A change.org petition is currently underway to ask Boots to review their apparent sexist pricing and it’s gaining quite a momentum too. But is it as clear cut as they make out?
The petition makes reference to just two examples – Boots disposable razors and Boots Botanics anti-ageing roll-on. If the entire argument is based on just two examples, you’d expect their cases to be pretty solid, wouldn’t you? Let’s take the Botanics roll-on as a starter. It’s £7.29 for men and £9.99 – obviously, a case of sexist pricing. Well, it would be if they were exactly the same – the men’s version is 12ml, the woman’s 15ml. They’re also packaged differently too.
With regard to the razors, men get more razors in the pack and pay less. Sexist, or could it be something else? For a start (and this was mentioned on a BBC programme last week), women’s razors are not the same – due to their different usage they usually have more lubrication, as they’re used on more sensitive areas of the body. They are also held differently, so often have differently designed handles. Basically, it’s not the same product. Also, let’s not forget that less women’s razors will be made than men’s – the whole element of supply and demand means that the lesser produced women’s razor would cost more to make.
But, let’s assume this just a case of sexist pricing – it shouldn’t be too hard to find more?
Boots create their Protect and Perfect Serum for men and women… and it’s priced equally.
Now, and I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I’ve seen some people comparing products based on their colour, with the assumption that if it’s pink it must be targeted at females. So, I had a look at babies potties – pink and blue are priced equally. In fact, as hard as I tried, I failed to find any examples of sexist pricing.
Boots eventually put out a press release about all of this…
We immediately conducted a review on all Boots own brand and proprietary ranges to better understand the cited examples. This review has reassured us that the two reported examples, Boots disposable razors and Botanics eye roll on, are indeed exceptional cases which do not completely meet our principles and we have taken action to correct these with immediate effect.
So, Boots are confirming these are the ONLY examples that can be found and now it’s been highlighted (they sell a LOT of stuff, so price discrepancies like this will get missed) they’ll correct it. Case closed, surely?
But, why target Boots? According to the petition because “Boots is one of the leading high street retailers”. Which is true but, as everybody knows, the high street is on the decline, with supermarkets pushing out many such businesses. Is it fair to target an individual high street retailer alone, when the supermarkets will be selling more of these products and, theoretically, causing more of the perceived “issue”? In fact, in the last 24 hours Boots has announced hundreds of staff are to be made redundant from their stores – what a great time to be targeting them (many on their Facebook page are saying they are refusing to shop with them until they “sort this out”)? In fact, the whole argument is lost when in virtually the next sentence when they state “these varying prices struck me most when I first had my hair cut”. As if Boots has anything to do with the price your hairdresser sets. Not only Boots is a relatively small player in all of this but, as demonstrated above, they’re not doing very much wrong. Boycott them until it’s sorted? You could be waiting a while.