Our post about the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign in Braille received a lot of positive feedback! That is why we decided to talk about some products that include Braille in their packaging and about some services offered in Braille that you probably weren’t aware even existed.
McDonalds cup lids
I remember the first time I realized that the tiny bumps on McDonalds cup lids were actually Braille letters. I was only 7 years old at the time and just beginning to learn Braille, so if you ever run into my Braille teacher please tell her she did a good job! By the way, in case you were wondering, the Braille on the lids read “other diet”. This was in the 1990s, and sadly I have not seen Braille on McDonald’s cup lids in recent years.
Restaurant Braille menus
About 7 years later I learned that some restaurants offer menus in Braille. Sure enough, when I went to Cracker Barrel and asked for a Braille menu, I received one immediately. It’s not just a matter of having Braille menus available for blind customers, however. Given the frequent changes of menu items at many restaurants, I (and countless other blind individuals) have found that the Braille versions of menus do not always reflect these changes. In other words, the menus are often out of date.
This is not to say that you should assume that all Braille menus are outdated, and therefore won’t even bother asking for one. A few years ago I went to Red Lobster, and to my surprise the menu was up-to-date (I had checked the menu online prior to going to the restaurant). This was about two years ago and I haven’t looked at their Braille menu since, so I don’t know if that still holds true.
Some businesses offer materials in Braille to their blind customers. These include financial statements, utility bills, bus schedules, brochures and business cards. These documents are Brailled by organizations or agencies specializing in the transcription and production of Braille. Some will even transcribe personal items, such as greeting cards or invitations. For a comprehensive list of locations offering these services in the United States, visit the NLS reference Directory at this site: http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/directories/sources.html.
Other packaged goods
I am always pleasantly surprised when I find Braille labels where I least expect them – on product packages!! A few years ago I purchased a box of Band-Aid bandages. When I got home I noticed a mysterious set of bumps on the box. As I ran my fingers across the tiny bumps, I confirmed my suspicion: they spelled out Band-Aid in Braille! This was during the summer before I went away to college, so in a way I felt relieved that the Band-Aid box was already labeled – I had a million other things to organize and label anyway!
I have also found Braille on vitamin boxes and other over-the-counter medications while visiting family in Mexico. They usually only spell out the name of the product or medication. Tupperware containers are also known for having the measurements written in Braille, as I discovered when I was still a kid.
Other brands that include Braille labels on their products include Chapoutier winery and L’Occitane products. I myself have not seen the packaging of either of these products and do not know what is included in these labels.
I’m sure there are other products with Braille labels that I forgot to mention. The truth is that although more businesses are becoming aware about the need to incorporate Braille onto their products and services, there is still much more left to do before we can say that Braille can be found everywhere. In any case, kudos to the numerous companies that are mindful and willing to include Braille in their products and services. By doing this, businesses will both provide accessibility to Braille readers and create more awareness about the importance of literacy for people who are blind.
What are your experiences with Braille labels on products or packages? Have you come across Braille in unexpected places? Please share your experiences with us, and thanks for reading! If you have any questions related to visual impairment or blindness, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.