Many females have to deal with the fact that several products are often more expensive than male merchandise even when it’s pretty much the same item. However, one social media user noticed a significant difference and took a stand. They called out a popular outdoor store for charging women higher prices for the same product. The products have since been taken off the website as a result. MEC pulled products from their website after "pink tax" complaints.
UPDATE: Following the allegations of MEC pricing the female and male headbands differently, the products temporarily left the website. They have since resurfaced and are now both being priced for $30.
“Pink tax” is known online as a form of gender-based discrimination. The name stems from the observation that many products directed towards women are often pink. While it is not a literal tax for being a woman, it is an additional cost that many women pay more for the same products than men do.
In fact, a 2016 study found that women in Canada pay around 40% more than men when it comes to personal care products. For many females, this is the reality that they face. While many will just opt for the cheaper version regardless of if it is for men or not, one Reddit user decided to call out a huge outdoor retailer – and it's made a difference.
The post calls out Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) for posting their "Castelli head thingy” as more expensive for women than men. These products, that can be used as a neck warmer, hairband, face mask, helmet liner, or bandana, were being sold for $30 for the men's version, and $35 for the female version.
According to the Reddit post, the only things that were different from the two products were the colour schemes.
The Reddit user said they posted a question about the products on the website and received a private response from MEC. The shopper was told that they won’t change the price since it is set by their supplier.
“Well, I think retailers should take responsibility in not passing the 'pink tax' along to their female customers, even if their suppliers are the original source,” wrote the Reddit post. The social media user also claimed that MEC took down their original comment from the website.
Following the comment, MEC has taken the items down from their website. CBC received a statement from MEC stating that they are reviewing the products in this case and have not found any significant difference in product features. They also stated that they are connecting with their vendor partners now and are anticipating that both items will be back on the website with identical pricing.
Since the statement was posted on Reddit, there have been mixed reactions. Some people think that MEC has fallen victim to the pink tax.
Others are thinking that the female product could be new and offer more features, thus, increasing the price. Reddit users are also saying things like colour scheme, fabric, and size could all impact the price point.
Regardless of it is gender-based discrimination or not, MEC has taken it down from their website. As of now, there are 22 MEC stores across Canada, with the majority of their stores in BC. The company's headquarters are in Vancouver.
Narcity has reached out to MEC for comment and we will update this story when we receive a response.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.