SPAR manager shares his four-hour experience

2017-08-16 06:03
Alan Stapleton discovers the dangers of using ATMs in a wheelchair.       Photo:SUPPLIED

Alan Stapleton discovers the dangers of using ATMs in a wheelchair. Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE Eastern Cape promotional and advertising manager at SPAR, Alan Stapleton, with the help of his colleague, Devon Smith, took on the four-hour wheelchair challenge last week.

During the four hours participants were allocated certain tasks.

These tasks included visiting a shop and buying bottled water from the top shelf of the fridge, going to the post office or PostNet and buying a stamp; thereafter finding the nearest SAPS charge office to stamp a document, drawing money from an outdoor ATM and using a public toilet.

Commenting on the tasks, Stapleton said, “It was impossible to reach the top shelf.

“However, I was able to stretch and tipple a bottle off the shelf below.”

He admits that he could not have the product of his choice and eventually had to ask a customer for assistance.

When it came to finding the nearest SAPS charge office, Stapleton said he had difficulty manoeuvring in and out of the car.

“The police at Kabega Police Station were very friendly and accommodating.”

Describing his trip to the post office he said it was a frightful experience as there was a “steepish” ramp, “My ‘soft, office hands’ needed to toughen up.”

When drawing money from an outdoor ATM he said he felt so low and exposed.

“I could not prevent ‘lurkers’ from seeing my pin number, and it was a bit of a challenge to see the keyboard. I could have been an easy target to rob.

“Using a public toilet was unbelievable,” he described.

“The passage to the toilet was very narrow. There wasn’t enough space; my elbows were knocking against the wall.”

To get access one needed a R2 coin, “I didn’t have one but I couldn’t turn the wheelchair in the passage so I had to reverse and call for help.”

Fortunately for him, his faithful driver was in close proximity.

“Once in the disabled toilet, I first had to juggle with my wallet, cell phone and water that I had bought,” he said.

He added that manoeuvring from chair to toilet and back was very difficult.

“My trip to the pharmacy was also a hassle. I was very wary of knocking delicate stuff. Luckily the pharmacist was very friendly and accommodating.

“The counter was very high though but fortunately I did not have to sign anything.”

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