think before you speak

James and I have been together for 7 months, so yesterday I decided to take the plunge and try to do some shopping in Cardiff by myself.
I’ve almost nailed the particular part of Cardiff I live, so I thought it’d be relatively straightforward.
The best laid plans…
It didn’t start off well when my talking satnav called a trekker breeze refused to tell me where I was.
I call him Romeo, because when I’m lost \I say:
“Romeo Romeo, wherefore am I Romeo!”
But he kept joyfully announcing:
“Cannot find satellite!”
So, I decided to use a card which says: “You’re help welcome!”
I hate these cards, as they make me feel really “blind” but they provoke many different responses.
The first one involved three people:
P1: “That card says help”
P2: “Oh yeah, it does doesn’t it”
P3: what shall we do”
P1: I don’t know, won’t the dog help her?”
P2: “Yeah, probably!”
P3: “OO, does it know what the card means! That’s cool that is!”
Then a man came up and said:
“Can I help you? I’m running late for yoga but I’ll help you!”
Anyway, he put me in the right direction.
Things went relatively smoothly after that. Romeo even decided to put in an appearance.
I went to a few shops.
The first one was Poundland, but I had no idea which one it was until a man started giggling uncontrollably.
“What shop is this please?” I asked.
“Your dog has taken you to the pet food!”
It turned out to be a box of food which James had spotted and decided to investigate.
I went to Marks & Spencer and finally decided to go to Costa coffee (on the corner of St Marys street,
by High Street arcade)
I’m only saying this as I don’t want anyone to think it was any other Costa.
I stood at the counter and a man said:
“What would you like!”
I asked him which Panini’s he had.
“They’re over there in the fridge!” he said.
OK, now I must tell you I have a yellow Labrador, I had bright clothing on and he was wearing his harness. You’d think, therefore he’d be aware I had a guide dog.
“I have a guide dog, and I’m totally blind, so please could you tell me which Panini’s you have?”
Well, what do you like?” he said.
This really annoys me! OK, if it was busy, I’d have probably said:
“Well, I hate olives, peas and sweetcorn, but I adore chicken and bacon!”
But he was obviously not going to help me so I said:
“I don’t know until you tell me what you’ve got!”
He did eventually relent, but by then I was already feeling incredibly anxious and close to tears.
The guy who brought the Panini was lovely, and said he sponsored a guide dog.
I was so flustered at the attitude of the first man that it was only when I got home \I realised he’d kept the change to the £5 I gave him.
It was only £1,10, but it made me feel even more dejected than I did at the time.
I went back to the place I used to work and burst into tears.
Nobody has the right to make anyone else feel that way, but that mans uncaring attitude made a relatively enjoyable day far worse.
So, what I’m trying to convey in this post is try to be kind to people.
Try and “look” for clues as to whether they might need you to be a bit more compassionate.
I’m proud of myself for even trying to go into the city by myself.
I’ll get back on the horse, I always do. But I’ll never go back to that Costa, apart from to complain and get my £1,10 back!
You can follow my adventures with James and retired guide dog Chelsea at:

Have you had any similar experiences?
Alternatively, are there any places in Cardiff which stand out for their customer service?

2 thoughts on “think before you speak”

  1. It’s a shame when people don’t take that extra bit of care to be helpful in these situations, I’m partially sighted so it’s not immediately obvious I have a sight problem, I sometimes have to ask for assistance & the helpfulness can vary, as you say though you can’t let it deter you. Pleased to see from Twitter that M & S were helpful, some one I know used to work in that store.


  2. My wife has a Guidedog so totally understand how you were made to feel. My wife went into a shop here, I’ll give you a cryptic clue which one, it’s called Peacocks lol, asked the shop assistant if they had a particular item, he literally moved 2 metres away, fiddled with his phone, came back and said no they didn’t. My wife is visually impaired not total blind and couldn’t believe it, she was so upset & mad that she left without saying anything.
    I will admit here in Falmouth Costa are brilliant, always asking if GD Jackie wants a water bowl etc.
    Some people are just ignorant a holes.


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