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What do Women Want?

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

If you're a woman reading this, have you ever felt that—despite the fact that women spend 85% of this country's disposable income—retailers are surprisingly out of touch with what you want? Enter Paco Underhill, retail guru and author of new book, What Women Want. "No business, he argues, can afford to ignore the power of women. No matter what the product in question—cars, appliances, homes, hotels, restaurants, banks, homes, clothing—retailers must focus on what women want." From consumer products to experience, Underhill covers it all—including things you may not have thought about before, such as shower curtains. "'When you check into a hotel,' Underhill asks NPR's Neal Conan, 'are you conscious that there have been 365 strangers staying in that hotel room over the past year since you checked in?' Men may not be, but women often are. And if you think about what gets touched, washed or wiped down in a hotel room, the shower curtain isn't likely to be on that list." Thus, the newfound prevalence of curved shower curtain rods, bowing the curtain away from the bather. Smart. [NPR]