Question: Have you encountered problems accessing supermarket stores and/or booking online delivery slots?
Yes – 69% (61 respondents) No – 31% (27 respondents)
Some members had experienced difficulties, for example where they were on a priority list, but the parameters changed, and they were no longer eligible, or who are on a shielding list, but have not received confirmation from the NHS. Others found they were challenged at supermarkets and felt they had to ‘prove’ their disability.
“My condition like many others is not on the guidance list. When trying to access supermarkets at times set aside for elderly and vulnerable people I have been told ‘anyone can use a crutch’. I now take my PIP award letter with me everywhere which works, but why should I have to carry my ‘papers’ with me to prove a disability.”
“I have registered with the SMS service set up by the government as I’m shielding but yet not been contacted by any supermarkets. I registered over two weeks ago.”
“I’m disabled and have various ailments which were in the original “vulnerable” list. The parameters for that have been changed so am not amongst those who received a letter for shielding or getting priority.”
“I have recently been advised that I am on the shielded list (by GP) but not received a letter or confirmation from the NHS.” “
“We were on a priority list with Sainsbury’s as blind people but then were arbitrarily chucked off. So, no home delivery. Fortunately, we are able to visit local shops, whether we should; is another matter, but the staff at our local Sainsbury’s are very helpful and a neighbour has helped us get the bigger items from a larger store. So, inconvenient yes. Disastrous, not so far.”
There were some issues around priority lists for home delivery; with several members having difficulty securing a slot within a reasonable timescale.
“I’m not in the shielding category but higher risk category. Cannot find a delivery slot but I am able to attend at supermarket and so have done this with no issues.”
“Not able to get priority for home delivery. Having to scour for slots at around 2am, getting one about every 3 weeks. Cannot leave the house. Super stressful!”
“What delivery slots? Every time I try there is none available, not even sure my local Tesco is still doing it. I know of a lot of elderly and disabled people who are isolating and shielding who have used these services for several years but now can’t!
“I haven’t been able to get a delivery slot at all, so have had to go out to the supermarket. I have had to leave my daughter who is a wheelchair user in her vehicle with her dad till I go and wait in the queue and go shopping. The longest I’ve waited was 1hour 15min outside the supermarket. I’m still waiting for her letter to say she is vulnerable.”
Some of our members had received a good service however as a result of the shielding list.
“I got my shielded letter, a food box and priority delivery when I need it. All good in the hood!”
“I was in a fortunate position that, as a Sainsbury’s online grocery delivery customer I was added to the vulnerable list for online shopping without having to ask for it.”
Accessibility of Supermarket Stores
Accessibility was an issue for disabled people at supermarkets; for example, rules on shoppers having to be alone, and therefore unaccompanied by carers presented problems for those who needed additional assistance.
“At supermarkets there’s often long queues with no seating available.”
“I have a visual impairment and was told by staff at Sainsbury’s that I could not have a support person with me as there was a limit to one person per household.”
“I was made to queue in the cold and wet for a long period. Also, no help for reaching items off a shelf from your wheelchair.”
“Local store allows two people entry, but there are no seats along the queue. They do make a little effort at times to prioritise for immediate access, but not always.”
Impact of Finances
For those unable or unwilling to venture to the supermarket, often the alternative was expensive home-deliveries or takeaways.
“Don’t feel safe enough to go to shops and no idea what is happening with buses. Shopping local but it is so expensive.”
“I have had to rely on takeaways which means more expense with no additional Income Support or PIP being provided by the Government.”
“Although I am not self-isolating; I still wouldn’t want to go to any of the bigger supermarkets I normally use and can’t get a delivery slot or click and collect. A local shop is now doing delivery and although they are delivering the same day, it is £2 for delivery and the essentials such as bread, milk and eggs is more expensive.”
Reliance on Family, Friends and Neighbours
For many, a reliance on friends, family and neighbours was the only viable way of securing frequent food deliveries.
“We only got a Sainsbury’s shop as my husband is 79. I’m disabled and that didn’t count. Thankfully, neighbours also help a little or this would be a significant issue.”
“We only have the Co-op who do not do home delivery so we have to rely on friends for help.”
“Often slots I get are over 2 weeks off and I need things quickly. I am lucky to have assistance from a charity called Clyde Shopmobility who have bought things for me and brought them to my flat.”