Does Gender Pricing Exist in the Dry Cleaning Industry?
For years, the issue of gender pricing has been brought up in relation to dry cleaning bills. This big issue has been a controversial one to say the least, with President Obama bringing the issue to light again recently when he joked about the dry cleaning gender gap. Does it cost more for a woman to get her dry cleaning done than it does a man? Yes, but is it truly because the customer is a woman instead of a man? Dry cleaners have had to address this many times in their careers, and have faced legal risks due to it. So why is it that women’s clothing tends to cost more?
Dry cleaners can offer cheap laundering and pressing of men’s dress shirts because men’s clothing can fit in a standard-sized machine that quickly and efficiently removes wrinkles from damp shirts. However, women’s blouses have much more variety in terms of fabrics, cuts, and construction; women’s clothing tends to have significantly more detail and often ornamentation such as rhinestones or special buttons that men’s clothing doesn’t include. Simply put, an oddly shaped cut is not going to fit on a shirt press, and therefore they need to be finished by hand, creating a much more labor-intensive job for dry cleaning staff. Is it fair then, to charge the same price for more work? This is the point that dry cleaners are trying to drive home.
The risk of clothing damage is much higher should a dry cleaner facility attempt to use the men’s shirt press for a women’s blouse. For example, the cut and fabric of the blouse may be too small for a press geared for men’s body types, and therefore may tear. Most people would surely agree that women should not be charged a higher price due to the fact that they are a woman; in fact dry cleaners have stated that if a woman’s shirt can fit on the pressing machine that is uses, it should certainly be finished that way unless the customer states otherwise. It’s a good idea that dry cleaning staff be encourages to share the best way to do ladies shirts with all of their customers to ensure understanding of prices and fees.
At Irving Weber Associates (IWA) we understand the unique risks that Dry Cleaners face in serving the public. Included in our FabriCare Advantage insurance program are specialized coverages that many standard Dry Cleaning Liability and Commercial Launderer policies don’t provide. Please Contact Us today to learn more about our products and services.