As virtually everyone in and around the AT business has written, it is hard to find bargains on items important to us blinks. In the Fred’s Head Companion, Michael delivers a very good set of items in an article I read via Blind News.
My own opinion is that prices will drop as the market grows and we, in the blindness biz, manage to find more off-the-shelf hardware with which to work. For instance, the MSS example I’ve been writing about lately is far cheaper than a BrailleNote and has many more features. Leveraging the mainstream will be the key to our economics in the future.
Michael starts by saying, “There are lots of sites that track the lowest prices for computers, music, electronics and TV’s. It’s often hard to find who has the best deal for a talking watch or an accessible cell phone.” This is true and, sadly, the AT industry, with giant margins probably does what it can to avoid too much price comparison. I will add, however, that one gets what they pay for. If you shop at Wal-mart, you can expect mostly self service; go to Saks or Nordstrom’s and a salesperson kisses your butt while you pay triple for the same item. In AT, if you want full service, training, local technical support, etc. you will pay extra, otherwise, buy from a catalogue if you don’t think you’ll need this kind of service and get the Wal-Mart treatment.
“BlindBargains.com features deals, coupons, bargains, and the lowest prices for blindness-related items, whether they are designed for the blind or just happen to work for us. They won’t post all of the deals, just the lowest prices by reputable merchants,” continues Michael’s article. I visited BlindBargains.com and I must say I’m really impressed. As FHC states, it’s not just stuff designed for us blinks but, rather, all kinds of great bargains from the mainstream, furthering my argument for technology transfer, that are really impressive.
An example of a great bargain that we blinks can enjoy but is far out of the ghetto from Blind Bargains, “Linksys Phone Adapter for Vonage for $93 Profit Buy.com has a Linksys 2-port phone adapter for $52. Pay via Google Checkout to drop the price to $32. Then, sign up for new Vonage phone service and use
A $125 mail-in rebate to gain $93 profit. Vonage is a broadband phone company that charges $24.95/month for unlimited calling. Rebate ends December 31.” So, while this doesn’t exclude our sighted brethren, it is a real sweet deal for people on a fixed income.
Of course, one needs to continue shopping around as Blind Bargains has advertised, “Western Digital Passport Portable 2.5″ 160GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive for $115.56 shipped. Buy.com has lowered its price on the Western Digital Passport Portable 160GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive for $135.56. Pay via Google Checkout, and the price
Falls to $115.56. With free shipping, this is $8 lower than our last mention and the lowest price we could find for a 2.5″ drive of this capacity.” Maybe I don’t know much about hard disks but I just bought a Western Digital at Circuit City that holds 250 GB for $99 but mine may be slower or bigger or something.
FHC concludes, “Note: The Blindness Auction Gateway is a part of this site, allowing you to search for blindness-related items on Ebay.” This is yet another cool feature of the Blind Bargains site.
Overall, I think this site is really cool. Give it a try if you plan on buying me a Christmas present (contact information below).
Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about MSS. I have, however, been talking about a version that is not available to the general public. I don’t know the CF schedule for release but I’d bet that the version I’m using will be out by ATIA.