Thursday, April 07, 2005

Will she be wanting that, Sir?

AKA Retail Sexism

I usta hate it. I'd go into Home Dep0t to buy wood or supplies for an art project. I'd ask an intelligent question of the salesman. Invariably, he'd turn to my ex husband and to give him the answer. As I was inquiring with a follow up question, the salesman once again would look at my ex to provide the response.


Does a woman never venture to buy wood or paint or sandpaper? Are we only capable of composing highly insightful questions? Do you think only our mouths work (don't even go there) and our ears don't?

Once, I remember shocking the shit out of the sales guy by waving my hand in front of his face and telling him, "hey buddy, the supplies are for me," b/c I was the one asking the questions and I was also the one interested in the answers.

No, he didn't start speaking to my chest then, but he did start speaking to me. A little victory.

Similar would happen at the wood shop at the military post locally. Granted, it is usually guys in there, but just b/c I'm a woman does not mean I am not interested in crafting with wood or using the tools. When I went in there to make my son's Thomas the Tank Engine train table (cost about $30 vs. over $200 retail, plus mine collapses brilliantly for storage), you'd have thought I was creating Brunelleschi's Dome. A big issue is that they, the experienced carpenters manning the wood shop, want to just do the projects for the women, not let the women do it for themselves or be given the proper opportunity to learn. That irritated me: female = step in a do it for her.

Over a year after making the Thomas table (which took a couple days, so they began to respect me and knew I had the 'me do!" attitude, I went in with a simple project for my new abode her, but project did have some complex angles. The guy, who didn't remember me, just grabbed it and went to town. Irritated me to no end. I'll confess it is b/c it is a HUGE source of PRIDE for me to say I made things myself. About that last project, I say it that I did make it, b/c I designed/installed it and I did have my hands on the machines some, at least.

This sort of scenario repeated itself today. Sort of fulfilling a goal, P followed through on paying for PART (that 'PART' part not expected and more than mildly annoying) of my van's tune up that I knew would cost around $1000. We left his place, picked up J from his night of visitation (more later on that one), and went to Fix Car Place (FCP). They'd done my tires recently and I needed a rotation - all in one stop shopping.

So I tell the guy I need x,x,x done and we'll be back after we get the kid to school. After hearing my list of instructions, the FCP guy proceeds to respond to P about the needs of a tune up. P doesn't say a word, nothing to say. I respond that the check engine light had been on for a year, that I was ripped off by getting half a tune up a year ago (to the tune of $550 - that's how I knew how much a full would cost - FYI, a tune up involves ALL the spark plugs and wires, not just some b/c the old will ruin the new or the not yet bad) - and he responds to P that the check engine light can mean many things. Duh! Do the diagnostic, bonehead. Talk to the chick, too, as she's the one with the answers.

We took J to school (and it was during this drive, P asked if there's always this much traffic - to which I responded that it seemed to be a light day - and I added that, yes, I do this TWICE a week coming from his place in the mornings - to which he asked if I still wanted to come? Hmmmm? Understand, his implication was living together instead - and I did not laugh hysterically, but I could have) , went back down to the FCP. Lo and Behold, it needs a tune up, just like what I ordered. Amazingly, there were problems with 4 out of 6 spark plugs. No wonder I've been so tired, what with using my feet like Fred Flintstone and all. Of course, all questions were asked by me and all responses were directed toward P.

P and I wasted time eating breakfast and browsing a bookstore, had a nice morning and laughed at how many times we'd read each other's minds or responded simultaneously to stuff. I told him about the phenomenon, the sexist (not sexual) [conversation] triangle, if you will, that we experienced at FCP. He understood but had not noticed.

After many hours, we returned even tho we hadn't been called. Two other guys wound up helping me, both then and when it was finally finished. They actually held their conversations with me - not even looking at P or my chest. P said he'd gone in there just to see who they'd be talking to. Shoot, these two guys passed.

It's not all of 'em, but there be some out there a needin' o' some learnin'.


Ron Southern said...

Tell them this when they want to ignore you and address P:

"Don't talk to him, please, he's deaf and dumb and he also hasn't taken his antidepressants all week. He kissed the postman on the lips this morning just for speaking to him." Men hate all weirdness not related to beer and sports, so most of them should at least return to talking to your chest.

DeadBug said...

Oh, sister, can I ever relate. My job in the relationship is to do all of the negotiating, take care of the cars and deal with all the financial stuff, and I get ignored in favor of Jeff all the bloody time.

When we were in the process of buying our house, I was the one who had done all of the research and was asking all the questions of the loan broker. He kept replying to Jeff. Jeff finally said, "Don't look at me--Bugs is the one to talk to."

The broker was pretty thoroughly shocked.