A couple of years ago I was in a store with my daughter who is in her early 20s but mentally challenged & deaf. I bought something & we left the store only to realize she had tried on a cheap bracelet & couldn't remove it herself so forgot about it. We ran right back in the store to return it & i was so happy they were friendly & told me not to worry it happens all the time. I didn't think about it again til I started noticing people following me around in stores with Walkie talkies & security people following me in malls & standing in doorways of stores staring at me with their arms crossed. If I go to the restroom in a store they follow me. As I walk to the checkout you would think I was public enemy #1 the way they rush to make sure I can't make it out the door with their merchandise. I have been living & shopping in this city for 30 years no problem until this. I came out of a store with my 2 daughters & newborn grandson & a security car sat & stared & wouldn't leave while my daughter changed & nursed the baby. I went over to thank him for wanting us to be safe but we needed some privacy & he didn't budge. I went back & asked his name & he called his boss because "I was acting suspicious". Meanwhile my special needs daughter is crying her eyes out because she feels like this wad all her fault. She is the sweetest most giving child, always thinking about how she can help others & never thinking about herself. She was so excited about picking clothes out for the baby since she will never have a baby of her own & my heart is breaking for her. There is nowhere in this area we can go without being bullied. She starts to shake & cry if we do go to shop anywhere. For myself, I feel bad since I have befriended many people in these shops only to have them stare at me funny now as if I had tricked them in some way?! I'm the firstborn & a fixer so I went to the police station for advise & the officer said I should go to the manager immediately & explain the situation. Well that's what I did & it made the situation worse. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I would chew my arms off before I would take something that didn't belong to me. At this point I don't know what to do. My husband tells me to just ignore it but it's such in my face bullying behavior that I'm afraid my daughter & I are becoming hermits. If you or anyone reading this has any advice or even experiences to share I would so much appreciate it!
Wow. It sounds like they are being really over the top about this. Is this a small community, where rumors can easily spread? If so, it is probably going to be kind of hard to live this down. The only way to move forward (other than moving, which I might be tempted to do) is just continue to act normal and look at people funny when they act suspicously, like "what is your problem?" People react a lot to your attitude. If you act guilty or ashamed in any way, they will pick up on that no matter what you have actually done. But you can use this to your advantage. If you act like you are proud of who you are, and everyone else has the problem, they may forget there was ever a problem.
I had a situation where I was accused of theft. I let the store owner know that if they in the store were going to believe such a thing of me, then they didn't need my business. I went to an online retailer and ended up getting better deals and no accusations. I know that isn't always possible though. I too would never steal anything, so I know how much of a betrayal that can be.
Electronic media does have it's advanages. You can give reviews of stores to more than just the local management. If you feel your being harassed, let the world know. You have an outlet with facebook, emails, and news media. No business wants bad exposure to the public.
A store that you can prove is harassing mentally and physically challenged people won't last long in the world today. This is why we have handicapped accesses, parking spaces, and special laws to protect our special needs folks.
You also have to remember in today's society, with unemployment and drug abuse, businesses have to be on guard. A local mom and pop store that doesn't keep an eye on people will bleed money. A woman changing a diaper in the store, can walk out with hundreds of dollars of items.
A friend of mine works at Walmart. Their store caught a 5 year old with a $200 silver ring in his pants pocket that his mother had given him to take out. Mom was a drug abuser and grandma with them had over $500 in small items in her purse. Mom had already been caught in other stores in town and were on a watch list passed around town.
I'm sorry to say, the more you say I wouldn't do that, the harder they are going to look at you. I can also tell you they watch handicapped people a little harder. Not because they all are guilty, but they don't want the challenged person to hurt themselves in the stores.
You in a catch 22. The best you can do is expect to be watched and forget about them. If your not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.
This is not directed at the OP. To the people out there who are stealing, I hope you get what you have coming to you. People work to get ahead, then some slime bag steal stuff away from you. They don't allow whipping or public stocks in this country anymore, but we should. There are just some people who need their Arse beat, because they didn't get it when they were younger.
I feel for you! I am also handicapped, I walk with a limp, and when I first came up here to this town, and used a cane in their stores, they followed me and watched me like a hawk! I stopped using the cane! Wal mart still has someone follow me, I just turn around and thank them for the courtesy. It makes them mad every time, so I will never stop thanking them! I've had security follow me in their vehicles, I just smile and wave! There really isn't much we can do about this? There are only protecting their interests?!
But, with this over the top courtesy they show to you, and your daughter, I would do exactly as Sluggo suggests! Put them out there for all to see how crappy they are to the handicapped!!! Wear a shirt with their name, and how they treat you on it. Put a big sign in your cars window when you stop there. Things like this, wake the public up to how they treat handicapped people. And, until they actually do something physical, you don't have a leg to stand on, if you wanted to sue them. Sorry!
If I were you, and the next town or city wasn't too far off, I think I would take my business elsewhere? Or, try on-line shopping like Roh suggested?
I wish you luck, and give your daughter a big hug from all of us!!!
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