Over the last several years I've been dealing with various stages of disability thanks to ALS. My goal is to share solutions and review various products/tools/devices that I have found particularly helpful.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dealing with Zippers

One of the first things that really started to get in my way after my fine dexterity started to go was dealing with zippers. Grabbing the end of the zipper just became increasingly difficult and now it's pretty much impossible.

Around about this time I also started attending a rehabilitation facility here in Montréal or had access to ergo therapist. I explained this problem to them in the solution they came back to me was... keyrings.

Now the idea of having a shiny silver keyring hanging from my zipper did not appeal to me. Sure it would work and I did find it rather humorous to have something that resembled the pin on a grenade hanging from my jeans, I felt it would look odd and attract attention to me and my disability. Now of course there's all sorts of the zipper pull options out there, but to be honest I actually had a hard time finding them in my local sporting goods stores. And yes I could have also had some made at the local shoe cobblers as well.

What's interesting here is not so much the zipper tab itself, as where I got them… And the best thing is I got about 30 of them for free! Enough for me to address every pair of pants and shorts that I own… And then some…

The first thing I did was to walk into the local Mountain equipment co-op store  showed them the ones I had on my bag, explain my situation and asked if that were possible to acquire some. The customer service person was more than happy to do so and gave me what was on hand which is only three or four of them. Once again for free.

Obviously, this wasn't quite enough to address my needs. So I got on the phone and called Mountain equipment co-op's online customer service directly. I once again explain the situation and what I was looking for to the agent and I would be more than happy to purchase number of them. He paused for a second and said "don't worry about it, I will send out a bunch classified as a repair".

I've always liked shopping at Mountain equipment co-op anyway, then this level of generosity and customer service I thought was just great. Sometimes all you have to do is ask ;-)

What I particularly like about the zipper pulls is there discrete, durable and little plastic knob at the end makes it reasonably easy to grab. There are a couple different types, the ones they sent me have a little small plastic knob. But the better ones I find is you can actually get a form longer plastic knob to grab onto. Those are the best…

Also if you prefer to purchase some or are having a hard time finding some, I find you can order  zipper pulls online at CPGear for about $2C a pair. I find this to be a little bit expensive, so maybe it would be worth shopping around at various online military surplus/tactical stores.

Cost: free!
Pro: much more discreet than a key ring, easy to grab… did I mention I got them for free?
Con: there are various types, and the wrong ones might not address your dexterity needs.

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