Stiletto and wheels Stiletto title Sole to sole Stiletto

STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.

WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility. title
ARTS - September 2010
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I rang the Royal Opera House (ROH) last week for the usual thing … tickets to an opera! I need a wheelchair space plus a seat for my companion – generally EaZyD - and, on this occasion, I wanted one additional full price ticket for a friend. Not rocket science for their Booking Office, you’d think!

“Oh, I don’t know if I can do that…” was the response to my request.

Immediately, my gut tightened. You know how you get that sinking feeling as it becomes clear that what seems to you a perfectly simple request is about to become a big problem? And, it happens so often. I just don’t understand why so many organisations insist on making the purchase of tickets such a big deal for those of us using wheelchairs. Anyone would think they didn’t want us there …?

After a testy conversation culminating in my terse comment that perhaps the ROH might consider making this process easier, even automating it as we now live in the 21st century, I am told that my friend’s full price ticket can be confirmed but my Access tickets must be passed to the Access Officer to process. Then, to my immense surprise, the booking officer asked:

“Are you on benefits?”

“What possible business is that of yours?” I demanded, already irritated and now affronted. Do I expect to be quizzed on my financial status just to get some opera tickets? No, I do not.

“I can give you another 25% off if you are.”

So, I am now supposed to submit details of my benefit entitlement to get a disability ‘discount’. Isn’t the bloody wheelchair evidence enough of my disability? And the blue badge? How much more intrusive do they want to make a trip to the opera … ?

Thanks to the current LibCon government, the entire world seems to think it is their right to ‘means test’ the disabled … and not just their income but now their entertainment too! Add a little more joy to my life, why don’t you?

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