Throughout the week, business across California are preparing for the end of charging differently for men’s and women’s items that are priced similarly.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1287 into law. According to the bill’s author Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), AB 1287 will “Prohibit a person, firm, partnership, company, corporation, or business from charging a different price for any 2 goods that are substantially similar, as defined, if those goods are priced differently based on the gender of the individuals for whom the goods are marketed and intended. The bill will authorize the Attorney General to seek an injunction to enjoin and restrain the continuance of those violations, and would authorize the court, in addition to granting the injunction, to impose a civil penalty, as specified.”
In layman’s term, specific products usually offered to different genders, such as razors, jeans, and different hygiene products, cannot be charged differently in stores. While the bill will allow for price differences when “goods have a significant difference in the cost or time to produce”, the end of the pink tax next month is expected to end the movement to get rid of the pink tax in California, which has been going strong since the 1990’s.
“The ‘Pink Tax’ is a gender based penalty that harms women who are already paid less,” said Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan in September. “This type of arbitrary gendered pricing has no place in California. It’s long past time to eliminate this type of inequality. I’m grateful Governor Newsom has signed this bill to ensure price equality in California.”
The change is expected to lead to not easy changes in stores across the state.
“With the prices now the same, we’re going to have to spend extra to make sure that all differences are more clearly marked,” said May, a manager for a large-scale chain retailer in San Bernardino, on Wednesday to the Globe. “You wouldn’t think it, with different aisles for men’s products and women’s products. Most people would just assume a change, and update on price stickers, and you’re done. But we’re foreseeing a lot of mix-ups as things costing the same will be one less indicator that someone bought the wrong thing.”
“And in a clothing section, when people stick things they don’t want anymore anywhere, it can get difficult. It’s not that we’re against the change. In fact, many want it. But it will lead to greater confusion amongst consumers is all.”
Other retailers expressed similar sentiments.
“A lot of price changes will happen come January to equalize some of the prices,” added Paul Keyes, a retail business owner in Orange County to the Globe. “It’s good that it will happen, but switching everything around will be a major hassle for sure. I can already see the returns coming from people who got the wrong thing, like a men’s version instead of a ladies version. Hopefully people will get used to it, or we’re going to have to further split up aisles based on products geared towards men and women.”
AB 1287 is expected to come into effect on January 1st.
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