I don’t often venture out but once in a while I will have a rare outing to the shops and I can guarantee that I will end up regretting it because of access fails in shops!

Please comment letting me know your experiences of shops blocking aisles and other access fails!

Today was one of those days!

We went to our local B&Q that is literally only 1.2 miles from where we live.

I was having an okay (ish) day for pain and energy levels, and so I ventured out as we needed to replace some drawer runners for our bed and I needed some garden netting.

Whilst looking at the houseplants, two of the aisles were blocked with metal containers.

Then we went down a large aisle that contained kids garden toys and barbecues, and the end was obstructed by a display at the end of this aisle of garden furniture. Yes, it looked nice, but zero consideration of access was given by management!

This happens in so many shops, they feel the need to fit in more stock and they do so without even taking into account wheelchair users, the sight impaired and people with babies in a buggy.

These can be just standard items but bring in a ‘Sale’ or ‘Christmas’ and this problem becomes even more problematic as shops become desperate to fit in as much stock as possible whilst ignoring the needs of people like me!

The photo used above is taken from video from the Z5 body worn camera that I wear when out, and unfortunately I wear it because of problems like this and because of the risk of abuse for merely being disabled.

I spoke with a member of staff in B&Q and asked them to pass on to management a request to not place these containers in the aisles because it causes access issues, and they said that they had brought it up many times!

I posted on Twitter as it is now the most effective way of highlighting these issues and bringing it to the attention of the companies.

To some, this may seem petty!

“Why doesn’t he just turn round and go back the other way!”

But this happens so often, ask anyone who is a wheelchair user and they will have countless stories of the same thing and for many of us, every ounce of energy is valuable and so to keep having to backtrack is wasted energy.

For businesses who ignore the needs of disabled people, they are losing money. The spending power of disabled people is known as ‘The Purple Pound’.

There should be sufficient space between display shelves for a wheelchair user to turn. Aisles should have a minimum width of 850 mm (2′ 10″), or 1.2 m (3′ 11″) in supermarkets.


These are the statistics from wearepurple.org.uk

1 in 5 – More than 1 in 5 potential UK consumers have a disability.

£2 billion – Businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

73% – 73% of potential disabled customers experience barriers on more than a quarter of websites they visited.

£16 billion – Taking averages per head, the online spending power of disabled people is estimated at over £16 billion.

£11.75 billion – Estimates show that the 4.3 million disabled online shoppers, who click away from inaccessible websites, have a combined spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK.

13.3 million – The number of disabled people is increasing: From 11.9 million (2014) to 13.3 million (2017).

75% – 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from a UK business because of poor accessibility or customer service.

1 in 5 – Nearly 1 in 5  working adults have a disability.

£249 billion – The spending power of disabled people and their household continues to increase and is currently (2017) estimated to be worth £249 billion per year to UK business.

Research has shown how various sectors lose money each month by not being accessible. A breakdown can be found below:

High Street Shops – £267 million

Restaurants/Pubs/Clubs – £163 million

Supermarkets – £501 million

Energy Companies – £44 million

Phone/Internet Providers – £49 million

Transport Providers – £42 million

Banks or Building Societies – £935 million


It has been raised as a complaint with case number, but I will be popping back at some point to see if they have acted upon it or if they just try and appease me and continue to block the aisles?

Please comment letting me know your experiences of shops blocking aisles and other access fails!


I have had a reply from the Southend B&Q store

I will show this to the unit Manager on his return tomorrow as well as the attending management team today,  I will walk the store today and makes sure that our customer routes bear the access of all in mind.  I do hope that your next visit will be more pleasant for you.

KBB Manager B&Q Southend

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

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