There are three types of shopping assistance available to people who are blind or vision impaired.
Store Based Shopping Assistance
People who have used shopping assistance from their local supermarket recommend building a relationship with your local store. Some supermarkets such as Coles and Safeway advertise that they offer in-store assistance. Other chains may also offer assistance.
Consider contacting your local store manager regarding what assistance options are available and the best times of the week to access them.
Assistance is usually available as one of the following options:
- Drop off a shopping list at the store and have the items home delivered. There will be a small home delivery charge.
- Phone through an order and have it home delivered (for a small charge). This assistance is generally available to you if you have a doctor's certificate or letter from Vision Australia. You will be given a specific time/day to ring your order through.
- Have a staff member assist you with selecting items within the store.
If you have a local corner shop, ask if they would be happy to deliver items if you ring an order through.
If you need assistance in a shopping complex, phone the Customer Service or Information Desk ahead of time. State your needs and ask how they can assist you locating particular stores within the complex.
If you need help to find a store in a Westfield complex, go to the information desk or approach a security guard. The security guard will accompany you to where you want to go.
Community Based Shopping Assistance
Different community areas provide different services. The best place to enquire about shopping services is at your local council or community centre.
Many areas have a community shopping bus, which picks up its clients once a week or once a fortnight and takes them to a local shopping centre. Clients are left in the centre for 2 hours and are then driven home, with assistance to carry their purchases inside. There is a small charge for this service.
In some areas the Meals on Wheels service does shopping for people (whether they are a Meals on Wheels recipient or not).
Home and Community Care (HACC) clients can often have shopping assistance provided as part of their service package.
Some Neighbour Aid services provide volunteers to take people shopping or do shopping for them. Phone the Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre on 1800 242 636 for the phone number of the Neighbour Aid service in your area.
Internet Based Shopping Assistance
An increasing number of people who are blind or have low vision do their shopping over the internet.
You can order groceries, including fresh and frozen foods and have them home delivered at a nominated time. This type of shopping can take a little while to get started but gets easier as you get used to it. Many of the shopping sites allow you to save a list of favourite items.
The following internet sites are accessible and have been used by people who are blind or vision impaired:
ShopFast currently delivers to the Sydney Metropolitan, Central Coast and Wollongong areas.
Home Shop (Woolworths)
This is the Woolworths everyday grocery service. Delivery is currently available in Sydney and Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong and selected areas.