A Manhattan pharmacy has begun charging its male customers an extra 7 percent “man tax” as a protest against gender-based income inequality as well as a political move to promote Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
The architect of the scheme is Thompson Chemists owner Jolie Alony, who claims that the tax helps level a playing field that is tilted against women. It also makes a political statement in support of women generally, and the Democratic Party in particular.
“We thought it’d be a great idea with all the political things going on—with Clinton being such a woman and the other guy and his womanizing,” Alony said.
The SoHo pharmacy posted two signs in the store’s front windows Monday announcing the new policy. A pink sign in one window reads, “New store policy: All Female Customers Shop Tax Free,” while a blue sign in the other window, reads “All Male Customers Are Subject to a 7% Man Tax.”
She also referred to the so-called “pink tax,” the extra amount women are reportedly charged for certain products or services, such as dry cleaning, personal care products and car maintenance. Added to income disparity, Alony said, the pink tax places an undue burden on women that needs to be rectified.
“We wanted to share that women deserve to get a break, and men deserve to be charged 7 percent more. Women are spending more in general and we make less, so we deserve to have a break,” Alony said.
Last year, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a study claiming that products marketed to women in New York cost on average 7 percent more than equivalent products marketed to men, which explains Alony’s choice of a 7 percent tax for men.
Alony said she has already received wildly varied reactions to her signs announcing the man tax, which were posted Monday. While some couples have found the sign entertaining, others “were a little upset about it, saying, ‘Fuck you,’ ‘You’re being a sexist,’ and to get a lawyer,” Alony reported.
“We live in a big world, and I think we need to raise awareness,” she said.
Alony acknowledged that gender-based fees by a retail service establishment is a violation of New York City pricing laws, so she is not sure how long the ploy will last.
In reality, she said, the pharmacy is offering a 7 percent discount for women—effectively cutting out sales tax—rather than charging men more. Alony is reportedly paying the women’s sales tax out of her own pocket.
The pharmacy has not explained whether it will tax transgender males under the new policy.
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