permit yet, but heaven help the person I see who does the wrong thing, my wrath will have no bounds! Getting access to one of those spaces can mean the difference between getting to the shops or having to turn around and go home again, for some people.

Anyway, as you were. Yes prams can be a PITA, that's why I got rid of my Strider.

#16 heffalumpsnwoozles

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:43 PM

QUOTE (Bam1 @ 01/08/2012, 10:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's why I don't get all these white whines about some inconvenience with prams, it is just a short period of time that we need to use then - yes even with twins, yet for the disabled it can be everyday for a lifetime with little alternatives. I wish the OP would've have focused her blog on the importance of better accessability for the disabled and then we parents can then just be grateful that this makes it easier for us too.

Yes, but to be fair, it is a blog on a parenting site, not a disability site.

I do think the difficulties encountered when using a pram give some tiny insight into what it must be like for a person in a wheelchair. I've carried my Maclaren (complete with baby) up stairs to get to a train platform before because there is no lift or ramp at that station. I realise I am lucky to have the option. A wheelchair user would have to go to a different station.

My local station now is the only one in the area with a dedicated car park for commuters. There are even bays for disabled permit holders. But no lift or ramp to the platform. So they can park there, but then they can't use the train. shrug.gif I keep meaning to get my act together and write a scathing letter.

#17 D-nuts

Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:53 PM

There are a number of PITA shops around here, but the one I really don't understand is a reasonably new center, where the parents room is right beside the disabled toilet. The parents room has a button to automatically open the door, this button is at just the right height for a toddler to push, isnt the point of the door to contain the kids?

but thats not the worst thing. The worst thing is that the parents room has a button, and the disabled toilet has a heavy door that must be swung open. wtf? If you can only put in one auto-door, give it to the people who need it.

Like a PP, pushing a pram has opened my eyes to the issues disabled people face. Town planners and public building designers should be required to travel around with a pram or a wheelchair for a couple of months before they are allowed to design anything.

#18 Bam1

Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:09 AM

QUOTE (heffalumpsnwoozles @ 01/08/2012, 11:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, but to be fair, it is a blog on a parenting site, not a disability site.


Yes and disabled people are parents/children too and as always in these sorts of threads the OP is trying to win her argument over why things should be perfect for her and her pram, she has brought the disabled into it, as she knows that what she is whining about is pretty petty otherwise.

Edited by Bam1, 02 August 2012 - 09:10 AM.


#19 dolcengabbana

Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE (lovealpacas @ 01/08/2012, 11:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I now religiously take a sticky beak at cars in the disabled car spaces whenever I walk past them. I haven't come across one parked there without a permit yet, but heaven help the person I see who does the wrong thing, my wrath will have no bounds!


Just a friendly reminder that some people park in an accessible parking bay and some people don't like to advertise that they may have a disability so only put the acrod  permit on display once parked.

My husband and I often get pointed at, yelled at, sworn at, a lecture and it often doesn't stop until my husband assembles his wheelchair or I grab it front the rear of the car, place it at his door, he then pops the pass on display transfers from seat to chair usually as the driver as we have hand controls in all of our vehicles both the 4wd and the SS wagon. The last place we got abused and harrassed was a dan murphy car park by the security guard. Can't even buy a bottle of wine without getting hassled over a parking spot that he is entitled to use when available.

Give people a chance! disAbilities come in all forms, short tall, fat and thin, young and old don't judge til you are certain. If someone is parked in the last accessible bay with no permit I politely ask them if they have one if they don't I ask them to move and explain why as my Hubbie does need the park it would mean a lot to us if they didn't unnecessarily use it without the required permit.



It is lovely to see that the access issues are coming to light in some many people. The more that are aware the more small changes will happen and make life that little bit easier for people like my husband.

Off my high horse.. we come across this alot but the fact you are looking out is heartwarming.

ETA - We are parents my husband is a stepparent with a disability and we are tryign for number 2 imagine if this IVF works and we are managing with a pram and a wheelchair we are increasing our accessibility woes albeit happily.

Edited by dolcengabbana, 02 August 2012 - 09:29 AM.


#20 Fourteenyears

Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:57 AM

QUOTE
Yes and disabled people are parents/children too and as always in these sorts of threads the OP is trying to win her argument over why things should be perfect for her and her pram, she has brought the disabled into it, as she knows that what she is whining about is pretty petty otherwise.


You sound like a charming bundle of joy. And a bit of a twit.  Why do you think the needs of parents of small children don't count?  Because it's "just a few years?"  Unless you're suggesting that they remain housebound for those years, what on earth does duration have to do with it?

Not being able to get a bus - just not petty.  Whether you're a parent with two babies in a pram, a person in a wheelchair, or a person who has difficulty getting on a bus without a ramp, you RELY on the accessible busses coming as scheduled.  When the timetable says the bus will be accessable and you plan your doctor's appointments/day care drop off/ etc around that, then Sydney busses sends yet another inaccessable bus, it's not petty.  It is at best, spectacularly and unnecessarily inconvenient given that it shouldn't be rocket science to match the type of bus provided to the type of bus that is promised on the schedule.

My local bus route travels between railway stations and a major hospital.  The sort where you wait months for your appointment.  When accessible bus after accessible bus fails to turn up, what are these folk supposed to do exactly?  And parents trying to drop kids off and get to work on time?  It's not like getting a taxi is an alternative when you're travelling with small children.

And on the shopping issue, perhaps you spend too much time trying to poke holes in other people's arguments and not enough time watching the news, but at least one of the retailers referred to above has recently issued a profit warning and is becrying the loss of business to online stores.  

Clearly it needs to be said that part of the reason for this is because they are making it physically impossible for a large chunk of their demographic to shop there.

Edited by Sevenyears, 02 August 2012 - 09:58 AM.


#21 dolcengabbana

Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:24 AM

QUOTE (Isabelle Thomas @ 02/08/2012, 10:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
To be fair she said she looks at parked cars so your pass would be in the window BUT yes you can be polite about asking if they have a pass for that spot.


I completely agree and noted what was written all I was trying to get across was again a friendly reminder for people to be polite and give a person a chance to explain if they are entitled to park there and it was because of the following wording.

"but heaven help the person I see who does the wrong thing, my wrath will have no bounds! "

You see people have let loose with there wrath on us before realising what our situation is and its devastating to the person living with a disAbility or being the carer/lover of the person with a disAbility. It ruins your day, it hurts its another slap in the face.

#22 Azadel

Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (Sevenyears @ 02/08/2012, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You sound like a charming bundle of joy. And a bit of a twit.  Why do you think the needs of parents of small children don't count?  Because it's "just a few years?"  Unless you're suggesting that they remain housebound for those years, what on earth does duration have to do with it?

Not being able to get a bus - just not petty.  Whether you're a parent with two babies in a pram, a person in a wheelchair, or a person who has difficulty getting on a bus without a ramp, you RELY on the accessible busses coming as scheduled.  When the timetable says the bus will be accessable and you plan your doctor's appointments/day care drop off/ etc around that, then Sydney busses sends yet another inaccessable bus, it's not petty.  It is at best, spectacularly and unnecessarily inconvenient given that it shouldn't be rocket science to match the type of bus provided to the type of bus that is promised on the schedule.

My local bus route travels between railway stations and a major hospital.  The sort where you wait months for your appointment.  When accessible bus after accessible bus fails to turn up, what are these folk supposed to do exactly?  And parents trying to drop kids off and get to work on time?  It's not like getting a taxi is an alternative when you're travelling with small children.

And on the shopping issue, perhaps you spend too much time trying to poke holes in other people's arguments and not enough time watching the news, but at least one of the retailers referred to above has recently issued a profit warning and is becrying the loss of business to online stores.  

Clearly it needs to be said that part of the reason for this is because they are making it physically impossible for a large chunk of their demographic to shop there.


cclap.gif

There's really nothing I can say to improve on this post. Accessibility and reliable services for all should be the goal. When a PND suffering friend whose isolation exacerbating her condition tells of waiting fifty minutes for the timetabled-every-fifteen-minutes accessible bus, then giving up and going home in tears, that's not "petty".

#23 StopTheGoats

Posted 04 August 2012 - 10:58 AM

It's a real shame to hear about your experience on Sydney buses. I've always had an excellent experience however my route uses 100% wheelchair accessible buses. I look forward to the day when all the buses have been upgraded.

#24 Mel.Bell

Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:44 PM

Am I the only one who doesn't have any dificulties with my pram? It's a tiny one that is smaller than a shopping trolley so of course it can fit anywhere (Kmart, Coles, Myer, Woolies ANYWHERE!!!). It has a basket down the bottom where I keep some food for the kids just in case & I have a small backpack attached to the back of the stroller for my wallet, nappy, wipes & spare clothes.

I have a huge 3 wheeler jogger (Mother's Choice with toddler seat attached) but I only ever use this when I go walking/running. I would NEVER take it with me anywhere as I can barely put it into the boot of my station wagon.

I am sick of seeing massive prams for tiny babies & I am a mother of two & we survive with a small stroller. The world doesn't resolve around 4WD prams rolleyes.gif

#25 hiccamups

Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:54 PM

So true OP.  I have a fairly narrow wheel base pram but still struggle to navigate many smaller stores.  I'm always amazed at the lack of accommodating mothers (and obviously wheelchairs) given the fact that women (and therefore Mothers) are typically our big spenders.

It astounds me.




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