I like guns OK. I’ve shot a few gophers in my day with the old .22 at the farm and, as a teen, I diligently checked firearm’s licenses before selling ammunition to farmers at UFA—that’s United Farmers of Alberta for any Eastern folk.
And, for a second Canadian Business issue in a row, I was able to combine my Alberta sensibilities and my writing skills on a topic that would make my parents proud—guns. (In March, I wrote about problems with federal transfer payments.)
But these were no ordinary guns. They were pink guns, purple guns, pearly guns, engraved guns. Pistols and revolvers with names like LadySmith and P238 Lady and the Mosquito. All of them fancy and all of them “purse-sized” and just for ladies. By the way, “purse-sized” isn’t my wording, it belongs to a product manager at SIG Sauer Inc. It’s all in an attempt to
target, aim at, market to the female demographic. As more women enter non-traditional gun-wielding careers—think policing and military—gun manufacturers see an untapped market and they’re all too happy to build women-specific guns.
Writing this story involved looking at lots and lots of pictures of pink and purple guns. In case you want to buy me a gift, I took a liking to this one from Taurus. It’s the perfect mix of old timey western feel with pink grips that remind me of 10-pin bowling. Old meets new. Grit meets femininity. Unfortunately, it’s not available in Canada, which the company CEO told me before hanging up on me. I guess there’s something about “I’m from Toronto and I’m writing a story about guns marketed to women” that makes gun CEOs suspicious. His loss, I suppose. Luckily, I found friendlier gun advocates and manufacturers who wanted to talk at length about women and guns.
Also worth a read in this issue of Canadian Business is Joe Castaldo’s cover story, Housing: Real insanity. This one really hits home since my partner and I became condo dwellers in downtown Toronto. In the last few months we’ve watched units in our three-year-old building sell for more, and more, and more to the point that, had we bought in this building in 2011 instead of 2010, well, we wouldn’t be able to.
These two paragraphs really hit home. Castaldo was probably speaking of himself, but the scenario applies widely:
For a renter past the age of 30, the pressure to buy is relentless. Friends take the plunge, and conversation shifts to mortgage rates, square footage and renovation plans. You feel compelled to defend your decision to abstain in the face of confusion, perhaps even pity, among homeowners you know. But doubt picks away at your conviction, and the fear grows that not yet owning a home shows a failure to enter adulthood, putting you at risk socially and financially. As headlines trumpet house price gains each month, the anxiety surges.
If that sounds like you, chances are you’ll eventually cave, joining the masses who drool over shelter magazines, troll MLS for fun, pop into open houses just to gawk, and tune into the endless stream of TV shows about buying, flipping, renovating, decorating and selling homes. “It becomes self-perpetuating,” says Alexandre Pestov of Toronto economics firm Three Bears Research. “You get all of these TV programs promoting this type of behaviour, and more and more people get sucked into it.”
Let’s see what we did this weekend: Trolling MLS for fun, check. Real estate TV shows, check. No design magazines, at least. And as tempted as we’ve been to head over to our neighbour’s open house, we’ve resisted. For now. It’s worth a read.