Monday, February 18, 2008

Just Right

Goldilocks was very tired, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

Ashley and I went mattress shopping on Saturday. Since I adopted her at age 2, she has moved from a crib to a fully-enclosed hospital bed to a mattress on the floor and then finally to a real bed about 3 years ago. Not knowing if a real bed was going to be the answer, I didn’t invest in new bedding for her at that time. Rather, I moved my mattress and foundation to her room, and I purchased a new set for myself. Since the set I put in Ashley’s room is approximately 25 years old, and since she is doing just fine in a regular bed, I decided that it was time she had a better mattress.

Many stores had sales on mattresses this weekend, so we set out early Saturday morning for some comparison shopping. The first store we visited, a high end department store, did have some good prices on their mattresses, and they offered delivery and removal of the old set. However, when we walked in, the salesman couldn’t stop staring at Ashley. He seemed frightened of her and would step away if we got too close. He never addressed her, but did ask me if I would like to try lying on one of the mattresses. I told him no and we left.

The second store we visited was a store that sold only mattresses and foundations. Again, their prices were good, but delivery would cost extra. The salesman at this store didn’t seem frightened by Ashley, but he would only talk to me – asking “Would she like to try the bed? What size bed does she want?, etc.” I thanked him for his time, and we left this store also.

The third store we visited was also a store that sold only mattresses, foundations and other bedding related items. As soon as we walked in, the salesman asked how he could help. I put my hand on Ashley’s shoulder as she sat in her wheelchair, and said, “My daughter, Ashley, needs a new bed.” From that point on, the salesman spoke directly to Ashley. Even though I was interpreting with sign, he still spoke directly to her, asking “What size bed do you want? Would a mattress that is not so thick be easier for you to manage for getting in and out of bed?, etc.” He asked her if she would like to try out some of the beds, and proceeded to move the mattresses around so she could get her wheelchair right up to the bed, making it easier for her to try it out. She tried one, signed “no”, tried a second one, again signed “no”, and finally a third one and signed “yes, sleep.”

Although the prices at the third store were a little bit higher, where do you think I purchased her new mattress? And, it wasn’t because she signed “yes, sleep” after trying the mattresses.


MMC said...

Very nice.

I do think some people "mean well", but for whatever reason can't some to overcome their own fear and discomfort. Not enough exposure to individuals with disabilities perhaps?

I will tell you a strange thing though. My dad was in a wheelchair from the time I was born. And a fair portion of our family life includes people with varying disabilities. And yet for some reason I find myself very uncomfortable interacting with people who are in wheelchairs. I really don't know why it's like that. I try to just push through it, ignore my feelings and just talk to them but it's always there in the background. And I don't know why. Although I do think if I was around people in wheelchairs more often, that would help.

debbie said...

i just love reading your blog. you are just so amazing.

Jodi said...

Good for you for voting with your feet. I hope Ashley is enjoying her new matress.

Tokah said...

After moving to a new state, my husband and I went furniture shopping. We needed a couch, a coffee table, end tables, and a dining room set. We went to a big furniture shop and carefully went up each and every aisle, surveying every item to make the best choice. By the time we were done we had a few candidates to choose between. However, despite the fact we literally traveled the entire store, not one sales person volunteered to serve us.

Finally, as we were set on everything but dining room tables, a new associate came on shift. He saw us, came over, and said, "You are being helped, right?" He was astonished to find out we were not.

We asked him to show us one thing about one table, then went and pointed at our many choices. He spent a total of 20 minutes serving us and got the comission on a $2,000 purchase.

Sometimes it pays not to be a disablist.