Kids should be kids, and all kids should love all types of play, all types of colors, all types of clothes. My son’s favorite color was pink when he was young, and I admit to having mixed feelings when he decided that was a girls color and moved on to blue. I’m still not sure how to feel about this many years later. In the end, I just want his favorite color to be about him, not about the world.
The previous owners of the sale took away gendered signs for toys and many other items in 2015, while keeping gendered signs for shoes, coats, sleepwear, and clothing. I was a bit floored the first time I saw the racks from above – the segregated clothing makes for a very obvious gender choice – one side is light and pink, the other is darker, with more blues and blacks.
Segregating by boy/girl is not a perfect way to shop, or to organize a store. Here’s what Half-Pint co-founder Ellen wrote on the subject in 2015: “My youngest is a slender 7 year old who loves crafts, and soft bright colored pants. For him I shop in 5, 6 and 7 boys, and 7 girls for slimmer fitting bright colored straight legged jeans and soft pants. I shop in the craft area, game area, and boy toys (because he also loves star Wars and pokemon with a vengence). And I always peruse the girls toys and the nursery area, because you never know what might catch my eye (like the cloud lamp I bought him last sale). And I always shop girl and boy shoes because he really loves all colors and tends to have narrow feet. I don’t feel funny about it, because he doesn’t shop with me, and even if he did, he knows what he likes and what fits.”
I don’t think the sale is worse off for having Pokemon items intermingled with doll houses, but I do think it would be harder to manage and shop if shoes and clothes were all together. The entire sale is filled with items, brought in by consignors in just hours. Hundreds of consignors bring in their items and have to put their items on the sales floor in the proper places, and want to get in and out as soon as possible! Volunteers want items to have been put on the sales floor in the right spot – like by like! There are just a few short hours to get the entire sales floor ready for the sale. From 8pm until 11pm, volunteers work frantically to make sure everything is organized. The less work that they need to do, the more likely that the sale is easy to shop. And we know shoppers want to be fast. Most people only have a short period of time to shop and they want to zero-in on where they need to go.
If you are consigning and not sure if your item goes on the boy or girl side, ask a friend or another consignor and they can help you decide. We know that with itty bitties it seems extra ridiculous, but our gender neutral areas have NEVER been shopped well (for the same reasons as we listed above).
That said, I have no interest in making children feel sad, confused, or stereotyped about anything! Let me know if you think anything could be done better!