Scooters for the morbidly obese -- a disservice to them?

denninmi(8a)July 18, 2013

I am quite shocked at the number of extremely obese individuals I now see riding around on those personal scooters when I go out to shop. Most are the ones provided by the stores themselves, although once in a while I see a "personal" model.

I feel that this does a disservice to these individuals. It is one more piece of enabling that lets them continue to live in denial of their problems.

This practice has become enough of a trend that it was parodied by the series 'South Park' in an episode last year.

In fact, when I go out in public now, I am shocked in general by the number of overweight to extremely obese people I see. Maybe I am just more observant than I was, but I do think it's really reached a tipping point in this country in terms of the obesity rate. Also shocked to see the number of overweight and obese kids on playgrounds, at bus stops, etc. as I drive by. I know there are no easy answers for obesity. It is a national epidemic and a national health crisis, IMHO.

In fairness, I am a "former fatty" -- I had let myself go so far that, last year at this time, I was to the point that I was carrying almost 220 lbs on a frame designed for about 165. Last year at this time, I was hefting 2 liters of Mt. Dew and Pepsi to my mouth, and honestly was winded at walking half a mile. And, I wondered if that was my entire future - continue to abuse my body, continue to gain weight, and suffer in middle age the diseases caused by obesity, with a significantly shortened life span.

I am now back to my lower weight, hovering around 160, and would like to drop another 5, to get back to where I was about 6 years ago, when I was thin and felt really great. I got back here though careful diet and a lot of hard workouts, under medical supervision and with the help of a number of fitness professionals at my gym. And, I have no intention of ever going back -- it was a bleak prospect for my future. Now, I'm lifting weights, cycling 15-30 miles 4-5 times a week as conditions/time allows, getting back into running - did 5K last night, and doing other various forms of exercise while working with a PT several times a week. My goal in 2014 is to take amateur triathlon training and compete in at least a few tri's.

I wish there were easy answers to this. In a perfect world, I would be able to kindly, gently tell these folks that they need to get off of these scooters, for their own good, and walk, as much as they can, and make that the first step to escaping that horrible fate, diabetes, heart problems, cancer, etc. But off course, in a civil society we can't just do that to people, no matter how good the intention, the hurt of having a total stranger confirm what they probably know to be true, but don't want to admit to themselves, would be too much for almost all to bear.

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But maybe they were stuck inside until scooters came along. Now they can participate. I don't even know anyone in a scooter, but I am guessing it'd be wrong for scooters to disappear.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:22PM
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One of our employees said the new Walmart Supercenter has more and higher capacity motorized carts than any other store in the state.

They'll need them...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:32PM
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david52 Zone 6

Great to hear the success in getting back into shape.

The last few people I saw using those store scooters, I doubt they could walk 5 steps without stopping to rest.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I can't speak for any of the obese people you are seeing
on scooters denninmi where you live but I can speak for a cousin that I know takes advantage of the scooters at Walmart etc.
He is obese with a back that is so bad that the pain keeps him from standing for more than 5 min at a time.
The scooters enable Jack to do his own grocery shopping and also enables Jack to get out of the housewhich all people thin or obese need to do .
We never know the pain some of those obese people are in 24/7. Obesity is not always the only problem you can judge by an obese person on a scooter.
Bad knees...bad backs....etc.
I love Jack but I will not judge him. He is trapped in more
than fat.....he is trapped in pain.
My heart goes out to him and many others like Jack.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Fat-we recently had a thread on this topic.

I am not being rude here on purpose but I noticed years ago that there is no more snide and snippy person on the subject of fat than a person who has recently lost weight. It goes the same for the former smoker.

I am going to ask you were you confused about your over weight state when you were packing the extra pounds-I suspect not. Smokers know that smoking is bad for them and so on...

It is obvious that you are able to be very active at this point in your life but if you were not able to exercise the way you do do you think you would have been as successful as you were? I would just be pleased that I was as successful as you have been and stop judging others.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Well said, Patriciae.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:50PM
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denninmi, Cindy Wetherby said "We all have disabilities, some are visible and some are invisible, But disabilities are only as challenging as our minds let them be."

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:51PM
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A wheelchair doesn't keep people from using their legs or their lungs or their hearts,
crutches don't keep people from standing on their own two (or fewer) feet,
& scooters don't keep people fat.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:53PM
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The scooters in stores aren't just for obese people. I used them before and after hip replacements. (Why is the thing you want always in the far corner of a Home Depot? Do they see you coming, have telepathy, move what you need back there?)

I'd rather an obese person get out and about than sit in a chair at home, depressed -- and *eating*.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:01PM
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One of my dearest friends suffers from a severe eating disorder--thus diabetic, has lost a kidney, sleep apnea, and more. She rode her cart around campus for a long time. A year and a half ago, she decided to take her life back because she has a daughter and five grandkids and wants to stay alive for all of them. She has lost 175 pounds and has forty to go, goes to a gym regularly (sometimes twice a day), has brought her diabetes under control, had surgery to reduce the extra skin after the weight loss, and now looks like a "regular" woman.

The eating disorder will never go away, and she knows that, so she compensates. She goes nowhere without her own food, and because she is also one of the smartest woman any of us will ever know, knows how to manage portions and food groups to make her life manageable.

I never criticize folks in carts. We can never know why they are in one, or what conditions cause them to need a cart. I am so glad my friend has probably extended her life span, but even if she had not I will always respect her.

Go, Marjie!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:34PM
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terrene(5b MA)

This is OT, but how can you stand that South Park show Denni? My son watches it sometimes and while the content might actually be funny I wouldn't know because I can't get past those annoying squeaky voices.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:34PM
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I certainly don't begrudge a store for accommodating its patrons - be they obese or rail thin lugging a backpack oxygen tank, or otherwise handicapped in some unobvious way.

Have a dear friend with MS - her car's equipped with hand controls and she's usually ambulatory with a cane. Yes, on the heavy side; but it's the MS that prevents her from standing for long periods or walking much of a distance. Something most of us take for granted. There are many places that just aren't available to her - stairs or they're just not the right kind of handicapped accessible for her needs.

Sorry, denn, but there are those who simply cannot get off those scooters no matter how gently you might want to nudge them. What you might consider enabling is someone else's ticket to a little bit of independence.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:37PM
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It's a good idea to be gentle with folks we care about, even nicer to be gentle with folks we might now know about in terms of how they have to live and function.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:42PM
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Some days I wish I had a personal motorized chair, and I only weigh about 135 pounds. Just rolling out of bed in the morning can be an event!

You can't see it, but I am constantly changing positions to ease pain and find some comfort. There just isn't a comfortable position I can remain in for any length of time.

When I go shopping, I like to go in, get what I need, and get out. I detest spending an inordinate amount of time in a store... standing for that long is excruciating. Attending anything all day without a place to sit is torture.

"What you might consider enabling is someone else's ticket to a little bit of independence."

That's very true, Pidge...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I just saw a post on facebook that showed a large person in tee shirt, baggy shorts, & running shoes.

The person was boogying along & the caption was something like,
"No matter how long it takes you to get there, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:33PM
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That's right, Sylvia!

Most people who use scooters really need them and would certainly prefer to be on their feet, like my dear mother who broke her leg and a scooter allowed her to get out to the grocery store, just about her only outing. And my sister also who had foot surgery and had no one to help her, she used a Walmart scooter to shop. I'm grateful the stores make these scooters available because it allows disabled people to be out in the world. And for the few who would be better off getting some exercise....oh well.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 8:28PM
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The problem isn't scooters... it's our overall food source and what's allowed by our poor government standards and regulations, in part.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:03AM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Many times it isn't a person's weight that keeps them on a scooter...there are things like Fibromyalgia, my husband has issues getting on a cart because of people like you and comments like yours but he has neuropathy so bad that it hurts him to walk and makes shopping or walking a miserable experience ..he is embarrassed to get a scooter because he knows that there is someone like you standing over there wondering why he is riding around on a cart and why he doesn't just lose some weight......There are many factors in why a person is heavy and I am in the process myself at the moment of losing a steroid belly and steroid cheeks....not because I am a pig at the table or have made a habit of over eating but because I did a stint in a chemo chair and them gave me a steady diet of steroids and appetite stimulants. .it would be nice if we as fatties didn't have to face judgmental people like you..someone who thinks they have all the answers...not everyone around has the resources to manage a gym and trainer as you do...Often the weight is a problem brought on because of being confined to a chair or medical issues as I you might consider all aspects of an issue before you are so easily offended or think you have the answer to everyone's problems...My husband and I have both just recently acquired scooters...we both probably weigh more than we should still but neither would be considered morbidly obese..we do however have medical issues that weigh into enjoying our life to the fullest and we travel in an RV and we do not intend to let judgmental people like you keep us from enjoying what time we have left on this earth. There are places we want to go and things we want to see that we cannot do and see without the help of a scooter and we damned well plan to do it...even if it offends people like you. So if you see two little old people traveling down the road with scooters on the back of the RV, give us a wave because it just might be us....thumbing our nose at you and planning our next scooter ride...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 3:18PM
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ruthieg.....may you and dear hubby have many many
years traveling down the hwys with scooters close at hand.
I salute both of you for getting out there by what ever means possible and taking advantage of your time together.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 3:44PM
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More "power" to you and husband, ruthieg.

I see denn hasn't come back after the original post. I suspect these weren't the responses he expected.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 3:56PM
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ruthleg, while there may be some posts here that are critical of people who use scooters, I think there are many more posters who are very understanding. I don't how you have been treated in public that has made you so defensive, but lumping everyone together as a "you" ready to insult you is hardly fair. Please read some fo these posts and I think you will see that there are plenty of people who are on your side.

I visit Longwood on occasion and they have always had wheelchairs--I used to push my mother around in one so she could visit a place she loved so much. Now they have motorized carts which enable folks who need wheelchairs to be even more independent--and free up people like me. I also see lots of buses from retirement homes, which means whole armies of folks in carts tooling around the garden.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 4:07PM
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I took the "you" as being a reference to the OP.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 4:28PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Let me see how many reasons to appreciate the stores that have motorized shopping carts and their employees...

Its difficult to walk even from handicapped parking to the door.

I need a cane to avoid losing balance and still its slow, so very slow with every step more pain.

Doctor says not to lift anything over a pound(lmao he obviously doesn't grocery shop.)

In pain even on the scooter as I reach for things. Forget the top shelves.

No one delivers groceries anymore.

I'm grateful for the clerks who use more bags to keep the weight down and the stock boys who load my car the way I ask with the frozen and refrigerated items closest to the door and the heavy things where they require the least lifting. They don't try to rush me. I don't have to return the scooter, they do, often making a joke about dodgem cars

Even with a scooter a 1 hour trip winds up being 2 or 3 and that doesn't count getting everything back out of the car, into the house on a small cart I have to carry things, put everything away and then sometimes have a meal to cook before I can rest. There are no quick trips.

With only a regular cart to use, I could not go to the store at all.

I do the majority of my shopping at night to avoid blocked aisles and inconsiderate shoppers.

It is embarrassing to have a scooter run out of power at the back of the store.
I am not over weight. I am in pain. I feel sorry for those who have both problems.

I can only hope you feel the pain I do as I "enjoy" shopping. Why are you so resentful? The attitude you display is self righteous, selfish and not very nice, unlike the people who do often offer to help.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 4:36PM
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While I am very critical of what our government allows as a public food source, and am aware of the overall effects that this sort of diet has on the population in general... I am even more than aware that obesity is not the only reason someone might require help with mobility.

I often wish I had help in getting around, and I do not fit the profile of the OP. Health issues that make mobility difficult abound within our society, and many have nothing to do with weight.

"What you might consider enabling is someone else's ticket to a little bit of independence."

I think Pidge addressed the issue very well with this single statement, and it's worth repeating.

I suspect the responses aren't exactly in line with what the OP expected... and I, too, see a lot of posters who are not critical of stores for trying to help the public, regardless why they require that help.

Most of us seem to think it's a good idea that stores keep scooters for those who have trouble getting around. I think it opens up more possibilities for those who might otherwise not be able to shop for themselves. And that would include the disabled, the elderly, those with some extra weight, those with other health issues, perhaps those who are very pregnant... a lot of people benefit from use of a scooter.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I know pidge appreciates the compliment a second time, Jodi, but it was my post on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 18:37 that contained the sentence, What you might consider enabling is someone else's ticket to a little bit of independence.

No harm no foul. :-)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 4:57PM
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In the grocery store I most often go to, I rarely see people in the motorized carts. Occasionally though I have seen this little tiny woman in her 50's riding in her cart. She has some sort of deformity, but I admire her so much because I have seen her at street fairs and malls. She doesn't stay home...has her own cart.

I always ask if I can get something from a high shelf if I see someone parked and looking. But kind of a funny...On Thursday I was rushing thru the store running late when this older lady with long grey hair shouted either at me or someone else ..Watch where the fu.. you're going, you GD SOB..Those of us who heard her kinda chuckled because no one was near her cart. Later I saw her and she was mumbling to herself , so she obviously had some issues.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:41AM
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LOL, I did love the compliment but could not recall having written the sentence. The prize goes to you, duluth, for making the comment. But then again you say lots of smart things.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 6:24AM
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Most stores we shop at don't have motorized carts, although some have wheelchairs.

You have to ask for wheelchairs at some stores as they don't keep them up front.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:10AM
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I think it's mostly bigger stores that have carts, mark. But even lots of department stores don't have them either. It's grocery stores and places like Home Depot tht have them in my area.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:51AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Stores here that have them:
Meijers(the largest number and best kept) Walmart(about the same in numbers as Meijers but more are out of service), Sams Club, Kroger-Scotts, Lowes, Menards, Home Depot.

Guess where I have to do most of my shopping?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Yes, sleepless, that is too limiting for someone like you and what you need. Sure puts you at a disadvantage--and that is the real disservice.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:39AM
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I'm sorry, Duluth... my bad! Consider yourself duly credited, please! :-)

I couldn't say why, but I made the mistake of not double checking, and I am sorry. Completely my fault.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:08PM
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It was touched on here, but I think it's important to emphasis that many overweight people utilizing motorized carts aren't using them because of their weight but because of the issue that caused them to gain weight in the first place due to lack of mobility. Then to add insult to injury, many of these people may suffer from depression which can then fuel the fire and cause overeating.

Thank goodness these carts and other mobility devices exist, so immobile individuals don't have to be total shut-ins. However, I get the impression that some would prefer these people, who assault their sensibilities, just stay in bed.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:12PM
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This has been a great topic to bring up.
People have been looking at their own judgemental-ism. Great.
I can't imagine almost anyone on HT making fun of someone when they are making an effort, most of the time. However, I'm kinda annoyed.
I looked for my comment on the casino thread, and it , the whole thread, wasn't there. This is not the first time that has happened. When I post from a library I can't take my time, to re-re-re- proofread again. Garbled stuff stays in picture mode and doesn't translate well into words.
Then several of you have been quite dismissive , with a mild sneer here and there, or pointing and yucking it up.
I am not stupid, nor am I writing in code.
But now some poor peon at booz is probably trying to decode it !?!
Have fun with that. It can take me a while to figure out why I said what I was trying to say that way, the next day, and I wrote it.
My life has been an excersize in successive approximation.
I have talked about migraines etc., here before. People can be quite sloppy, or proprietary about saying what is in food being served, then I can dehydrate fast. Sunflower oil now, dang. Some dumb ordinary stuff can slow me down quickly. It is often then that I like to reach out. Sorry if that offends you.

When I've been away for a while, mostly from the inconvenience of web access, I'll try to read up. Some of you look pretty nice.Then it'll be That One, that will stick in a jab. Sheesh. That's wearing. Very.

I come up with good topics. I'm creative. I've been known to stand up for people, OK No-One does that any more, sorry to not conform again. I believe in good stewardship of the environment, and a good civics education for participatory democracy. I like to look at the whole person and not let a couple of awful opinions get in the way. People sometimes grow, give them room, don't hound them.
I like to inhabit other persons points of view. It's illuminating. I'm fairly well read, and find it important to form my own opinions, all of which are subject to constant revision. I can't spell. I can belabor a point, or restate the obvious.

At it's best HT is stimulating, It can get dull when worrying at the same stuff, or the same people.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Your thread and latest post are still here, Florey. I linked it below for ease of locating it.

In the jumble of threads, sometimes it appears that the one we're looking for isn't there. I have to look twice sometimes to find a particular thread I'm interested in, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here it is...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 5:56PM
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We have some obese relatives that use the motorized carts when they shop.

They generally take the transit to Walmart, then walk from the transit bus to the motorized carts, or someone drives the motorized carts closer to the transit.

If the motorized carts are all in use (as they frequently are) they'll wait on the bench until a motorized cart becomes available.

As they've gained more weight and lost muscle, they get out of the house less and less.

Many have other relatives perform most of their shopping, plus they order from restaurants that deliver.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:16AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My biggest problem with the scooters is when people allow their kids to use them. Other than that, I think its good business.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:35PM
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If they need it, it's a good thing - if not, they're hurting themselves.
I modified my behavior years ago to avoid aggravations like scooters and munchkins blocking my path. I don't mean that unkindly, because I'm a grandfather, but I like to stride through a store like I'm on the walking trail. A scooter you can see in advance, but a little child popping out of a cross isle can spell disaster. I'm not as agile and my brakes don't work at 64 like they used to.
Sunday morning, I walked into my local Walmart at 5a.m., picked up the low dose Aspirin and Cat flea meds I needed and was out of there in 5 minutes.
Good for them and me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:36PM
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LOL, Steve!

I hear ya... one practically needs stop and go lights within some of the stores, or maybe a license to operate a cart?

That's one of the pluses of being able to shop late at night or very early in the morning... not a lot of other shoppers!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Of course morbidly obese people should use the "scooters," as should any person who needs them, as long as they are mature enough to use them responsibly. That's what they're there for. I'm sure Mayor Bloomberg would disagree.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:11PM
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