XX in Tech

New Tampon Delivery Startup Discriminates Against Gals with a ‘Heavy Flo’

Now that's what I call "surge pricing."
Discrimination! (Photo: screencap)

Discrimination! (Photo: screencap)

There’s a new entry into the oversubscribed subscription market. The Verge reports that today brings the launch of HelloFlo, a startup that’ll ship you a box of necessities once a month. As subscription services go, it’s pretty sensible.

The “Feminine Care” aisle at Duane Reade is among the most dismal places in the world, even when you aren’t awash in a sea of hormones. HelloFlo promises a discreet box that’ll ship five days before the crimson wave hits, complete with “some fun and tasty treats as a pick-me-up.” (It’s chocolate, right? We hope it’s chocolate. Send us some goddam chocolate.) From a cash-flow perspective these products are a dream come true: $10/month for every last one of a woman’s childbearing years. What’s not to like?

But when we clicked over to the HelloFlo website, we stumbled upon a big problem with this startup, which is that ladies with light flow get off $4 cheaper than those with heavy flow.

This is blatantly discriminatory! A brief perusal of CVS.com (and a lifetime of tampon-buying experience) suggests there should be no difference in price between the “Lite” and “Super Plus” varieties, and 18 of them shouldn’t set you back more than $5. Also, just because you have a heavy period doesn’t mean it lasts for seven days. If your period happens to be short, $18 a month is tantamount to highway robbery.

Really brings new meaning to “surge pricing.”

The FAQ says they hope to offer more customization options in the near future, so hopefully they’ll add some additional options. Plus, they’ll want to add more brands: Currently the only brands involved are Tampax and Always, so if you’re a Kotex loyalist, it’s Duane Reade for you, lady. Or you could just set up a recurring order on Amazon.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com