LONSBERRY: Pricing coffee based on gender

Today, at a couple of progressive coffee shops in Rochester, men have to pay extra.

Twenty percent extra.

It’s some sort of feminist awareness thing, and is based on the assertion that men make 20% more than women and, consequently, should pay more. It’s one of those “raise awareness” and “start a conversation” things that really sounds like a “let’s discriminate” thing.

So, men buying coffee at the 1872 Café on West Main Street and at Coffee Connections on South Avenue, will be charged 20% more than women. A price differential in order to redress past inequity and injustice.

Which seems like an interesting principle.

I wonder if other progressive hot spots will institute similar price justice.

For example, after we stick it to men, we ought to stick it to white people. In America, white people of both genders make, on average, 34% more than black people of both genders. So the $5 cup of coffee for a black person should be the $6.70 cup of coffee for white people, right?

I mean, it only seems right, right?

Of course, if an Asian comes in, he would have to, in the interest of justice and wage equity, pay $7.65 for that same cup of coffee.

A transgender person would get a discount, as would a gay man, but a lesbian would have to pay extra, as lesbians tend to out-earn heterosexual women.

Foreign born people, unless they are Indian engineers or doctors, would get a discount, as would anybody who dropped out of college or high school. 

Similarly, people born outside wedlock get paid less for doing the same work – an oddity of statistics – and so should not have to pay as much. Jewish people, on the other hand, should pay substantially more as some 44% of Jewish households have incomes of at least $100,000, making them the wealthiest religious group per capita in America. Hindus come in second at 36% topping $100,000. Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other extreme, are the poorest religious group in America with just 4% earning $100,000 or more. They should probably get their coffee for free.

And, though I hate to bring it up, people from states with Democratic governors or cities with Democratic mayors should also have to pay less, as they tend to make less. And people from states with Republican governors should be on a sliding scale upward as recent years have seen their wages increase steadily.

People who belong to unions would owe a premium, counting wage and benefits, of about 20%.

In Rochester, at these two coffee shops, they may also want to track people and adjust prices by ZIP code. For example, based on relative income, someone from Pittsford should be charged more than twice as much for a cup of coffee as someone from Greece – the one having a median household income of $106,000 and the other coming in at $49,000. But that person from Greece in turn should pay 50% more for his coffee than someone from Sodus – with a median household income of $35,000.

Further, young people have lower incomes than middle-aged people and should, apparently, receive some sort of discount. And people who’ve never been to prison should be made to pay more, ditto for those who’ve never been single parents. Efforts by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise the minimum wage in recent years also impact socially conscious pricing – a fast-food worker should have to pay 40% more than a farm worker, to reflect their different base wage. 

Likewise, people with engineering degrees should pay more than people with social work, English literature and Gender Studies degrees. 

And all of that is just if you base price equity on current income. If you factor in historical grievances and disadvantages, shouldn’t retail prices in America be based on race? Is that where we will finally implement reparations? If white privilege unavoidably and always benefits whites, shouldn’t prices in stores help settle that score by being discounted for blacks?

And shouldn’t Native Americans basically get things for free?

And what of Latinos, especially in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California – all states taken from Hispanic governance by the United States? Aren’t they owed something?

If we’re raising awareness and starting a conversation by punishing a demographic group we say is unfairly benefited – males – and benefiting a group we say is unfairly discriminated against – females – then doesn’t the logic of social justice say that other price differentials should likewise be created?

Or is this just a stupid stunt?

And are different prices for different people always discriminatory, illegal and morally wrong?

Even when you’re bashing men.

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