By Mike Stuckey
Businesses across nation ready to reward citizens for casting their ballots
Just when you thought it was safe to focus on the issues in this historic election season, a chain of sex toy shops has joined retailers, restaurateurs and other businesses across the nation in the time-honored tradition of rewarding Americans who go to the polls.
Babeland, with stores in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, is offering a pair of self-gratifying incentives for voters who present their registration cards, ballot stubs or “word of honor” that they voted next Tuesday.
The rewards are no-so-subtle reminders of this year’s campaign rhetoric. For men, it’s the “Maverick,” a "sleeve" for self-pleasuring. According to a press release, “He’s always there to lend a hand, he works for every man, and he bucks the status quo.” Women can choose the “Silver Bullet” mini-vibrator, which is “a magical solution to difficult problems” and “a great stress-reliever during these troubled economic times!” The promotion lasts through Nov. 11.
Babeland spokeswoman Pamela Doan told msnbc.com in an interview that the promotion is a first for the company, which she describes as “a sex-positive, women-friendly retailer for sex toys and accessories.”
Although the company is relying on press releases and bloggers to get the word out, “We’re expecting a good response,” Doan said. “Both of these toys are very popular. The Maverick retails for $20 and the Silver Bullet retails for $15. It’s a good reward.”
'Sex crosses party lines'
As to whether Babeland expects voters who take them up on the offer to lean one way or the other politically, Doan said, “Sex crosses party lines. … We’ve tried to make this into a nonpartisan reward because we welcome everyone. That’s our philosophy and our mission. We didn’t want to reward only Obama supporters. We have a lot of Republicans who shop at Babeland too.”
If the sex toys don’t float your vote, there are plenty of other less racy rewards to choose from in the afterglow of casting your ballot.
How about a free cup of Joe? Starbucks stores across the nation and Eat’n Park outlets in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are among many U.S. restaurants offering complimentary coffee to anyone who presents a ballot stub or “I Voted” sticker.
Voters can get a beer on the house at Todd Conner’s pub in Baltimore’s historic Fells Point neighborhood.