Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lowe's en espanol

We've been thinking for a while that it might be time to replace our old refrigerator.  We don't know exactly how old it is (it came with the house), but based on the data from our Kill-A-Watt meter, we know it uses about about 500 kilowatt-hours a year (about 50 percent more than a new Energy-Star-certified model).  So on our trip to Lowe's last weekend (the one on which we picked up the defective window shade), I picked up a flier that I spotted in the store advertising an Energy-Star-qualified, 15-cubic-foot Frigidaire for only $389, which seemed like a great price.  Upon taking a closer look at it, I found that I'd picked up the Spanish version of the flier.  I could still make out most of the information, but when we went back to Lowe's to return the window shade, I figured I might as well grab a copy of the English version. 

However, when I picked up the English flier, it didn't include the $389 Frigidaire.  The two other fridges featured in the Spanish flier (a $900 side-by-side Whirlpool and a $1700 French-door Whirlpool in stainless steel) were the same, but the third model listed was a $2400 Samsung.  Checking over the two fliers side-by-side, I found that although most of the pages were identical, wherever they differed, the Spanish version featured cheaper products.  It seems that Lowe's is assuming Spanish speakers are interested in cheaper products than English speakers

This strikes me as discrimination of some kind, but I'm honestly not sure who the victims are.  On the one hand, it seems somewhat unfair to assume that Spanish-speaking customers can't afford high-end products--but I must admit, as an English speaker, I'm pretty ticked off that I'm not getting to hear about the good deals.  I mean, is it really fair to assume, just because I don't speak Spanish, that I must want a fridge no smaller than 25 cubic feet and that I'm willing to pay upwards of $900 for it?  Are all Anglos supposed to be spendthrifts?

I can't think of many times in my life when I've actually felt discriminated against, but this really gets my goat.
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