Help: A Touchy Subject

I went to pick up a purse I ordered online at a mall department store and when I arrived at the courtesy desk, I pulled up the email that had alerted me the handbag was ready. I had a heck of a time locating the bar code within the message and the store associate assured me that a lot of people find it difficult and they often request that she look for it for them. Unfortunately, she is not permitted to touch a customer’s property, even when asked.

I finally discovered the code amidst all the text, she scanned it and went into a back room to retrieve my item. It was while she was gone that I noticed this sign on the counter.

I had not told the woman I am visually impaired and I wondered if I had, would she then have felt comfortable taking my proffered phone. I almost asked but the arrival of my new crossbody wiped it from my mind. After walking a lap of the top and bottom floors of the mall, I headed out to the parking lot. Three elderly people were coming in, one using a cane and two with walkers. I held the door for them and they were all so sweet and appreciative. I was struck, as I often am, by the fact that they had no idea that I, too, fall into the “blue sign/white stick figure in a stick wheelchair” category. But I was still able to help them and that made me grateful as well.

On the ride home I thought about the sign and the people it represents, including myself. Some of us do need a little more help than others, but we all have the ability to offer someone else assistance. Although I understand the department store’s reasoning in their “no touch” policy, it’s ironic that they also display this notice. The two don’t go together, the encouragement to ask for help and the limitation on what that assistance may be. We should all be compelled and allowed to lend a hand, even if that involves someone’s personal effects being placed in it.


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