Monday, September 06, 2004

The Deviant Lid Flipper

A necessary ritual I must always perform when choosing things that have to be opened is - lid flipping.

Stuff that is difficult to open causes unnecessary stress in my life - so I must study them, holding, opening and closing any product before purchase, to answer the following questions:

Can I flip it open with one hand?

Can I grip it at the same time?

Could I do this with wet hands?

Could I do this when my head is upside down and I'm showering/washing my hair?

What about a combination of the above, coupled with (generally legal) substance side effects?

Which leads to:

Am I likely to knock it over (yes), and when it hits the carpet, what is the chance of gross spillage from the open top?

...and ethically:

Have bunny rabbits had the stuff rubbed into their eyes? (if yes, replace on shelf)

....and less crucially:

Does the container look stylish?

It's important to remember You Can Be Disabled and Stylish.

Obviously this involves a certain amount of study. Pick it up (grip testing), read the atrociously small writing on the back (bunny cruelty check, not to mention the struggle due to a slight decline in my outer retinal latice), and, of course, the lid flipping. It can take a while, but its a small price to pay on the days when you have to be busy busy busy. "i'msorryismellihadproblemsopeningmyshowergelthismorning" does Not make for a slick business woman.

Unfortunately, when you are disabled person, spending time looking at things in a shop may lead staff to wrongly assume that you are too thick to actually know what you want, or worse, that you are a deviant of some kind. This causes all sorts of problems, detailed as follows:

Staff/Security: Can I help you madam?

AF: No.

SS: Are you sure?

AF: Yes

SS: Quite sure?

AF: YESTHANKYOUJUSTBROWSINGTHANKYOU

SS: Call me if you want anything lifted down from a higher shelf, won't you?

AF: YESTHANKYOU

By this time I am getting twitchy. Security staff are very attuned - not just to disabled people's ligitimate needs - but to the fact that if you're disabled, with plenty of space to hide goods down the side of your wheelchair, scooter basket or the like, ample clothing, bags on your lap, etc, etc (not to mention being on benefits), there is a raised possibility that you may actually be out nicking. (I have heard this from several security guards and shop staff. It's an easy thing to discover - all you need to do is visit the right sort of nightclub - or get yourself a CB radio - find some, and ask them. I almost certainly guarantee they will tell you the same.)

Meanwhile, this unwanted attention is impacting on my lid flipping rituals. It changes the whole tone, so natually I begin to tense up, flipping the lids up and down more than once, looking (in their eyes), less like an innocent disabled woman trying to find a bottle that is easy to open, and more like a deviant waiting to seize the moment (and the goods), then escape under cover of disablement - what weaselly minded offical would stop a disabled person...?

Watch them as their gaze follows your progress. Watch the same members of the public mill backwards and forwards along the same aisles as you. Are they really members of the public or plain clothes detectives?

A little Time in Life gives you access to worlds usually hidden. Disabled people have the patience of saints, and we are great people watchers. Not that you'd ever go out nicking with this in mind... no, neither would I...

Flip, flip, flip. Read the back. Replace on shelf. Flip, flip, flip. Read the back. Flip again to be sure. Shower gels are the worst, although I have also experienced problems with dental floss. With dental floss you have to take pot luck because most of the containers are behind molded plastic. You can't flip before you buy. You just have to peer closely at the packaging to see if it looks likely or not. Flip, flip, flip. Read the back. Some of the flip top lids have a sort of 'second lock', where you can flip them open and closed easily, but click the top further down for security when transporting them. It's difficult to completely unflip from closed, but you can counteract this at home by not putting pressure on the lid after use, so it sort of semi clicks shut. These ones are ok, and when identified correctly, do not tear my delicate skin. The real problem here is that I like a bargain. If I stuck to the same product each time I wouldn't have to do this. But according to my profile in certain personality tests (Do You Have Millionare Potential? et al), it is a facet of my nature (apparently) that I have to go for the best deal every time. You can't fight nature, can you?

So, ritual over. Product in basket. Up to four weeks of living with the scent, the look of the thing on my bathroom shelf, the knowledge that I have not conciously contributed to the suffering of rabbits and the pride of finding the best value, most perfect flipping lid in the range.

And, not least, the knowledge that every time you go into the shop, you are going to see them, and put the wind up those bastards. All because you need a good flip top lid on your shampoo and shower gel.

AF


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