STAND up for sitting down — that is the call from an over-50s group demanding more seats in shops.
Rotherham Older People’s Forum hopes to demonstrate getting shut of their chairs leads to a loss of income as customers stay away.
The group says health and safety has been given as a reason for removing seating - but says there could be other safety concerns if it leads to shattered shoppers collapsing.
Forum spokeswoman Barbara Booton said: “It’s people who have got money to spend, and it’s just for the sake of a seat or two.
“Some argue about health and safety, or it taking up floorspace that they could be using to sell a particular item.
“It’s coincided with some of the bus routes being reduced as well. People know they can’t get round without a rest. The thought of it is too much for some people and the forum feels it’s very short-sighted.”
She added: “We hope that if a couple of big stores brought back chairs, it might encourage others.
“When there’s such a problem with loneliness and isolation, it’s so important for people to get out and do their weekly shop.”
Forum member Frances Kewley-Jones (65), of Swinton, said: “People are going to end up housebound because of this.
“These shops expect you to go in, spend tens and tens of pounds and go away. There’s no concern for people on foot or coming in taxis.
“When you get to a certain age, you need somewhere to sit and wait or rest. Having no chairs is forcing people to shop online who don’t want to.”
One woman (67), who asked not to be named, said: “Shops only cater for people with cars now. I went to Marks & Spencer in Meadowhall and I told one of the staff I needed to sit down.
“They fetched a chair from the cafe, put me in the middle of the aisle and waited with me. I felt like I was waiting for an ambulance. I felt silly.
“Hospital corridors have fold up seats. Why can’t shops do that too?”
David Vickers, another member, said: “The stores say it’s health and safety, but there’s a health and safety concern if seats are not provided.
“I think we also need to show them there’s an economic loss. Places have long been saying they are dementia friendly. They should also be doing this for older people and others who need to sit.”
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