>I went shopping on Saturday. And in the space of about twenty minutes had two of the most shocking disability incidents I’ve had in a long time. I wrote an e-mail to trading standards about one of them earlier this evening. But other than being shocked and thinking it’s rude (jesus wept, i don’t think it could have been worse) there’s nothing I can do about it.
So I’ll blog it. And I’ll probably blog the other incident too at some point but I should give trading standards some time to get back to me first.
Anyway, I was in Reading shopping. Specifically I was in Marks and Spencer and figured whilst I would in their I’d go to the loo. They’ve got a pretty good disabled loo. The key thing to note here is it’s open all the time you don’t need a RADAR key or any other key to get in there.
So I’m in there, on the loo knickers around my ankles all that sort of thing. And this random woman took a coin out of her handbag, fitted it into the middle of the lock mechanism, unlocked the door with it and started to walk in. In the UK disabled loo’s are generally separate rooms so this openned pretty much on to the shop floor.
I was yelling “hang on a minute!!” and she just stopped, went “Oh I didn’t expect there to be any one in there”, shut the door and locked the door again. Then I could hear her telling someone “oh there’s someone in there, I’ll use the ladies.” and walked off.
When I was done and came out of the loo this other woman was outside waiting and she was like “That woman, she got a coin out of her bag… and walked in… how rude!!” and I was like “yeah it’s soooo rude it’s ridiculous.”
Anyone whose ever used a radar key more than once will likely know that system means you can unlock it even if someone has locked it from the inside. You quickly learn to be slow opening the door… I’ve been walked in on at least once, and I’ve walked in on people a few times too.
I never minded that, not least since one of the times that happened I found someone collapsed and in need of assistance.* Especially because you either need to provide proof of disability to get your own (meaning you know how it works) or you need to ask a staff member for a key. And RADAR key disabled loos (and most other locked disabled toilets) have signage explaining the systm and usually where to get a key from so the fact you can’t just walk in is bloody obvious.
But to take a coin and unlock a proper lock?! Especially without even knocking or anything?! And when it’s obvious that if it’s locked there’s someone in there? Fucking ridiculous.
*looking back at the entries relating to that incident I appear not to have shared the response I got to my complaint about it. Which didn’t come until five months later. And which said they’d had British Transport Police arrest the man for smearing faeces all over the disabled loo. The man that collapsed had been on the floor an hour (he said) when I found him. I don’t know about anyone else but if I had been trying to go to the loo, fallen and then been on the floor an hour I’d probably have ended up doing my business on the floor too.