Shopping. Some people love it, some people hate it. Wherever you stand, shopping is vital for getting food, clothes, and many important items. However, living with a visual impairment can make shopping a tedious task without proper training or tips. Here are a few tips for a successful shopping trip for someone who is blind or visually impaired.
Prepare Shopping List:
When getting ready to shop, the first step is to prepare your shopping list. Be sure to include brands and quantities. You can type your list on your phone and utilize the screen reader feature to assist you when you are in the store. Writing a list in advance saves time and gives you an order to get your items. If you have useable vision, the list should be in large print with a high contrast background.
Options for Shopping:
There are a few options for the best methods for shopping at stores. A simple option is shopping with family or friends. However, you might not always be able to have a family member shop with you. In these cases, it is best to ask the store to make accommodations for your visit. We recommend calling the store in advance to see if an assistant would be available. The assistant will walk around the store with you and pick up items on your list.
Shopping Apps and Services:
At times, physically going to the store is not possible. In these cases, there are a few applications and websites that can be used to have the shopping handled for you. Instacart allows you to choose your items and have them delivered to your home. Retailers Walmart and Hannafords offers pick up on their websites. These websites allow you to choose items online and pick them up at the store. Be sure to check your local retailers to see if they offer Instacart or a delivery service.
Tips for Low Vision Shoppers:
Several applications can be used to better navigate the storefront. If shopping alone, it helps to have some orientation and mobility training to find a way to the store and where they customer services desk is.
Applications like SeeingAI help read labels, check prices, and read aisle signs to the user. Physical magnifiers can also be utilized for label reading and to determine the price. If you are using large print labels in your pantry at home, it is recommended that you add these labels at the store if you have a device or assistance.
We hope these tips help you to navigate your shopping needs, while allowing you to maintain your independence. Although these are general tips that can be applied to most retailers, we recommend reaching out to your local blind rehab agency for any assistance it local retailers.