Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/21/mod_his_n_hers/
MoD auction site looks to spice up couples' sex life
Peddles 'His 'n' hers' uniform sets
A cash-strapped UK Ministry of Defence is resorting to increasingly desperate measures in the struggle to get its finances back on track. The latest of these is the setting up of an eBay-style online auction site to flog the military's surplus gear, already reported in these pages.
Most of the wares on offer are relatively mundane – tents, bulletproofed Discovery landrovers, obscure bits of electronics. An initial frisson of excitement on seeing the sections titled 'aircraft' and 'ships' soon wears off, as all the good stuff has evidently been snapped up already by bargain-conscious dictators and military juntas. The only ships left are a rowboat and some rusty old tugs. The aircraft section is full of Brazilian-designed Tucano trainers, no doubt well thrashed by student pilots over the years and now mostly listed as "non-effective" and "heavily spares recovered" – estate agent speak for "suicide to go up in a crate like that" and "stripped of all useful components".
Merchandise like this will never get the Disposal Services Agency up to eBay-like levels of turnover, so the government auctioneers have resorted to a time-honoured marketing tool – sex. A number of items of military uniform are offered on the site in "two pack packages for him and her." The online listings describe these as "ideal for re-enactment events, filming or fancy dress."
When asked what kind of film or fancy dress event features a couple dressed in military uniform, officials at the disposal agency have been keen to stress that their wares are intended primarily for healthy outdoor pursuits, momentarily causing fevered speculation at Vulture Central. However, it seems that in fact this was meant to refer to hiking or camping, rather than anything more risque.
Nonetheless, some items packaged as "his 'n' hers", such as dress uniform with ties and a skirt for the lady, wouldn't seem ideally suited for hill-walking. Even respectable journalists have speculated that in fact the intended customers might be couples looking to spice up their sex life – an established market segment (NSFW), after all. A source at the Disposals Agency was willing to confirm that "proximity to Valentine's Day" had been a factor in the timing of the auctions.
It's also possible to surmise that the MoD may be targeting other niche retail areas, with at least one set of female formal kit offered on its own. Exhaustive web research has uncovered – so to speak – at least one possible customer (NSFW).
Defence analysts look forward keenly to further revelations.®