Pharmacy charges ‘man tax’
A pharmacy in lower Manhattan last week caused somewhat of an uproar by charging a one-day, seven percent “man tax” to its male shoppers to raise awareness about gender–pricing discrimination.
Last Monday, one sign went up at Thompson Chemists’ front window reading, “New store policy: All Female Customers Shop Tax Free.” Another read, “All Male Customers Are Subject To A 7% Man Tax.”
The move was in response to the “pink tax,” the name given to higher prices women pay for body wash, razors, deodorants and other everyday products. Last year, a study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found women’s products across a wide range of hygiene products cost seven percent more than men in the city. Many were similar items.
“Women are spending more in general and we make less, so we deserve to have a break,” store owner Jolie Alony told Daily Dot.
Despite the announcements on the signs, men paid full price while women gained a seven percent discount under the one-day scheme.
The move was reportedly positively received in the store, but resulted in a flood of largely negative comments online over the last week as the story went viral. Posters charged that the chain was conducting in reverse sexism. Urging critics to “calm down,” the pharmacy described the scheme on its Facebook page as a “friendly reminder to treat your friends and neighbors as equal.”
In early October, Boxed.com, the online bulk seller of groceries and household products, similarly pledged to reduce prices for female-targeted items that are more expensive than those for their male counterparts. The cost of tampons and feminine pads — not subject to taxes in some states – were lowered by 9 percent.
Said Boxed CEO and founder Chieh Huang, in a statement, “We are taking a firm position in an effort to correct these gender pricing wrongs even if we take a hit on margin because we hope that this small change will be the catalyst to a great win in equality.”
- SoHo Pharmacy Charging ‘Man Tax’ To Raise Awareness Of Gender Price Discrimination – Gothamist
- Thompson Chemists Facebook Page – Facebook
- New York pharmacy’s ‘man tax’ to highlight tampon costs prompts backlash – Reuters
- NYC pharmacy pushes for gender equality by charging 7 percent ‘man tax’ – Daily Dot
- Boxed.com Takes Stand Against Pink Tax – Boxed.com
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of campaigns focused on gender-price discrimination? Will the “pink tax” movement become a bigger issue for stores? How should retailers respond?