So women pay more. Duh.

Last week, in an otherwise dull day refreshingly bereft of beheadings, bombings or bank failures The Times headlined with the intrepid scoop of sexism on the high street revealing the ‘shocking’ price disparity between so called female products vs. male.

In other news, the sun rose in the east and set in the west.

Speaking candidly, I’m a retailer’s dream come true. There are few things that I can’t be upsold. Glossy packaging? Slick logo? Cue that quick burst of serotonin direct to the cerebral cortex. It’s what makes me long for this season’s high-waist boot cut jeans despite a wardrobe replete with denim, purchase yet ANOTHER nude lipstick promising 24 hour moisture and spend a mortgage payment for cream laced with unicorn intestine small enough to pass undetected through airport security. (Where 78 of 100 women tested claimed they may or may not have noticed a negligable reduction of crows feet.) How I covet thee. I’m a sucker for the stuff. Hook. Line. Sinker. I’m well aware of this weakness and hardly expect it warrants front page news, thank you very much. Fess up girls, I’m not the only one. How else does one explain the multi-grillion pound cosmetic and fashion industries? The Man would rather stick pins in his eyes than shop. I would rather stick pins in my eyes than shop with him. Though personally it’s not limited to retail excursions. Just the other day I was lured into upgrading my boiler coverage. (What? Doesn’t everyone take out insurance on their toaster?) Shoe shine? Easily swayed into having my calf skin knee-highs gleaming with imported whale blubber and squid ink (Calm down. I give to Greenpeace.) Washing the car mulling the merit of Silver vs Gold packages I go for Gold, naturally, whereby for an entirely reasonable £5 extra I have my air vents swiped squeaky clean with a Q-tip. Yes please.

That’s not to say I’m a spendthrift. S’true. (Stop that snickering in the back.) Where I may be profligate in some areas I’m a right stingy miser in others. I can linger in front of the produce aisle for ages, sparking not a few funny looks internally debating the merit of Cos vs Iceberg, Heinz vs Branston, Jamie’s vs. Loyd’s and even swapped my Virgin membership for the community leisure centre. See? Frugal. Token gestures, perhaps but which nonetheless evoke a smug sense of virtuous satisfaction and similar feel good hormones as a new pair of Kurt Geiger boots polished with whale blubber.

Let’s face it girls, retailers charge more because they can. Whenever and wherever. And why not when it’s their fiduciary duty to shareholders? We are complicit co-conspirators perfectly able to vote with our purse and should not pretend otherwise. I’m entirely at liberty to buy the generic navy razors, and who’s to say a man wouldn’t want the candy floss pink blades with the icky, odious female silhouette? (No judgement here.) Who’s being sexist now? Feigning indignant outrage and playing the ‘sexist card,’ threatening parliamentary inquiries is laughable at best, insulting at worst. We pay more when we want to pay more, and resent the suggestion we’re unsuspecting mugs hoodwinked and victimised by those greedy, scheming, hand-wringing capitalists. I’m an excellent shopper… Yes. Definitely an EXCELLENT shopper. I’ll spend or save as, how and when I please, dammit. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to call British Gas. My hand blender’s just packed in. (Who’s laughing now?)



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