Special Report: Gender Surcharge

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's a battle of the sexes, for the best bargain.

The January 2010 Edition of Consumer Reports sparked some controversy after an attention grabbing survey that reveals women often pay more than men for personal products.

The ConsumerWatch teams puts this theory to the test, to find out if Valley area residents are paying a gender surcharge.

We send a man and a woman shopping on the same day, at the same store, with the same list.

Our shoppers buy Dove soap, Schick Quattro Razors, and Gillette Shave Gel.

They also pick up some Speed Stick and a bottle of Lucky You.

So who is the lucky one?

"If it's the same product, I guess, overall it should be the same price,"says one of our testers, Bryan Brown-Garay.

Here's what we found.

Both the men's and Lady Speed Stick cost the same amount, $1.88.

The same is true for Lucky You, both are $10 a bottle.

Our guy pays more, though, for the Dove soap. It's $2.97 a little over 30 cents more than the other version.

On the other hand, the shave gel and razor are more expensive for the woman.

The Gillette Satin Care costs $1.97, whereas the Gillette Series Shave Gel is $1.87.

The Schick Quattro for Women is $6.97 versus $6.47.

Gender surcharge or not, our testers say they'll now pay more attention to price.

"I think that I'll possibly do more research on the products because if it's different prices for pretty much the same product, then, it's better to get more bang for your buck," says our female tester Ventrine Parham.

"If it gets the job done, it gets the job done," says Brown-Garay.

In fact, that's exactly what experts recommend and how some shoppers say they're already saving.

"I found that a man's fusion razor works just as well instead of spending like an extra 50 cents to a dollar for say a Venus," says Lynn Summers.

"Like deodorant for instance, you don't have to have all that pretty, smell good stuff, you just need it to work, and I mean, I use right guard. I thought, I'm gonna try this, cause if my sons can use this and they can stay dry, why can't I?," says Sandi Sisk.

We contacted some of the companies that make these products.

A Procter and Gamble spokesperson says this about the Gillette brand.

"There is a difference in the formula for the products. We design our products specifically for each audience.

The products are formulated to meet the shaving needs of men and women and each product has unique ingredients and scents.

The final price on the shelf is set by the retailer."

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