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Sunday, January 3, 2016

WHY WOMEN’S STUFF COSTS MORE - a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from December 2012
It has been some time since I have alienated anyone with my stupid opinions, so I am going with a sure-fire subject. Women readers will of course assume I am a misogynistic jerk; I assure you that is not the case…except for the jerk part.

Several times a year TV news shows do documentaries on the unfair high costs of consumer products for women.  These shows do comparison shopping for men’s products and then show how the same products and or service is much more expensive for women.  I assume these shows are well received as they are run as often as the ever popular wardrobe make-up and hairdo before and after makeovers.

Are these comparisons really fair?

Are men conspiring to fix prices and over charge women?

Let’s see.

Women’s haircuts cost more than a comparable trim for a man.

Women’s clothes cost far more than men’s clothes.

Women are charged more for dry cleaning than men.

Surveys and comparison shopping will demonstrate these facts every time in every part of the country.  How is it businesses can universally conspire to charge such high prices to women?  Why don’t enterprising women step in and provide similar products and services at “fair” prices and break the “Men’s Cartel?” How is it that the law of supply and demand is suspended when it comes to products and services for women?

The answers are: They don’t, they can’t, and it isn’t. 

The truth is, products and services for women cost what they cost because if they cost less the providers could not make a profit.

The truth is these TV shows do not compare comparable products and services; they compare similar products and services.

Let’s look at the products and services these TV shows typically survey.

Clothes: These surveys love to demonstrate that a man’s dress shirt can cost $50 while a women’s blouse at the same store will cost $75.  Clearly this is unfair right?

Well…men’s dress shirts typically come in three or four solid colors and 75% are white.  Men’s shirts come in long sleeve or short sleeve, button down or stayed, and buttoned sleeve or cuffed.
Women’s blouses come in an infinite number of styles, different collars and different ruffles and sleeve styles. Women demand a style that is unique.  Women’s blouses come in an infinite number of colors and patterns.  Women’s blouses costs more to manufacture because they cannot take advantage of the economies of scale.  Women are different from men…women demand differences in their clothes; women’s demands are more expensive.

If a woman runs into another woman who has the same dress, they both get embarrassed and upset.  When a man runs into another man wearing the same suit and tie, they both give each other a high five!

  “Dude, nice suit, nice tie!  I see you got the memo.” 

When is the last time a man bought a suit, wore it to an affair and then returned it and demanded his money back? Never! When is the last time a man ever bought a suit and then demanded a rebate when the same suit went on sale one month later? Never!

Men and women are different; the difference makes women’s products more expensive.

Haircuts This is easy.  Women are pickier about their hair. Make a mistake and the salon will get an earful and may not get paid.  If a man does not like a haircut, he will pay up, wait a week for it to grow out and then go to another barber.  It is simply cheaper to service a man.

Men and women are different; the difference makes women’s products more expensive.

Dry Cleaning: Once again ladies you demand more service and you are pickier about the services you pay for.  Are you wrong to be picky, no, but it does cost the providers more to meet your standards. 

Watch a women pick up her dry cleaning.  They go through every piece with a fine tooth comb and if a garment is damaged or not cleaned properly the dry cleaner will be held to task.

Watch a man pick up his dry cleaning.  He counts the number of garments to be sure they are all there, he pays, says thank you and he leaves.

Men and women are different; the difference makes women’s products more expensive.

OK ladies have at it.  Cranky Old Man has not been beaten up for his opinions for some time.  I am either masochistic or misogynistic.  I’ve been called worse.


  1. You may be right to some extent but, in general, I think they're overcharging us because they CAN!!

  2. You're right about the manufacture of clothes. Women's bodies are all so different, it costs more to make things in so many different sizes and styles. And women's styles change so often, (even with each season!) while men are happy to wear the same style year after year. It might be cheaper to make a giant batch of one-size-fits-all, but what self respecting woman would wear that every day?
    Dry cleaning costs? Never use it, I buy only stuff that can go in my washing machine.

  3. I think you're right to a certain extent. But I do also think women's items cost more because the market will bear it, i.e. women will pay more for grooming/clothing etc than men will, because there is more at stake for a woman around her appearance than there is for a man. The hairdresser thing is a good example: most women these days have pretty uncomplicated hair styles. And in the 80s when I was coming of age men with their long hair and feathered mullets had just as complex hairstyles as women did. The only reason women's haircuts cost more is because we will pay it. My husband gets his hair cut for $15 at a barber's. Meanwhile I am happy with myself for finding a salon that charges me $60 instead of $95.
    Women's clothes are a bit more complicated in cut than men's - it's so much harder for a woman (yes even slim ones) to find a pair of pants that fit than it is for a man. So sure, maybe manufacturers can justify women's shirts and pants being more expensive. Women's shampoo, moisturiser, pyjamas, underwear, razor blades? Nope!
    And don't get me started on "for her" versions of generic stuff, where something like a pen or a hairdryer or a hammer is produced in pastel colours for no earthly reason at all!
    There's one other thing that makes women's clothing cost more, I've noticed. Women's clothes for work don't tend to wear as well as men's as they're made of less hardy stuff. Instead of wool jackets and cotton shirts we tend to wear silky tops, fine-knit cardigans, fancy shoes, etc. I've noticed that walking around the city with a laptop bag is quite rough on my clothes! It's hard to find hard-wearing clothes for women actually.

  4. Women's shirts, or blouses, cost more to make and to dry clean because they are made differently to accommodate her bust. It takes a bit more time to both sew the material correctly and to hand press a woman's shirt. As for hair, a woman's hair is longer, most of the time, and so it costs more.

  5. One of Jackie's points I liked is that there is more of a burden on women to look less ordinary than men. We are judged and not just by other women. Appearance can get a woman a job and help her keep it though at less pay than the randomly dressed fellow.
    I loved jobs where I had to wear a uniform--banking.

  6. I agree with Jackie...."because the market will bear it". Remember the old theory "men are hunters while women are gatherers"? I've heard it said shopping is the modern day version of gathering.

    Think about it...go into a department store, say Macy's, and you'll find women's clothes are all over several floors. Petites, business, casual, etc. The selection is HUGE. By comparison, the men's department is in one corner, or on one wall, on one floor. We have "regular" and "big and tall". That's pretty much it. Women are simply avid shoppers, while men see it pretty much as a chore. At sale time you'll see women fighting for a particular shirt or sweater. Men won't. They might fight over a big screen TV, but that falls more into the hunting category. To men a TV is usually synonymous with sports...a physical challenge, winner take all, survival of the fittest.

    Many women live to shop, and will pay whatever price they need to to get what they want, and the marketing savvy business types know it. And I suspect the same goes for hairdos, and properly pressed clothes, etc, too. Of course they DO look nice, while we men often times, OK, most times, fall short.

  7. I watched both GS and PHG be patient and find fashions that cost them much less because of sales.
    They also avoided items that needed dry cleaning... probably because the nearest dry cleaner is miles away.
    As for the haircut... they never just got a haircut and it took three hours.

  8. It's because we are so worth it Cranky. So worth it.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  9. You know, the old "sticks and stones." But you guys like it. How come you
    guys always pick the hottie? Ha, you know you like it.

  10. I know in my next life I'm coming back as a man... Life is not fair to women. I'm totally jealous when my husband can go in a clothing store, pick up a pair of pants, look at the size tag, buy them, bring them home, and they fit. Me...I look at all the rows and rows of racks and start sweating at the thought of having to try stuff on and then make a selection. Needless to say, I buy very little. My husband and my checkbook love it.

  11. Women's stuff costs more because men rule the world.

  12. Since you asked for women to have at it, I shall refrain.

  13. Ah, the simplicity of being a man in the fashion department. Before we were married, I accompanied my husband to buy his mother a gift. I steered him into a classy apparel store. He approached the first clerk he saw and asked, "Do you sell dresses?" She replied, "Yes" with a bemused glance at me. We both burst out laughing when he followed that up with, "Oh. okay, I'll take one!"


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