SOHO — A small independent pharmacy in SoHo is catching heat for posting signs that state women can shop there without paying tax — while men have to ante up a 7 percent "man tax."
The signs in the store windows at 137 Thompson St. are meant to raise awareness about gender discrimination in the pricing of consumer goods, Thompson Chemists owner Jolie Alony told DNAinfo New York.
"I didn't do it to be sexist or anything. I love gays and I love transgender — I'm a New Yorker," Alony said. "It was just to make people aware. Not many people are aware of the fact of how much more women have to pay ... taxes on tampons and all of their women stuff, and men don't have to pay taxes on that stuff.
"We figured if people actually saw it, that they would understand," she added.
The Department of Consumer Affairs issued a report last year on "gender pricing" that found that women are charged an average of 7 percent more for similar products, from baby goods to supplies for seniors.
Alony said she's seen this firsthand as the owner of a pharmacy.
"Drugs are so expensive. Everything’s so expensive. And we’re just watching everything everybody pays for," she said. "It’s just something that’s been going on that’s been passed for so long and no one was ever aware of it."
New York lawmakers recently took a stand for consumer gender parity by eliminating sales tax on tampons, a move that is expected to save female New Yorkers a combined $10 million a year.
Alony said the response from New Yorkers, and specifically her customers, has generally been positive.
"The men customers were actually good," she said. "Some of them approved of it."
The signs went up Monday, the day after the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, in the wake of the controversy surrounding Trump's recorded comments about sexually assaulting women.
Alony said she's received intense backlash from "all over the country."
"They've been Facebooking, giving us scores on Facebook," she said. "One woman compared me to Hitler and a Muslim."
Commenters have left messages on the store's Facebook page saying things like, "I'm excited for your business to die."
"These are people that don't even live in New York and don't even know our place of business and don't even know what kind of people we have," Alony said. "Most New Yorkers got it."
Some commenters accused Alony of violating anti-discrimination laws, but she's not actually charging men extra — she's giving women a 7 percent discount by not charging sales tax. (The store is still paying the tax on all goods sold.)
"I didn't actually charge anybody — it was more of a statement," she said. "And then it went viral and then it went nuts."
She attributed the angry comments to the current political climate.
"All of these people are really angry with Hillary and really angry with the Donald," she said. "It was easy for them to vent their feelings out. They were able to be nasty to someone and that was me."
Despite the backlash, she said she doesn't regret putting up the signs.
"I'm not angry or upset on my end," she said. "I am happy I did it."