Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Change the size of our bills?

I didn't catch the entire story on Fox News this morning, but I gather a judge has ruled that the size of our currency has to be changed to accomodate the blind. I don't know how far up the chain the case had gone so I'm not sure if the government will be refitting all of their money making machines any time soon.

I can understand why it's difficult for the blind to tell the difference between a one, five, ten or other denomination bill. They don't feel different and they are the same size. Not being blind, and not having taken any time to do any research, I can't begin to give an informed opinion as to whether this is a huge difficulty for the blind. The few friends I've known who were blind got along fine - they had a system so they'd know where the bills were in their wallets. I would imagine quite a few folks are now using debit cards, only go to places where the trust people, or they have friends who help.

However, IF it turns out the government is forced to change the size of our bills we are all in for a rough time. Just think about cash register drawers. The compartments are all uniform size, made for the standard bill. What about the machines that give change? What about all the new self-check out machines at grocery stores (and others now, too).

It seems to me that if the grocery store check-out machines can scan bills through a slot and identify the denomination, we ought to have the technology to make a hand-held scanner for the blind. Assuming such a scanner could be made (or is already available), it would be cheaper to give one to ever blind person who qualifies rather than re-tool every machine in the country!

I'm going to be following this one just to see how far it will go!

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