The front page of today's Washington Post breaks the dramatic story I've been waiting to see reported on for some time: U.S. consumers don't care about compact fluorescent light bulbs. Sorry if that revelation caused you to faint or go into a stroke-like state of shock.
Despite endless cheerleading by environmentalists, the intensity of which tends to verge on the hysterical, most folks in this country have declined to purchase CFLs. Even the most aggressive talking points, repeated threats and browbeating from the activist industrial complex have been impotent to change the minds of the light-purchasing public. This causes severe frustration to the self-appointed arbiters of environmental correctness. Worse yet, this frustration has begun manifesting itself in more than a few examples of legislative petulance; in case you haven't heard, there's even talk of making the manufacture and sale of traditional incandescent bulbs a criminal offense.
Now today's Post story brings us up to speed on the root cause of this war of illuminatory preferences – gender conflict:
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week showed that while women are more likely than men to say they are "very willing" to change behavior to help the environment, they are less likely to have CFL bulbs at home. Wal-Mart company research shows a similar "disconnect" between the pro-environmental attitudes of women shoppers and their in-store purchases of CFL bulbs.
Wal-Mart launched a campaign last fall to sell 100 million CFL bulbs a year and is prominently displaying them in all its stores. That campaign, Wal-Mart says, has more than doubled the share of CFLs it has sold.
"Attitudes don't always reflect behavior, and that is what was most surprising to us," said Tara Raddohl, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. "Customers may have in mind, yes, they want to support environmentally friendly products, but when they come to the shelf to buy, the data shows they are not always buying them."
Apparently not even the power of the world's leading retail bohemeth can manhandle members of the fairer sex into embracing a brave new CFL world. They like the soft, flattering glow of a traditional bulb, and frankly, I think it's shockingly unchivalrous to try and force them into a harsh, overlit future. Questions of cost and efficiency must be set aside. It is time for all good men to close ranks and guard the right to flattering illumination. No true gentleman would do less.