A BLIND woman has been left humiliated and feeling “absolutely useless” after Clintons card store staff ignored her during a Christmas shop.
Mehreen Akhtar, 26, said she was “absolutely fuming” when staff at the popular card shop in Huddersfield addressed her mother instead of her.
Mehreen Akhtar said she felt ‘hurt, angry and incapable’ when Clintons card store staff ignored herCredit: MEN Media
Mehreen was at the Clintons shop in Huddersfield with her motherCredit: Alamy
Despite making it clear that she was visually impaired and asking them to hand her belongings back to her during the December 14 purchase, the staff completely ignored her and acted as though she was not there.
Posting about her experience on a local Facebook group, the mum-of-one said: “Absolutely fuming with today’s Clinton’s experience in Kingsgate shopping centre, Huddersfield.
“I popped my own shopping on the counter whilst propping my white cane against my body, my left arm linked through my mum’s who was with me.
“I produced my own Blue Light card and my own bank card from my own purse. I asked the lady all by myself: ‘Do you want to see my photo ID? Can I put my Blue Light Card back in yet?’
“The lady responded so I let her see them both and after around 40 seconds I asked her: ‘Please could you give them to me when you’ve finished?’ She replied ‘Yes’ while writing something down.
“She then left my passport on the counter so my mum gave it to me in my hand to return to my own purse. I asked ‘Where’s my card?’, the lady simply replied ‘it’s there’.
“She left it somewhere on top of the counter, while those words were exchanged, I made payment using my own bank card by entering my own pin number on the chip and pin device without being informed by the lady when to insert my card; enter my pin or remove my card. I responded to the lady by stating the obvious, ‘I can’t see.’
“Her nor her colleague beside her replied with any kind of apology or made no attempt to give it back to me so instead, my mother did.”
She said instead of being given the receipt, the server put it on top of her purchases for her mum to pass on.
“My mum of course picked up my items along with the receipt, every single time I have any interaction and I’ve completed my purchase, I always thank the person; this time I didn’t. I simply said – loud enough so both colleagues could hear -‘I am the one making the purchase, not my mum!’
“I walked out of the store, nobody said a word from the store to apologise for the ablest way I was treated.
“Once I had exited that particular shop, my mum described how both ladies were taken aback.”
‘IT’S INTERACTIONS LIKE THESE…”
The mental health nurse said she was angry that she was being treated differently to non-disabled customers.
She said: “It’s interactions like this that leave disabled people like me feeling absolutely useless, devalued, patronised and as though I am incapable, stupid and less deserving of treatment that my non-disabled counterparts get.
“I am angry! I am frustrated! And I am tired! These are the same feelings I experience when something racist happens to me too.
“When things like this happen, it makes an anger burn inside you that you just can’t explain because not everybody has ever experienced the same. People think you’re making an issue out of nothing but it is!”
She added: “No matter what you achieve or manage to achieve as a disabled person, it isn’t going to stop you from having experiences like this.
“Being an Olympic torch bearer in 2021, being the first blind person to reach the National Championships in rock climbing or having a First Class degree aren’t what non-disabled people see so unfortunately sometimes ignorance means you are deemed incapable.
“It’s a horrible feeling to know you are perceived as less independent.”
She said despite her mum being with her, it was clear Mehreen was capable of handling the whole purchase by herself.
“There may be people reading this thinking why is it so bad the lady was expecting my mum to help me because she was with me after all; that’s not the point, the point is I was doing everything myself from speaking to doing, do you also experience the same when you go shopping with family or friends,” she said.
“When you walk up to a counter to be served with somebody by your side, does the member of staff overlook you and speak directly to the person you are with? No! I don’t think so! So why am I any different?
“Sadly I’m not the first person this has happened to and I’m not the last.”
Facebook members shot back with words of support and shared their own similar experiences.
A spokesperson from Clintons said: “We take all comments like this very seriously. At Clintons our retail teams are committed to ensuring our customers have the best in store experience possible.
“Having been made aware of this today, we have launched an internal investigation into this.”