On Behalf of Mr Turner

If a company or institution won’t deal with you as a disabled adult, put the phone down, wait an hour and then call back on behalf of yourself.

Let me explain. Quite a lot of disability companies won’t deal directly with disabled people over the phone when we are trying to buy products. It’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s loads of other things that are not, but what it is is true, and something that most of us will have come across.

A while back I tried to buy a button for my computer. This is a non-medical device for making a left mouse click. It’s a plastic button. It’s not a prosthetic leg or a course of antibiotics. They wouldn’t speak to me, or send a rep to my house with a bag of samples, or sell me anything at all until they had spoken to an occupational therapist or similarly qualified (in their heads) professional. So I put the phone down, calmed down (which took the better part of a week), then called back saying this: “I’m calling on behalf of Mr Turner”. That’s it. I was just able to purchase exactly what I wanted.

It’s not just random pieces of computer equipment. I’ve done this to hire minibuses, organise trips, rearrange hospital appointments, even get better information about my own care package. At first I thought this was a fluke, but it’s happened multiple times a year over the past decade; this post could spill into a novel about the number of times it happened, the problems with the infantilisation of the disabled etc etc etc. But I’ll spare you that and just say it’s a great technique and if you don’t mind the occasional embarrassing conversation when you are clocked, it’s well worth using their own prejudices against them.

Is it lying? No. Is it disingenuous? Perhaps.

Do I care? Probably not.