A bad shopping experience


I feel the title does not convey the meaning of the article:

The proper title should be: How an intervenor took control of my scheduled time.

A little primary information:

  • Intervenors work for Deaf-Blind people,
  • The Deaf-Blind person makes full decisions on what to do during the allotted period of time, and
  • The intervenor is there to provide visual and auditory information, to guide, if necessary.  They are professionals.

Hello readers,

Many years ago, I moved from Big Town Vancouver to Small Town Ontario.  Different province, and different services for Deaf-Blind, it was my first contract with Intervenor Services.  I had 4 hours of intervenor services a week, as a start.

With a Small Town, there was only two intervenors working with a small group of Deaf-Blind clients.  One intervenor had many years of experience, had good ASL skills and was well liked.  The other intervenor was a recent hire, but was a graduate of interpreting program in Sudbury.

I realize that, being small town, the intervenor in this story I’m about to tell can be easily determined, even if it happened 12 years ago.  I was intentionally ambiguous, and did not mention anything to identify the actual intervenor.

And, don’t worry, after the event, I did tell the boss.  Who downplayed the situation, naturally.  Taking the side of the employee is far more important than listening to the client.  At least that was the zeitgeist of the matter.

To start the story, I was working at three different jobs (the only time I ever had three jobs using three different skill sets), and my wife was, maybe, 7 month pregnant with our first boy.

I booked an intervenor for a doctor appointment.  It was not my usual day or time, but I really needed to see a doctor.  Why and what for?  Looking back, I can’t recall!

I had arranged with the intervenor to pick me up after my morning shift, and then we would drive to the doctors, then we would drive to my tutoring job.  I worked as a Back of House associate at the Zellers store, my doctor and client were close by in a different part of town.  A drive of about 30 minutes or less.

The intervenor, I will call Kelly, because that is a gender neutral name, picked me up at the right time and place.  As we left the parking lot I told Kelly that I changed my mind and did not want to see the doctor, instead we would go do some food shopping.

Kelly’s response was, incredulous: “I cancelled a client to take you to see the doctor.  Doctor appointments take priority.  And you want to drop the doctor to go shopping?!”

I was dumbfound, because I did not know that Kelly cancelled a client for me.  But there is more, I was also new to the intervenors in general, and did not really know my rights as a client.  Because of Kelly’s comments, I decided to forego shopping and decided to go to the doctor.  Here is where I mentioned that I was going in as a Walk-In, I really did not have an appointment.

Kelly’s response, again, was: “I cancelled a client for you to see a doctor.”

Kelly was not mad, just stating the facts.  Of which, before then, I was not aware of.

When we arrived at the Doctors office, and registered, the receptionist told me, via Kelly, it would be two hours before the doctor was available, at the least.  There was about 11 people in front of me.

I believe Kelly did express some frustration by mentioning that I should have made an appointment and, for the third time, that “I cancelled a client…”.

After about 10 minutes of waiting in a waiting room that had more friction than an elephant on a shag carpet, I decided and told Kelly, “To hell with this, I can’t even remember why I wanted to see the doctor.  We are going shopping!”

Kelly: “Okay, there’s a No Frills on the corner.”

Me: “I want to go to Food Basics.”

We did go to Food Basics, because Kelly was making a suggestion, and really Food Basics was right across the street, whereas No Frills was a bit further.

Now, we get to the part of the “Bad Shopping with Intervenor Experience.”

After getting out of the car and walked into the store, I got my cart, and so did Kelly! “I need to pick up a few things.”  Kelly did not ask me if this was okay, just decided to shop!  I was a little put off, but still shopped.

I spotted some fruit that I wanted, and put it in the cart.  Kelly zoomed in a different direction.

I decided to buy some chicken, I had to FLAG Kelly down like a cab in a rainstorm!  “Is this chicken expired?  What is the price?”  With a two second glance at the package, obviously understanding my questions, “Its fine, $3.29,”… Swish – Kelly had zoomed off again.

I bought a few other things, and each time I need visual information or prices or food quality, Kelly was not around and was doing own shopping!


When I went to the front of the store to check out, I was beyond frustration, Kelly finally caught up to me.  Kelly’s decided to go first.  And, then bagged a lot of stuff.  My stuff was next.  I had to, you know, remind Kelly, who was chatting with the Cash person, “…How much…?  …Total?”  Kelly’s replies were atypical of a professional intervenor.  Seemingly Kelly had adopted an I’ve-got-better-things-to-do attitude.

Being a new user of Intervenor services, I was not sure if it was my place to, you know, tell Kelly “This is my time.  You can do your own shopping later.  You are working now.”  I was not confident about confrontation.

It crossed my mind, sometime later, as I was writing long email to the boss, that it looks like Kelly had been doing this for quite a while.  It just seemed to flow in that vein, that Kelly knew that personal shopping with clients is just fine.  No one bothered to raise their voice.

After Kelly drove me to my tutoring job, and then I went home to my pregnant wife, and told her about this experience.  She took the chicken and said that it had expired two days ago!  And something else was also gone bad.  I blamed Kelly because, they did not provide adequate visual information.  Internally, I blamed myself for not being more assertive.

This was a learning experience!

After I complained to the boss, I am obviously not naming the agency, I never worked with Kelly again.  Once I did spot Kelly, who quickly ducked out of the room, not wanting to talk to me.

There is another point that occurred to me now; When I made the request I was going to see the doctor.  I was confirmed later that same day.  However, over a weeks time had passed between the email request and appointment, things improved and I felt I did not need to see the doctor.  I had decided to cancel the appointment but keep the intervenor.  I could do that, right?

Should I have informed Kelly I had cancelled my appointment?  Kelly would have cancelled my unscheduled shift.  I believe that they would have, and I’d lose two hours of intervenor time!

Thanks for reading!




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