Is a Cheap Electric Wheelchair Possible at WalMart?

Is a Cheap Electric Wheelchair Possible at Walmart? A disabled customer bought a cheap electric wheelchair from Walmart, only to find that it could not run because of a broken link in the battery pack. She reported the problem to Walmart management, who is investigating the issue. It turns out that this particular Walmart store is among several nationwide that have had complaints regarding broken lithium-ion or Li-po batteries. The company’s website does not mention any accidents or warnings about running this kind of battery on a wheelchair.

Walmart’s public relations department released a statement regarding the incident. According to them, a Walmart representative “was in the store” and “asked” a disabled customer why he did not bring his light electric wheelchair Walmart into the self-service terminal. This caused the gentleman to become upset, and he followed two other disabled customers out of the store. A manager asked him to return to the store and the two walked away. A surveillance video showed that the Walmart employee who asked the disabled patron to come into the self-service terminal had no idea that the wheelchair was still there. He also had no idea how the self-service terminal works, since he did not have a key card needed to enter.

Is a Cheap Electric Wheelchair Possible at WalMart?

At least one expert on disability issues believes that the incident at Walmart is indicative of larger problems in the way electric wheelchair Walmart works. “They seem to be cutting corners wherever possible,” says Joe Anderson, president of the Disability Rights Education & Research Association (DREA). “It’s disconcerting that they would treat their wheelchair-bound customers this way – it shows a lack of care about their customers’ safety and their welfare.” A spokesperson for Walmart says that the store’s policies and procedures will be reviewed once the investigation is over. No additional details have been released.


Experts on wheelchairs agree that it’s important to investigate the handling of disabled passengers who need to access the self-service lanes of Walmart stores. Walmart’s website contains pictures of the various self-service lanes in their stores as well as a description of each one. The description of the self-service lane for wheelchair users states, “Wheelchairs are not permitted but may be stored in a flat rack inside the store.” The company does not allow non-automotive transport chairs in the self-service lanes, according to their policy. Although the company says that they carry lightweight wheelchairs and folding chairs, it’s unclear whether or not they have wheelchair vans, which are the large vehicles used to transport people with disabilities around the store.

According to several wheelchair users who were able to walk through Walmart with a lightweight electric wheelchair and a cane, it’s not clear how accessible the self-service lanes are for wheelchair users with mobility disabilities. Several of them were not able to navigate through the narrow aisles in the store. Even with the help of a Walmart worker who was pushing a wheelchair with them, some of the folding chairs they were carrying were too heavy to maneuver through the aisles. It’s also unclear how many folding electric wheelchairs Walmart carries.

Several other wheelchair users told Think Tank Online that they’d rather buy a lightweight electric chair from Wal-Mart than have their mobility-challenged loved ones access the self-service lanes. “We don’t have a problem with [what Walmart is] doing,” said Mary Poppins, a Washington, D.C. resident. “They’re just trying to accommodate their wheelchair users. A lot of these stores cater to wheelchair users but there aren’t a lot of places where handicapped people can go to buy things without assistance.” Mary and her family use a Roll-Up wheelchair because they are lightweight and easy to store.

The company does carry lightweight folding chairs, but only one brand – Folding Chair Pro. The folding chairs are only two hundred dollars each. According to spokesperson Karla Anderson, Wal-Mart does carry other lightweight wheelchairs, but they are too expensive for the store’s budget. “We recommend looking around the internet for other retailers that can sell you a folding chair for less,” Anderson said. “But for now, we recommend the Pro series.”

Another question that many handicapped Americans have is whether or not the Wal-Mart folding electric wheelchairs carry cheap electric batteries. It’s true that most of the Pro series requires new batteries every six months, but the company says that replacement batteries are cheap and easy to find. One question that remains is whether the batteries will still be compatible with future generations of the wheelchair if the user decides to upgrade. Wal-Mart representatives say that the only thing the consumer needs to do is buy a different battery. The company encourages its customers to buy batteries that are compatible with the wheelchair model they own.

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