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Guest post: The time I complained to Amazon, and it made me feel like I could take on the world!

misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
edited July 2017 in Guest blogs

In a nutshell:

I'm 28, with spinal and mobility issues – missed delivery – gone to neighbour – struggled with big box – pain – only tiny rosette inside  – shock – annoyed – recycled - laid down – complained on Facebook - reporter got in touch – became national news online - lovely messages - happy- few negative ones - bit upset - got over it - determined to make something positive come from it all - laid down again – Scope guest blog – what the heck?!
Blonde haired lady smiling at the camera

A little context...

In brief, I have several serious spinal issues. I have always had back problems, but it became life changing when I suffered something called Cauda Equina in 2012. Since then I’ve had neurological damage to differing degrees. My legs can give way at any moment, and occasionally I can't move them at all. They can shake uncontrollably, and it usually occurs when I'm in a lot of pain. Sometimes I use a wheelchair, but I use the crutches as much as I can. Pain is a major symptom of spinal cord compressions, and having degenerative conditions. Basically, it sucks! 

I find this all kind of embarrassing to talk about, but I'm trying to be open, and share my reality with you. I also experience incontinence issues and have to self-catheterize. 

I suffer with anxiety and panic attacks too. These tend to rear their ugly heads when I go out somewhere. I've had so many experiences of falls or wetting myself  in public places (cringe), that I get real anxiety when I have to push myself into those situations again. But it doesn't stop me from trying, and it never will!  

But no need to feel sorry for me! I'm a tough cookie!

I'm hoping you don't think I’m complaining, or wanting sympathy. I’m simply listing the facts. 

My family have supported and loved me, even when I've been fairly paranoid and cranky. I have seven nephews and nieces, who have been my salvation and my reason for living. Even if I couldn't do the things I could do before, like dance, my job or my university course, my role as Aunty has never changed. And without my mum I don’t know how I would have coped throughout these four years. I think she's pretty awesome, if not the most awesome person in the world! 

I also have my beautiful friends who are most certainly my chosen family. I am so thankful to them just for being who they are, because in doing so they have made my life full of joy. 

So, what's all the fuss about this cardboard box?

Large card box box with small blue 'dad to be' rosette insideBasically, I bought a ‘Dad to be’ rosette for my friend from Amazon. The delivery went to a neighbour. I had to struggle to get it home, and it caused me a lot of pain because of the sheer size of it. 

When I saw it was just the rosette inside, I couldn't believe it. The pain had been for something that could have easily been posted through the door. I thought about how someone else in a similar position would have felt, if the box had gone back to the delivery office, and they had to go collect it. The planning that would be involved to make that journey, the pain, time wasted, and then the eventual disappointment and absolute disbelief at what was inside.

How did it make national news?

I hate complaining. I hate confrontation, I hate negativity and I hate using the word hate, ironically! But I felt I would be letting myself down if I didn't make them aware of it.

I explained to Amazon I was worried about the excessive packaging they used, and how detrimental this is to the environment, especially because some people don’t recycle. I also made them aware about the complications it caused me, as someone with mobility issues. The next day, a reporter got in touch and said there could be interest in my story.

Am I glad I did the interview?

I have to admit to you, my anxiety kicked in a little. But I felt that if my story could open up some sort of  constructive dialogue about excessive packaging, the environment and disability then it would be worth my slight embarrassment about sharing a picture of myself, or being categorized as a 'disabled woman'. It was a good job I considered it first because the tag line for a couple of the stories read, “Catrina Farnell, disabled woman, shops a lot online.” Great, that's exactly how I want to be described nationally, for the entire world to see! Not!

The positive messages were by far the best thing to come out of the whole experience, but the negative ones were a little harder to take. I tried to correct any misinformation, and just ignore any negative opinions, because the beauty of living in this country is that everyone is allowed the luxury of free speech (see, I'm already seeing the positive side)!

Time to get real: life before, and life after, the box...

This is probably the hardest paragraph for me to write. For the past four years one of the biggest anxieties that I have faced was the fact that I felt I could no longer make the world a better place, like I had nothing to offer. I've felt less confident and a bit of a failure, if I'm being perfectly frank. I'm very aware that I'm 28 and all I want is to do is something that helps others, but without the knowledge of how to do it, I have felt really rather frustrated. I didn't want my disability to mean the end of me being who I am, but in a way, I let it be. So I am really hoping that I can turn this into something really constructive and it might give me opportunities that otherwise would never have come my way, in order to help others. Maybe starting here on this community! 

Thank you, yes you who's reading this!

I hope my weird, funny story inspires you to stand up for something if you think it is wrong, and if you get grief for it - contact me, I've got your back! 

If you identify with the kind of feelings that I have experienced, please take notice of this. The one thing we can always count on is change, we can choose to make it a positive one. Those insecurities will subside, eventually, and if we channel our energies into something beneficial to others, I truly believe that we can make anything happen.

Have you got an experience you’d like to share with me? Have you made a small positive change somehow? I’d love to chat!
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Replies

  • JenniferUJenniferU Posts: 124Member Courageous
    Well done you! It's so important to stand up for yourself.

    Amazon do this so much and aside from it being really bad for the environment, they have probably never thought about the issues they might be causing for disabled customers. As more and more people continue to move away from buying from shops in person, and ordering more online - highlighting issues like this are very important. :) 

  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    JenniferU said:
    Well done you! It's so important to stand up for yourself.

    Amazon do this so much and aside from it being really bad for the environment, they have probably never thought about the issues they might be causing for disabled customers. As more and more people continue to move away from buying from shops in person, and ordering more online - highlighting issues like this are very important. :) 

    Thank you, that is so kind of you to say. I really appreciate your comment! Xx
  • cldawsoncldawson Posts: 1Member
    A great article. We should all strive to make life as easy as possible for everyone else. A little thought can make a big difference, like don't park on pavements and move things someone might trip over. I am amazed at how often people will step over something but leave it for others to stumble on.
    Over packaging like this is another issue that makes life unnecessarily hard, like tight moulded plastic that needs cutting with scissors. Let's all report these problems. 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    cldawson said:
    A great article. We should all strive to make life as easy as possible for everyone else. A little thought can make a big difference, like don't park on pavements and move things someone might trip over. I am amazed at how often people will step over something but leave it for others to stumble on.
    Over packaging like this is another issue that makes life unnecessarily hard, like tight moulded plastic that needs cutting with scissors. Let's all report these problems. 
    That's so true! I was very nervous about raising my concern, but hopefully it has done some good. I really think you have a lot to offer too and should definitely report something if you feel it will benefit others. We have to look out for one another!
  • basiclee08basiclee08 Posts: 71Member Courageous
     Great article and after spending time opening due to access packing  then have hassle trying to either recycle or dispose of it.  Customer service people can be unhelpful at best. I had issues with argos and in the end resolved it myself as I felt taking to myself n brick wall. And gave up.
  • claireconwayclaireconway Posts: 1Member Listener
    I love the way you have written this blog it's funny and quirky but gets to the point and delivers an important message - well done Catrina and congrats on using your experience in a positive way.
  • OhboyoklahomaOhboyoklahoma Posts: 5Member Listener
    Disabled people ordering online, who'd have thought it? It's not as if it's difficult for us to get out, or when we do we find our facilities occupied by the non disabled or we find them too dirty to use/not working properly...in case you missed it I am being sarcastic because these are all reasons why we stay in and order online! But then we have the challenge of the monster packing, as in this blog, or that Flash is delivering. With Flash delivering and I mean the superfast superhero not the cleaning fluid, we ain't got a hope of getting to the door before Flash has sped off. Two wheelchairs and a stairlift escort me to my front door and Flash has married, procreated 5 times, gone grey and died by the time I get the front door open and say "Hello". Maybe I'll just have to save **my money** instead. Oh well.

    **quick, someone alert the government because there's still a disabled person left in the UK with money!!** :pB)
  • ZaraWritesZaraWrites Posts: 27Member Connected
    A great read -love the way you have written. Well done you! :)
  • CheshireCatCheshireCat Posts: 3Member Listener
    Well done you!  A really great article and fantastic to stand up to "the big boys" for things they just never think about.....but should!
  • Qp1babeQp1babe Posts: 1Member
    Well done on highlighting such a big problem for disabled people. It's frustrating getting oversized boxes for an item that clearly doesn't need it for starters, also not waiting long enough at the door for someone to open it (I've complained about this several times!). Luckily my neighbours are aware of my situation and will pop it round later or my children will pop to the neighbours to retrieve it. It's about time companies realised what disabled customers needs are. My other grievance regarding packaging is the amount of tape they use and also Amazon use a tape that contains string in it, so when you do manage to peel the tape off it doesn't come off completely. It tears exposing the string which is more like razor wire when you try to pull at it and it then cuts your fingers! Very dangerous for people with certain blood disorders or on blood thinning tablets. Fingers crossed companies will make the necessary moves to consider disabled people in their deliveries and packaging.

  • LauraRutherfordLauraRutherford Posts: 16Member Courageous
    Good for you! Sounds like you're doing a great job of making the world a better place. I'm a fan of quotes, and one I have as my twitter cover photo is "I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realised I am somebody".

    I have a feeling you're going to make your mark - you already have! x
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
     Great article and after spending time opening due to access packing  then have hassle trying to either recycle or dispose of it.  Customer service people can be unhelpful at best. I had issues with argos and in the end resolved it myself as I felt taking to myself n brick wall. And gave up.
    Thank you so much. I'm so sorry you have had a similar experience and I hope that it doesn't happen again! Wishing you well! 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    I love the way you have written this blog it's funny and quirky but gets to the point and delivers an important message - well done Catrina and congrats on using your experience in a positive way.
    Thank you so much! I really appreciate that! It means a lot! 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    Disabled people ordering online, who'd have thought it? It's not as if it's difficult for us to get out, or when we do we find our facilities occupied by the non disabled or we find them too dirty to use/not working properly...in case you missed it I am being sarcastic because these are all reasons why we stay in and order online! But then we have the challenge of the monster packing, as in this blog, or that Flash is delivering. With Flash delivering and I mean the superfast superhero not the cleaning fluid, we ain't got a hope of getting to the door before Flash has sped off. Two wheelchairs and a stairlift escort me to my front door and Flash has married, procreated 5 times, gone grey and died by the time I get the front door open and say "Hello". Maybe I'll just have to save **my money** instead. Oh well.

    **quick, someone alert the government because there's still a disabled person left in the UK with money!!** :pB)
    I know right! Yes Flash has been here several times too! Lol. Let's hope that the whole industry becomes more aware of disability and takes it into consideration when delivering parcels. I hope you are well today 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    A great read -love the way you have written. Well done you! :)
    Wow! Thank you, what a compliment! I really appreciate that! I hope you are well today. 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    Qp1babe said:
    Well done on highlighting such a big problem for disabled people. It's frustrating getting oversized boxes for an item that clearly doesn't need it for starters, also not waiting long enough at the door for someone to open it (I've complained about this several times!). Luckily my neighbours are aware of my situation and will pop it round later or my children will pop to the neighbours to retrieve it. It's about time companies realised what disabled customers needs are. My other grievance regarding packaging is the amount of tape they use and also Amazon use a tape that contains string in it, so when you do manage to peel the tape off it doesn't come off completely. It tears exposing the string which is more like razor wire when you try to pull at it and it then cuts your fingers! Very dangerous for people with certain blood disorders or on blood thinning tablets. Fingers crossed companies will make the necessary moves to consider disabled people in their deliveries and packaging.

    You bring up some really important points that I hadn't thought about. Thank you! I really hope the industry gets better for your sake too. Wishing you well, from Catrina! 
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    Good for you! Sounds like you're doing a great job of making the world a better place. I'm a fan of quotes, and one I have as my twitter cover photo is "I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realised I am somebody".

    I have a feeling you're going to make your mark - you already have! x
    Your comment has made my day! Truly thank you! Plus I really love that quote you mentioned. I had not heard it before, but it has inspired me. Thank you! I hope that you are having a good day. 
  • LauraRutherfordLauraRutherford Posts: 16Member Courageous
    Not at all. That's lovely to hear ☺️ I'm a lover of quotes! X
  • misscfarnellmisscfarnell Posts: 11Member Connected
    JenniferU said:
    Thank you so much! It looks great!!! 
  • LauraRutherfordLauraRutherford Posts: 16Member Courageous
    Ha love it! Thanks Jen x
  • LokiLoki Posts: 3Member Connected
    I hate this, amazon always freaking does it. I have loads of pictures of guitar boxes with a peice of embroidery fabric in our a bottle of nail varnish. They really don't care. Even when an amazon employee who had delayed a parcel decided to call us and prank us after he had delivered something. 

    I'm disabled, have issue with phones, and I'm in a lot of pain. Im also having reliant on Amazon so they usually give me an extra month of prime and hope I  forget until the next complaint.
    Craft-Addict 
  • RachieRachie Posts: 1Member
    Awesomely  written I to get annoyed with Amazon packaging like you I'm differently abled and recently recieved huge box containg a pack of knickers ! :o 
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