Best Buy Co Inc. announced yesterday, according to a bizjournals.com story, that they will, beginning in October, debut a line of women's bags and accessory cases designed and manufactured by Liz Claiborne, a well-renowned designer of women's high-end clothing and accessories. According to the story:
Julie Gilbert, Best Buy's senior vice president of training and its Win with Women program, told the paper, "It's a very prominent brand with wide appeal. Where you'll see us go is into other labels that you would typically see as you walk down Fifth Avenue."
The story went on to say that "Best Buy did not immediately return a call seeking comment." Not surprising. Their press department probably closed up shop and went home early-humiliated and embarrassed.
I have to say, I'm curious: first, how did someone as disconnected as Julie Gilbert must be rise to the level of Vice President of Training? Best Buy selling women's high-end handbags is tantamount to Victoria's Secret debuting a bargain line of electric hand tools!
Imagine this, gents:
Wife: "Oh! Honey, let's go into Linens-n-Things!"
Husband: "Uh-Uh! I'm gonna wait in the car."
Wife: "Well, did you know that they now have a line of fishing paraphernalia and hunting equipment?"
Husband: "Oh my goodness! Well let's go in baby! Come get me when you're done!"
I don't think so. For a number of reasons. First, you "manly" men-I don't care HOW much you like hunting or fishing, or how cool you think power tools are, you're not going to go willingly into Linens-n-Things, and happily browse through the fishing lures, while across the aisle, a dignified fifty-something woman browses through the 200 thread count, Egyptian cotton, California King bed sheet sets (one fitted, one top sheet, two king pillowcases). You're not going to rush into Victoria's Secret and compare handsaws and roto-hammers while a gaggle of nineteen year-old college girls (who can't seem to get out an entire sentence without saying "like" or "Oh my God!" at least three times) paws through the "5 Pair for $25" cotton panty table. Nor are you, ladies, going to rush into Best Buy looking for designer handbags, while across the aisle an accountant discusses the pros and cons of non-pixelated LCD vs. wide-perspective, high-intensity, VFD screens, and the diminishing pixel quality in flatscreens with a diagonal size of greater than 42".
But it's more than just that. Ladies, you'd feel, I'll bet, really uncomfortable in Linens-n-Things with that guy shopping the fishing lures and shotgun ammo across the aisle from you. And you'd feel awkward in Victoria's Secret, picking out underclothes with an overweight, sweaty plumber, in an "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt, arguing the merits of a 24V drillset vs. an 18V drillset, out loud, with himself-right across the aisle from you. They're separate worlds. They don't belong together.
And who's going to assist those refined, middle-aged, middle-to-upper class women, in pantsuits and high heels, who come in to browse the exclusive selection of Liz Claiborne bags? Some nineteen year-old guy named Andrew, who has stringy hair down to his shoulders, Airwalk sneakers, a silver post through his right nostril, and thinks GED is a band? Nope. Not going to happen.
And, finally, what about guys like me? I'm the antithesis of a "manly" man. I don't like to get dirty; I know nothing about working on engines or motors; my idea of "roughing it" is staying in the Marriott instead of the Four Seasons; I detest firearms, and don't know that I could kill an animal if I had to; I am terrible at virtually every sport (in fact, in fourth grade, when they picked baseball teams, they picked a guy in a wheelchair before they picked me); and I play the piano. All in all, not incredibly manly. So Best Buy is one of the few places that I can go with the guys and browse through things that are interesting to me-and feel manly doing it! And it's flat wrong that they're going to ruin that for me! It's a man place!
In my mind, "Win with Women" is synonymous with "Alienate Men." I'm sorry, but it just feels weird. And I don't know if I'll be able to go in there, and feel the same level of excitement, knowing that they're playing Barbra Streisand song on the Musak across the aisle.
How about you, dear readers? Do you feel the same? Is this a terrible faux pas on Best Buy's part? Or am I in the minority?