The New York pharmacy which made headlines last week when it introduced a one-day “man tax” has received a massive backlash including threats and hate speech.
The pharmacy, Thompson Chemists in New York’s SoHo district, announced the policy on Columbus Day by displaying two signs: one stating, “New store policy: All female customers shop tax-free,” while the other said: “All male customers are subject to a 7% man tax.”
Jolie Alony, who with her husband has owned the pharmacy for 22 years, said at the time that she wanted men who shopped at her store to understand the extra costs women bear when they shop.
The decision followed a report published in December 2015 that analysed pricing in New York City and found that, on average, women pay around 7% than men for similar products; a phenomenon often referred to as the “pink tax.”
Alony told the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Sebastien Malo that soon after the signs appeared, the hate mail began to flow in – via email, phone messages and on social media.
“We got 3000 crazy emails… it was just to show awareness and it went overboard,” Alony told Malo.
Several messages read, “You should burn in hell, you should die, you sexist pig,” she said.
The 7% cost difference was actually a discount to female customers, achieved by waiving most of New York’s sales taxes, rather than a tax on male shoppers.
On Facebook, the pharmacy asked customers to “Calm down SoHo friends!
“As stated in the article: ‘men aren’t actually coughing up more than they normally would at the register; rather, she’s offering a 7% discount for women—’ this makes up for how women are often overcharged for over-the-counter and beauty products (on average 7% according to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs).
“This is a friendly reminder to treat your friends and neighbors as equals and to read articles in their entirety before passing judgment.”
The pharmacy also asked Facebook visitors to “avoid locker room banter”.
“BS! You morons are all brainwashed by 3rdWave feminist propaganda (sic),” wrote one visitor to the site.
“I think men should sue this pharmacy for Civil Rights violations,” wrote another several times. “Even if you don’t get the money from suing them, just keep them, Thompson Chemists, tied up in court. The court fees would be so staggering, it may put them out of business.”
“You’re not going to be anyone’s ‘neighborhood pharmacy’ after this,” wrote a third.
But there were messages of support as well.
“Looks like the men over there in New York can’t take a joke,” wrote Daniel from Chicago. “I applaud you Thompson Chemists for making an obviously needed statement for the time.”
“Thompson Chemists discounted women’s products by 7% and basically ‘ate’ the 7% tax overage,” wrote Yli Chaleff. “I think a lot of people owe Thompson Chemists [an] apology.”