Excuse me, may I borrow your height?

I often need help when out and about.

Especially in supermarkets. For some reason my favourite products seem attracted to top shelves.

So I ask for help. Every supermarket-shop.

At least I thought that was the case, last night I realised....

I never say "Can you help me."

I ask instead "Excuse me, may I borrow your height?"

I don't ask the person to help me because I am incapable. I ask if I can borrow a single, usually insignificant part of their practical abilities because it is a useful tool that solves a specific, usually insignificant practical limitation, which although an issue for reaching a product right now, won't be an issue once it's in my basket and I'm off to continue my day.

I know they mean the same in a way, but I like my line. It puts me in control. In my head it doesn't have any 'helpless' connotations, just a recognition that on wheels I am short.

And it always gets a smile.


  1. I think this is what my Mum says too. Neither of us are wheelchair users but I am 5ft nearly 1 with rather 'unhookable' shoulders and my Mum is about 5ft tall so we often have to borrow other peoples height :-).

  2. I'm so going to use this!

    At home, I ask my wife to come be tall for me. :D

  3. Brillant. I am not much shorter in my powered wheelchair being a little under 5ft. So have spent many years prior to its use with multidirectional instability in my shoulders along with the lack of height. Asking for assistance in supermarkets so to ask from my wheelchair came naturally.I love your spin on the asking. I am fed up though that the wheelchair trolley which fits onto self propelled wheelchairs renders itself useless with a powered one as the joystick cannot be moved! If I saw a stickman cartoon depicting that conundrum I would be overwhelmed with admiration. I love the detail of the basket on lap in this one, I give my baskets to customer services & they put them in a trolley then accompany me to checkout then car with purchases. I find interestingly that often whilst staring up at something I want high up it is normally men that ask if can help. This cartoon is sheer genius - thank you for the smile.

  4. As a tall-ish man I often get requests from women (particularly older women, who tend to be shorter anyway) to get books (as I spend a lot of my time in bookshops, though rarely buying!) down off the top shelves, so it's not that unusual to be asked to "lend my height" to someone who can't reach. Men like doing these things for ladies anyway!

  5. I'll be borrowing that phrase!

    I can't find a better place to say this, so I'll put it here: I'm a fellow POTSie from your area (at Oxford Uni), and haven't ever knowingly met anyone else with the condition. I'm so glad to find out it's not only me whose speaking and understanding goes odd from time to time (although, y'know, not wishing it on anyone...)

    Your keyring cards look very handy too :)

    1. Glad you found me, and no, you are DEFINITELY not alone :D


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