Women Don’t Get Equal Pay, So This Shop Charges Them Less Too

Men make more, so they should pay more, according to one store’s philosophy.
The 76<100 store. (Photo: Facebook)
Apr 19, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

An unexpected bargain can often seal the deal when it comes to making a purchase. But at one store in Pennsylvania, women and girls are the only ones who receive the daily 24 percent discount.

“Pay what you’re paid,” reads Less Than 100’s website. That’s the thinking behind 76<100, the pop-up store created by the nonprofit company’s creator, Elana Schlenker. She’s bringing awareness to the pay gap between men and women by charging her clientele based on gender: Female customers pay 76 percent of the retail price, and men pay a full 100 percent.

While the average pay disparity between men and women in America is 78 cents to the dollar, it varies state by state.

“We’re only at 76 percent right now in Pennsylvania,” Schlenker told MSNBC this week. “I want people to come into the shop and talk about that. I want to raise the visibility of the project locally so people see it’s still an issue.”

Inspired by 1960s author Valerie Solanas, who charged men twice as much to purchase SCUM Manifesto, her feminist book about how men ruined the world, Schlenker thought a similar pay structure was an interesting and fun way to tackle the subject.

Filled with ceramics, textiles, potted plants, and jewelry all made by women around the U.S., the shop showcases talented female artists while making a statement about inequity.

So far, customers have been taken the pay scale in stride and not as an act of discrimination toward men.

“I’ve been really pleased with all the different kinds of people who have come,” Schlenker told Mic. “My very first customer brought her granddaughter in and wanted to talk about the issues with her.” Male customers have been happy to pay full price, Schlenker said, and the guys often mention all the women in their lives who should be paid equally for their work.

Store patrons can get a little extra education with their shopping, as well. Schlenker wrote up an informational sheet that explains the pay gap in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, along with tips on how to ask employers for a raise.

The store debuted at the beginning of April and will stay open in Pittsburgh for the rest of the month before Schlenker packs up and heads to different cities around the U.S., where the discount will reflect the individual state’s gap. The next stop is New Orleans, where the store will likely be called 66<100—Louisiana has the worst pay gap in the nation at 66 percent.