Exploring the Disability Tax: The Hidden Costs of Accessibility
Braille can be a lifeline to the visually impaired, providing them with access to written information and a means of independence. However, what many people don't realize is that Braille products can be significantly more expensive than their standard print counterparts. In this post, we'll delve into the concept of the “disability tax” and its impact on accessibility.
The Expensive World of Braille Playing Cards
Let's start by examining a simple yet telling example. While scrolling through Amazon one day, I stumbled upon a deck of Braille playing cards. The deck, designed for the visually impaired, can be found here: Plastic Braille Playing Cards, priced at $38 AUD.
At first glance, $38 might not seem excessive, but let's take a closer look. Curiosity led me to search for standard playing card decks for those with no visual impairment. I found a similar set made of plastic and designed for durability, available here: Playing Cards Professional Poker Cards. Surprisingly, this deck is only $16.11 AUD.
That's already a notable price difference; the Braille deck costs approximately 1.35 times more than the first standard deck. But it doesn't end there. I also came across another similar product, Playing Cards, Poker Cards, which is priced at a more reasonable $11.99 AUD.
To put this in perspective, the Braille deck costs approximately 2.17 times more than the second standard deck.
Understanding the “Disability Tax”
The term “disability tax” refers to the extra expenses that people with disabilities often incur to access products or services on an equal footing with their non-disabled counterparts. This concept parallels the more widely recognized “pink tax,” which describes the tendency for products marketed toward women to be priced higher than similar products for men.
In the context of accessibility, the disability tax can manifest in various ways. It's not limited to Braille products but extends to essential items like talking devices. Consider the example of a talking microwave. You could easily purchase a conventional microwave from your local department store for anywhere from $30 to $100, offering standard functionality and accessibility for most users.
However, if you require a talking microwave that ensures complete accessibility, you'd have to place a special order with a specialized company. This might entail waiting several months for delivery and paying a staggering price range of $600 to $1200 for the same microwave.
To put this in perspective, you'd be paying approximately 19 to 39 times more for a talking microwave compared to a standard one, simply because it's designed to meet the accessibility needs of individuals with disabilities.
In conclusion, the “disability tax” sheds light on the often substantial financial burden that individuals with disabilities face when seeking equal access to products and services. It's a reminder that while accessibility should be a fundamental right, it's not always affordable. As we strive for a more inclusive society, addressing these cost disparities is a crucial step toward making accessibility a reality for everyone.
Thank you for reading!
Serena (SerenaTori) (ShadowWolf)
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