I was deep in thought, comparing the Canon MX320 with the MP280, when the shop assistant approached and asked if I needed any help. Usually I prefer to browse unaided, but seeing as I was operating on the outside edge of my limited knowledge about printers, I decided to accept his offer.

He smoothly guided me through the potential pitfalls of printer purchasing, such as how a cheaper model can actually cost you a fortune in pricier ink. We discussed wireless capabilities, LCD display screens and iPhone apps, before somehow getting on to the subject of families, the ages of his two kids and when the youngest one starts nursery. I finally chose the printer he recommended and bought it, leaving the shop pleased with my canny purchase and our friendly chat.

A pleasant, but otherwise unremarkable, customer service experience. Except that my advisor was seated in a motorised wheelchair; getting to the computer terminal to check availability required a two-point turn and a drive around the display stands. Except that every word took him a tremendous effort to vocalise. Except that picking up a boxed printer needed a concerted co-ordination of his rigid limbs. Except that I was reminded how perceptions of disability are, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

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