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Shopping Experience with and without eyesight

Shopping and Women are two synonym words. Most women enjoy both shopping &window shopping.
Even I enjoy shopping. For me shopping is not just buying stuff, it has more to do with relaxing myself, unwinding my stress, networking, building new rapport and much more.
With vision shopping was always fun and enjoying. As I thought of shopping, next moment I just picked my bag, hopped in a autorikshaw and reached the desired shop. Glanced on the varieties, picked up whatever my eyes indicated as good and my shopping was through.
After losing my eyesight to a great extent, I thought “Can I shop now anymore?” I accepted that it’s ok with whatever my family members shopped & bought for me. Many a times I went along with my Mother to pick up clothes and other stuff. She used to explain me the colour combination, design and I started exploring the embroidery and fabric by touch. This new way of shopping was also good for me.
Soon there were instances when I needed to buy some stuff and none of my family members were free to come along with me. This got me thinking, “Can someone blind shop on her own? What & how can one be independent in this and important aspect of life?”
I started observing my visually impaired friends. Few never thought of shopping. Few couldn’t accept wearing or using stuff without seeing on their own. One of them (late Blind) said “Why should I wear clothes of someone else’s choice? Why should I see the world from someone else’s eyes?”
For me it was ok that someone shopped on my behalf. But I was still looking for a solution to shop independently. One of my friends in a informal conversation mentioned about the ways she manages shopping. I understood that with few work around one can surely shop.
To try out the same I started with small & simple shopping. The work around was to trust people, ask help when required, ask the shopkeeper or the salesman or girl to help me decide. They suggested me that which one looks smarter and good for me. I bought the same.
Many times the products purchased by me were very flashy in colour, my mother used to explain me the mistakes. I took this opportunity as another chance to shop and correct myself, more over improve my asking skills.
Learnt to ask specific questions as what’s the colour, which colours would it match with, is it sober to gel with my personality. Relied more on my touch sense to feel the shapes, size, design etc. Slowly with practice, I developed the knack of shopping.
Today I not only purchase things for my own use but also purchase for my mother, sister and to gift my niece, nephew, friends or relatives.
Few points that help me while shopping are:
1. Being clear about what to shop & from where. Example if I have to buy outfit or dresses, I will go to a shop which has huge collection. Similarly to buy my footwear, I will visit a shop where sales executive will be able to describe and understand my explanation.
2. Selecting the time of shopping. Means visiting the desired shop in a time which is less crowded, so that can get little personal attention from the shopkeeper or sales executives.
3. Asking specific questions as the colour, looks, brand, post sale support available, warranty or guarantee, etc. Is this item fast selling product etc.
4. Trusting the person suggesting a product. Example while purchasing a cosmetic product, I asked the sales girl to suggest me which one looks more elegant and if she had to buy, which one she will select. This trust on the executive always helped me to buy proper stuff. In few occasions the executive even told me not to buy the article as it is not proper.
5. With prior permission touching the product, trying to feel its shape, design, size, aesthetic and trying to visualize it.
6. Being very descriptive and simple in explaining the requirement.
7. Being polite, calm & sensitive about the person escorting or helping me in shopping. For example, many times the staff in the stores are not very educated or descriptive or unable to explain a particular product. In such situations I seek support from other nearby shoppers.
8. Above all the points being confident and believing in myself, this helps me a lot.

Even today shopping for me is fun, relaxing & recharging!

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