How accessible are grocery stores in London?

Grocery stores are making improvements to accommodate shoppers in wheelchairs and with other mobility issues, but there's a lot of room for improvement, according to Shannon Wilcox.

London Morning goes shopping with Shannon Wilcox to find out about her accessibility challenges and tips

Shannon Wilcox has started a blog on accessibility challenges and tips, including how to navigate the grocery aisles. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Grocery stores are making improvements to accommodate shoppers in wheelchairs and with other mobility issues, but there's a lot of room for improvement, according to Shannon Wilcox.

The London woman — who has been a paraplegic since the age of 19 — started a blog this month on navigating mobility challenges.

Wilcox wrote her first post on her experience grocery shopping in a wheelchair.

Host of CBC Radio One's London Morning, Julianne Hazlewood, went on a shopping trip with Shannon Wilcox to a FreshCo store in London.

Wilcox's first challenge is getting her wheelchair out of the car. She finds having a meal plan and shopping list are crucial — it allows her to better map out a game plan when she gets into the store.

(Submitted by Shannon Wilcox)

What are the grocery cart options at stores?

"I find the carts here difficult ... to push, especially if it's winter and you need to bring them in from outside. So, I find it easier to just stick with the bin, because then I can take the bin from my lap to the checkout, from the checkout to the car."

(Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

What kind of grocery carts would make shopping easier?

"Probably a smaller cart, manoeuvring those would be a lot easier. There's one I saw in Barcelona, Spain, and it attaches to the front of a person's wheelchair. So it's a lot smaller, still gives you the option to pick things off the shelf. Then you have a cart with you as well."

(Submitted by Shannon Wilcox)

How would you sum up the accessibility of London grocery stores?

"They're trying but I don't think they get the needs of people in chairs. You can see in the freezer section you can see everything is so far up and far back so to access that stuff is really difficult for someone in my position."

(Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

"I kind of feel like a little kid not being able to reach things. It never fails, you always want something on the top shelf."

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  • Wilcox emphasizes that for people in wheelchairs getting out and being seen can encourage stores to make changes in their store setup.
  • Wilcox says she'd like to see grocery stores make more items reachable.
  • She'd also like to see stores offer car delivery — assistance taking a shopper's groceries to their car after purchasing the items.