50 Shades of Grey helps hardware store sales

1:50 PM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
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(WCAU) - The book "50 Shades of Grey" has exploded as a best seller, and now the sexy story about a sadomasochistic relationship even has hardware stores tapping into the craze.

Bob Wipplinger, the owner of Pendel Hardware, says his wife clued him in on why so many customers were suddenly asking for cotton rope.

"Usually they ask for bungie cords or clothes line or that kind of thing but they said, the guy who came in here kept saying it had to be cotton, it had to be cotton, like he had to please somebody," Wipplinger laughs.

Bob's thinking with rope sales looking up, customers may want other items used for pleasure in the book.

He keeps a checklist behind the counter, and says he's happy to offer "Shades of Grey" readers his professional advice when buying rope.

"Probably get the softer stuff," he advises.

Susan Mannino, owner of Philadelphia's Pleasure Chest adult novelty store, calls the men who come in to buy for their significant others who are reading the book "Grey husbands".

She says her sales are up because the book enticed a new and different group of people into the store.

"That's how we learned about the book from husbands and boyfriends looking for items in the book to use," she says.

Saleswoman Lauren Levin says men and women are buying just about anything used by characters in the book.

"The silver ball, or the crop and other things like the masks pretty standard bondagey stuff," she explains.

Jill McDevitt, owner of Feminique, a store that specializes in sexy lingerie and sex toys, says she can't keep some items used in the book in stock.

McDevitt, who has a masters degree in human sexuality, says she's happy for the sales boost, but is no fan of "50 Shades of Grey".

"The Christian Grey character is very possessive and raises some red flags about potentially abusive relationships," she warns.

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