Young mum insulted for using disabled parking bay

Sarah Metcalfe

A disabled PhD student was left in tears after finding a note on her car calling her 'fat and ugly'.

Sarah Metcalfe, 35, suffers from fibromyalgia, a long-term illness that causes severe muscle pain all over the body. The condition developed after a head injury five years ago, and causes her tingling and stiffness as well as the pain.

When shopping in Tesco recently with her 13-year-old son Jack, Ms Metcalfe parked in a disabled bay. Although she hasn't yet had her application for a Blue Badge approved, it's not required by Tesco.

"The pain was so bad on this occasion that I was forced to used a disabled bay to limit the walk. There were around 40 disabled parking bays and most were free," she tells the Mirror.

"I wouldn't have been able to go in if I hadn't used it - my ankles had become so weak that I was worried I'd go over on them. But I was enjoying a day out with my son so was determined to make it in."

But when she returned she found a note on her windscreen. "Being fat and ugly doesn't count as disabled - park elsewhere," it read.

The note found by Sarah Metcalfe.

Ms Metcalfe has posted the note on Facebook, and is calling for the person who wrote it to meet her face to face.

"Please don't be so quick to judge people by appearances. I fear one day you may say the same to someone and it could really push them over the edge," she says.

"I would just like to say to you if you're reading this now that it's better to be kind than hateful - quite frankly you never know what kind of day a person is having and what the consequences of your actions will be."

Charities have claimed that, perhaps because of repeated government messages about benefit fraud, abuse of disabled people is on the rise. Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that disabled people in Britain are four times as likely to be victims of crime as non-disabled people.

Verbal abuse is rife, and many disabled people feel the need to restructure their lives in order to avoid harassment.

"Disabled people should have the same right as everyone else to walk down the street without being intimidated or assaulted, to attend school without being bullied, to get on a bus or live in their house without fear," says Kate Bennett, the Commission's national director for Wales.

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Young mum insulted for using disabled parking bay
Shopping starts long before you leave the house. Check the fridge, freezer and cupboards, then draw up a list of all the meals you plan to make and eat during the week (making sure you include any leftover perishables in those meals). That'll tell you exactly what you need to buy. This isn't everyone's favourite activity, but you'll be astonished how much less you buy - and crucially how much less you end up throwing away. This process typically cuts 5% off your grocery bill.
Supermarkets are entirely designed to make you do this, with flashy displays at the door, and discounts heaped high on the end of each aisle (they're put here because they know it takes a while to turn your trolley so they have longer to catch your eye). There will be new products and special offers which will sorely tempt you, but everything extra you buy will mean you either eat more or have more to throw away more at the end of the week.
There are three levels of products: the branded ones (including the premium supermarket ranges), the own-brands, and the own-brand value range. The best way to shift down is to move down one rung of the ladder on everything you buy - so if you usually buy branded baked beans go for own-brand, and if you usually buy own-brand, go for the value own-brand.
Most people choose a supermarket out of either convenience or habit. However, switching to a cheaper supermarket could be the easiest way to save. No one supermarket is cheaper for everything across the board. However, as a very rough rule of thumb Asda is the cheapest of the big players - it regularly wins awards for this (and did so last year), and it also has a pledge, which promises that the items you pick that are part of its scheme will be 10% cheaper than elsewhere or you can claim the difference. If you are willing to go beyond the big players, the discounters are substantially cheaper, so it's worth trying Aldi or Lidl to see what you could save.
Of course, no supermarket is cheaper for absolutely everything. And in some instances the supermarket is not the cheapest place for your food - local markets for example can offer much cheaper fruit and vegetables.

You'll need to get to know your local independents, but the best way of being sure of getting a good deal at the supermarkets is to do your research before you go. lets you compare prices for Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi and Ocado.

You'll need to put your shopping list into the site, which is a bit time-consuming the first time you do it but gets quicker once you have saved your favourites. It will tell you the cheapest places for your shopping - leaving you to choose whether to make more than one trip or to go with the supermarket that is cheapest for the most of your items.
There's definitely a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to search for vouchers, coupons and deals for things you already need to buy. Alternatively, you can keep an eye out for BOGOF deals on things you regularly use (as long as they aren't perishable), and stock up on them. This can be useful for things like toiletries - just don't be tempted to switch to a more expensive brand in order to do this unless you have checked that the deal constitutes a saving from your usual brand at its usual price.
Supermarket deals are not simple to compare, so you could easily find yourself trying to work out if 350ml of something at 58p is cheaper or more expensive than 250ml of something at 46p. For most people this isn't the kind of maths that's easy to do on the fly. The only solution is to take a calculator and work it out - unless you want to focus on building world-class mental arithmetic skills.
Your careful list-making will not always go to plan, so if you end up eating something different one night, think about what you will do with the food you had planned to eat. Can you cook it and freeze it? Can you substitute it for another meal? Likewise with the leftovers, have you factored these into your eating plan? Or will you need to freeze it for next week?
This is classic advice for a reason. Research has shown that if we eat before we go we buy 18% less food. So have a sandwich and shave almost 20% off your bill.
If you are good at managing your credit cards, then shopping using a cashback card can be a great way to earn back money on your shopping. It's worth emphasising that in order for this to be a money-spinner you'll need to pay it off in full and on time every month. However, this is something that disciplined shoppers should definitely consider.

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