A few weeks ago I was shopping at the Vera Bradley store. When I’m at the outlet mall, I can’t resist the opportunity to pop in and see if I can find a great bargain. If you aren’t familiar with Vera Bradley, they sell luggage, handbags and accessories and are best known for the quilted colorful patterns they use. The patterns tend to have a feminine feel- floral, swirly…… you get the idea. Although the bags were originally designed with women in mind, I do believe the style appeals to those who really like that look and in all the times I’ve been in the store, it is predominantly filled with women and girls. The few men that I have encountered there have been miserable, grumpy and bored from being there way too long while their loved one is shopping… you get the picture. In all fairness, there are many women who don’t like the store for the same reason. It’s the kind of store that really does cater to a very specific consumer.
While I was contemplating whether the 60% off justified a totally unnecessary purchase of a totally cute purse, I overheard the following conversation between two store employees, a manager and a salesperson:
Manager: We need to begin working on collecting birthdates from customers and it should be done in a very specific way.
Salesperson: How should we do it?
Manager: You should try not to do it in a way that will let them say no. It should be at the time of purchase.
Manager: Just say- “Month and day of your birth?” No pronouns
Manager: No ma’am, no sir. No pronouns.
While I would not have expected to hear that conversation in that particular store, it gave me hope. Whether it was a corporate policy or specific to that location, it is a step. I see any sign that people are aware that gender is more than snips and snails and puppy dog tails versus sugar and spice and everything nice, as a move in the right direction. It might seem small and insignificant, but if two more single stores or companies were to make a change that showed gender awareness to their staff and they inspired two stores…just think about it!
It brings to mind a commercial from the early 80’s for Faberge Organics Shampoo. If you were around then, you might remember it:
If we continue to share these small things and they are shared by those we share with….even if it’s only two friends…well, you can do the math. I’m going to keep sharing blog posts, infographics and articles on Facebook and here at Dandelion Fuzz. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I think every little thing makes a difference.