‘I’m in it for the parking’ – it’s a slogan you can get on shirts, mugs and bumper stickers. A kind of disabled in-joke about one of the perks of being disabled. It’s quite true that you can park pretty much anywhere – disabled bays, pay and display and even permit only in Oxford.
But there is one place where even disabled parking is a premium – supermarket shopping, especially as there are no traffic wardens to catch out the cheats. In order to get my chair out, I simply can’t park between two cars like most car parks are laid out. I have previously mentioned about carrying bags and more than one bag on my lap is nigh on impossible. This is one of the reasons they put parking bays adjacent to the entrance, along with the fact that for some small distances are hard to manage.
Recently I have been having an ongoing fight with Co-operative Headington. They have three spaces right next the entrance. Every time I go past there is a Co-op delivery van parked in one of the bays. On several occasions I have had to park in the larger cark park near Waitrose and push to the Co-op due to the presence of the van using up a disabled space-infuriating. I immediately asked to speak to the manager, who loosely apologised and said they couldn’t move the van because someone has been stealing the catalytic converter and they had to keep an eye on the van. I’m sure you could imagine that I didn’t tolerate this. I recall saying “does the bay say catalytic converter protection bay? No. Then move the van, right now”. There was some mild objection as to where to move it to and I said: “I don’t care, just move it”. Reluctantly the van was moved and then the next time I went it was there again. I saw the same manager who moved the van with much less of a fight, but it was still there in the first place. On my most recent visit guess where the van was? Yup, still in a disabled bay. Enraged I went in – different manager. I asked for the van to be moved and he started with a “but”. I cut him off by saying “there are no buts, just move the van.”
So I expect a modicum of ignorance from lazy or selfish parkers using up disabled bays. It’s just part of life but for an organisation to park a branded delivery van, repeatedly, and after being told that is not ok is just arrogant and offensive to me. To tell me that a catalytic converter takes precedence further winds me up. Do I sound angry? Well I am. Disabled people have enough compromises in life without having to deal with issues like this.
I would ask you – the residents of Headington to help me on this campaign. If you see the van parked in the disabled bay – insist they move it. By all means reference me. Eventually they will learn that this disabled man does not back down.