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When Two Parts Of The Same Law Collide (Or - Legal Discrimination Even Though Discrimination Is Illegal)
Question for you - can you name the one occassion when you can legally discriminate against me even though I have a recognised disability???

I will give you a clue - it is connected with something which you may or may not own, and which some of your associates may use with varying levels of frequency.  This item is portable and wearable.  We refer to this item in the plural even though it is one item.  This item is mostly worn on the face (although it can be worn on top of the head, hanging out of a shirt pocket, on a chain, etc).  It has also (in my lifetime) been seen as a fashion accessory.

If this item is removed from my face I can be rendered totally immobile - it is certainly not a good idea to send me for a walk down my road without this item on my face.

Yes - Ladies and Gentlemen - Stand by for the big reveal.

Even though I am covered by the "Equalities And Discrimination Act" due to the fact I am Registered Partially Sighted - meaning you cannot legally discriminate against me on the grounds of my disability - the fact that I wear glasses is not covered by the aforementioned Act.

In plain English - this translates into the fact that I need glasses in order to function as a reasonably normal independent human being still doesn't prevent me from legally being discriminated against.

In plainer English - anywhere that sells glasses or contact lenses is legally free to refuse to let me over their doorway.  The fact that through refusing to sell me glasses they render me unable to function (thus activating my rights as someone who is Registered Partially Sighted) is apparently beside the point!!!

I am aware that glasses prescriptions cover a very wide range indeed - from plus or minus 1 to plus or minus 40 (at least).  I am also aware that not everybody who wears glasses needs them practically welded onto their faces in order to be able to function.

However, if you have ever had the "pleasure" of walking into somewhere like "Vision Express" (other High Street Rip Off Merchants are available) and been virtually laughed back out of the door through which you entered - merely for having the audacity to attempt to take advantage of their offers - due to a high (or even complex) prescription - you may know what I am talking about.

Don't get me wrong - I am pleased that those people with very low prescriptions can take part in all sorts of offers presented by the aforementioned "High Street Rip Off Merchants".  After all - even I will admit there are likely to be a lot more humans who fit below plus or minus 8 (the highest prescription which is covered by any offer they choose to tempt you with) than those of us who are in the plus or minus 20's and beyond.

My problem is this.  Since the sale of glasses was deregulated they seem to have become like buses - as in the more popular the route the more buses the bus company puts on because it is more cost-effective (even if it leaves the people on the less popular routes stranded without a bus service).

So the "easy" prescriptions get all the focus and the good offers from your friendly "High Street Rip Off Merchants" - leaving people like me (who could benefit from two pairs of glasses for the price of one just so I have an uptodate spare pair) left out.

In my ideal world we would have two separate "divisions" of glasses (and contact lenses).  We would leave the "High Street Rip Off Merchants" with their "easy" prescriptions.  However, we would also force them to subsidise the price of the prescriptions on my end of the scale (as in those of us who walk around 24/7 with their glasses on our noses) so we could take advantage of the same offers.

(Obviously, I would prefer it if my end of the prescription range was brought back uner the NHS Prescription charging system - even I know that is never going to happen though.)

I would also use that dividing line as a marker for where the protection of the "Equalities Act" would apply to the sale (or purchase) of glasses.

One way or another we need the discrepancy regarding the "Equalities Act" and the sale of glasses to be resolved.


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