Commentary

Higher Price Tags For Women Because, Well, They Seem To Care

A story on Wednesday in The Drum revealed that some British retailers are charging women up to twice as much more for the same goods as they're charging men. For example, Brit retailer Tesco charged women double the price for 10 pink disposable razors as it did for the men’s equivalent. Levi’s 501 jeans were nearly half more expensive than the men’s version.

Apparently this is nothing new: The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs recently reported that women were charged on average 7% more than men for similar products. And a 2012 Forbes study said the "price gap" costs women around $1,000 a year.

A Tesco spokesman made matters worse by saying, "A number of products for females have additional design and performance features which can add to the retail price." Yes, I can see how pink might be more expensive than blue or black.

If I was of the female persuasion, this would really piss me off. But rather than rant about yet another way women are not treated equally by society, let's look at the underlying psychology.

I think retailers take advantage of the fact that women think that shopping is somehow fun. (That it isn’t seems not to matter.) While men gather to do highly evolved things like yell at the television set "Oh my god, what a hit!!' or sit silently next to another man watching ex-elite military mercenaries slaughter a couple hundred jihadists trying to kill them right back, women go to the mall for entertainment.

Now, men do not go to malls to see what's what, because just being in a mall feels something like having to play in the plastic ball pit at some fast-food joint alongside kids who smell like sour milk and clearly have advanced cases of Ebola. Men only enter malls to go to one store, buy one thing and beat it back to the car as fast as possible (well, maybe pausing long enough for some churros). We are not temped by those big HALF OFF signs in the window or piles of discounted sweaters that look like a pipe bomb was used to display them.

Some malls are adjacent to big-box electronics, hardware or office-supply stores -- and if we have time before kick-off, we might go in to kick a few tires. After all, you never know when the 80-inch LCDs might be on sale.

Every card-carrying male I know would rather spend a lifetime arguing that the pants he bought without trying them on look JUST FINE than have to enter a changing room. First you get eyeballed by someone who is pretty sure you are going to secrete the garment under your jacket and make a run for it.

Second, we are not wearing underwear under our jeans and really don't want anyone glancing past those ill-closed curtains and pulling some sort of alarm that sounds like the bombs are about to rain down on Coventry. Lastly, if you have ever spent more than 10 minutes on porn sites, you know for a fact that somewhere in the cubby is a hidden camera recording your junk.

Women, on the other hand, think that changing clothes (both publicly and privately) is fun. They call it "trying on" — as if they didn't know that the end result will be something that looks just right in the store but will spend all eternity hanging unused in the acreage that comprises their closets.

Trying on is also a necessary part of going out to a two-hour cocktail party and/or a three-week trip to Spain. It’s as if the garments have a unique fit or look at that moment because they have made the consideration set. And while proper accessorizing can indeed influence the "look" for the evening, smacking the hips of the garment do not in fact make them shrink a size or two.

So we are left with the impression that women have a relationship with stuff they buy that transcends the usual male "that'll do" attitude of shopping and deciding what to wear. It’s this personalization of cloth stitched together in China that makes women rationalize prices with the satisfactory conclusion of it being "just perfect!"

And yes, it DOES make you look thinner, dear.

 

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