Retailers: Enough With the Pink!

Posted on August 1, 2013

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… and guess what?  Non-average-sized people want more choices, too.

It was time.  Some of Lila’s favorite shirts have reached that point of decline where, well, you really don’t want to go out in public looking like that.  This is what happens to favorites:  they wear out.  Having dutifully retired a handful of these favorites to the car-washing, lawn-mowing, barn-mucking drawer, Lila set out for replacements, and that’s where the trouble usually starts.

Lila is petite.  This does not mean willowy and slender; no, it is the retailer’s politically correct term for “short.”  This confines Lila to the Petites section of the store.  Wait – is there a Petites section?  “Not here, sorry, we only carry our petite sizes online,” comes the sad refrain from the retailers.  What?  You mean I have to pay shipping just to try something on?  “Sorry.  Wish we could do more.  It’s the same story for our talls and plus-sized women.”

So Lila hits another store.  Look!  Up ahead, glowing like a beacon of hope!  A sign for the Petites section!  Lila passes roughly a football-field-sized section of women’s clothing in all colors, materials, styles, choices, choices, choices!…  only to arrive at… the postage-stamp-sized Petites section with three styles of shirt, which only seem to come in two colors.  After rummaging through the ONE, yes, that’s right, ONE rack of shirts, Lila found ONE, yes, ONE, that would actually fit her… and it was [shudder] pink.  Really girly pink.

This is another effect of shopping in a very limited Petites section:  you get leftovers, and the leftovers are often pink.  I do not much care for pink, but I have a pink (well, okay, “merlot”) rain jacket and a pink packable down vest and a pink striped shirt (not yet worn out), because too often, when I need a replacement item… that is all there is.  Even my hiking boots have pink trim, though thankfully, it is subtle.  I do not like pink.  Too often, when I find something I like, I don’t get a whole lot of choices about it.

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Here’s a clue, retailers:  these days, retail is about choices.  If your Petites section is perpetually sold out, you could probably make a few more bucks by… oh, I don’t know… adding more stock, maybe?  And listen up:  if pink is always the last color left on the rack, you know what that means?  Women like the other colors better.  Just because we are female does not mean we all love pink.  Personally, I’m a green / blue person.   How many sales are you losing by not offering a choice in the first place?  And what message are you sending to customers who don’t fall neatly into the center of the bell curve?  Screw you if you are short, tall, fat, or thin.  We only serve the very average.  Hey retailers:  if you want to save money on manufacturing, quit pretending that you offer choices.  Just make everything in a size medium, and be done with it.

This extends as well to sporting gear.  After my hiking trip recently, I went on a hunt for a new day pack.  Even the smallish ones were, well, quite a bit larger than my flimsy old backpack.  Everything rode up behind my head or drooped down onto my rear.  No, I think that will not do.

But wait!  Lila was in the Army, you are thinking.  Surely they don’t have petite gear in the military? How did she cope?  Well, actually, they do have petite women’s dress uniforms; they do have short sizes in the battle uniforms; they do make small boots.  Even helmets and gas masks come in sizes.

The gear, now, that was a different story.  The flak vests and body armor were too long, and the rucksack was larger than I would have liked.  I’m sure it looked ridiculous.  Thankfully, the military finally recognized the safety and mobility issues involved and is testing new women’s body armor. It’s reported to be a huge improvement.  If only retailers cared as much about sporting equipment!

I’ll go ahead and put in a plug here for the day pack I finally went with (on sale and with a discount, since it is normally a pricey $80):  the Eddie Bauer Cassidy pack.  It was the only one I found that fit my back and adjusted well.  It’s designed for women, so it comes in – no surprise – a pinkish color.

I got the gray.

The Eddie Bauer Cassidy pack.  Not pink.

The Eddie Bauer Cassidy pack. Not pink.

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