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Male (Shopper) Interrupted

Male (Shopper) Interrupted

Kipp wonders why residents in the UAE accept the kind of stereotyping notable in this parts that most of us would find unacceptable in another country.

July 25, 2011 2:26 by

It’s a dog eat dog world. And in a cut-throat business like retail, opportunists abound even among small competitors as Union Co-op discovered when it opened its latest outlet in Dubai’s Barsha Mall, offering a 14-day discount promotion.

According to an article on Emirates 24/7 (the article aptly named ‘no woman, no buy’), single male shoppers have been barred from entering the newly opened Union Co-op. The reason? The Co-op realised that small cafeteria and shop owners were sending their staff to buy in bulk at the discounted prices. Discounts are up to 50 percent off for select items such as fruits, vegetables and household goods.

With the ban in place, unless male shoppers are accompanied by a female friend, they won’t be allowed in store. Well, at least until the 14-day promotion ends. It started on July 20.

While Kipp appreciates that the Union Co-op wants to make sure it’s the end users (and potential customers) who will benefit from the promotion, we’d rather relegate the banning of a particular gender of particular civil status to the pages of historical business practices. We’d rather not have to hear people say ‘this is something only businesses in the UAE or the GCC can get away with” even in this day and age. After all, isn’t discrimination of any kind, even just for a two-week period, ‘discrimination’ just the same?

Kipp also wonders if it really is just ‘single men’ that the store is excluding or if it’s the same ‘bachelors’ that are often shunned from malls, family properties and the like.

Surely there are other ways to combat the entry of ‘business opportunists’ that do not, at the same time, generalise a whole category of people. What about a limit on the number of bulk buys? Or a price limit for the total checkout? Something…other than the typical stereotype UAE residents have somehow numbly accepted as normal.

Kipp could also only speculate, of course. But the Union Co-op may not be that concerned about the possibility that any single male shoppers will not return after the 14-day promotion and that couples, families and, uhm, feminists will keep the profits flowing. After all, it’s hardly foreseeable that men would amass as one united, outraged group against the ban, right? Or receive any other even slightly irked banter from any other residents.

For our male readers, Kipp wonders, would you go to a shop that discriminates against your gender? For our female readers, what do you think about this gender ban?

1 Comment

  1. wee itar on July 25, 2011 9:11 pm

    Atleast some positive news from Co-op. It is good to know that discrimination has progressed from based on race to gender. I am surprised Co-op executives did not mention men of a particular ethnicity/race were banned. Lets face it. Who runs 90% of cafetaria and grocery stores?


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