Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fun With Statutes: Blind Goods

It's fun to look at State Statute books from time to time and wonder how the laws that are there came about. Obviously, each new law has a story behind it, and sometimes it's pretty easy to see what activity precipitated the statute change.

Take Wisconsin Statute 47.03(3)(a) (a), which says:

47.03(3)(a) (a) No person may advertise any product as being blind-made or sell or distribute any product that is advertised as being blind-made unless at least 75% of the labor involved in creating the product was performed by blind or visually impaired persons.

So there was obviously some slimeball out there running around selling something and telling people blind people had made it, when all they really did was play a Stevie Wonder CD at the factory while it was being made. There has to be some benefit to blind-made goods, whether they get preferential contracts or people like helping out the blind by buying their product.

So I envisioned a conversation like this:

Seller: So take a look here at this beauty of a car - it's 100% blind made. Your purchase of this fine automobile will really help out all those blind kids I'm always bumping into in my car.

Buyer: Um... It looks like the car doesn't have any wheels, bumpers, or a roof.

Seller: Yeah, well it was made by the blind. They skip a detail here or there. They can't see.

Buyer: Are you sure this car wasn't stolen? It's up on blocks and has an "I Brake for Unicorns" sticker on it.

Seller: This is blind labor at its best, my friend. Don't mock the crippled. They work cheap, which is why you're getting such a good deal.

Buyer: I don't even like the color - I'm not really a pea-green kind of guy.

Seller: Green? That car is obviously midnight blue. Maybe you should come down and work at the plant.

Buyer: Wait... what? Are you saying I'm blind now?

Seller: Well, you obviously can't see what a great deal you're getting on this finely tuned, brand new car.

Buyer: Will a personal check do?

Do we need to have this same statute in place for products manufactured by other minority groups? I would like some assurance that my candy bars are being produced by at least 75% Oompa Loompa.