A Car By Any Other Name

, , , | Right | February 20, 2019

(Our dealership service department runs a skeleton crew on Saturdays; on the weekdays there are five service advisors working but on Saturdays there’s only one. I’m the newest employee and therefore I’m the “lucky” one to work Saturdays. This means if anyone has a question on Saturday they get me, even if they usually work with someone else. A customer approaches me and tells me she’s glad to see a woman working in my position and that she’s had experiences with men in shops treating her like she doesn’t know anything. She starts to ask questions about a symptom she’s having, then asks if the vehicle might still be under warranty. Different cars carry different warranties, so I ask her for more information.)

Me: “What kind of car do you have?”

Customer: “Um… I’m not sure.”

Me: *wondering how some people have no idea what they drive, though it happens periodically* “Has it been here before? I can try looking it up in our system.”

Customer: “Oh, yes, I’ve brought it here many times!”

Me: “Perfect! Let’s try to find you in the computer. What’s your phone number? That’s the easiest way to look up cars in our database; the last name lookup function can be buggy sometimes.”

Customer: “Um… I’m not sure. Try [number].”

Me: *types it in* “It doesn’t look like it came up under that number. Do you have another?”

Customer: “Try [different number].”

Me: *tries the new number* “Nope, still no luck. Sorry.”

Customer: “I can’t think of any other numbers.”

Me: “Maybe we should try your last name after all; it does work most of the time.”

Customer: “Um… I don’t know what name it’s under… How about a social security number? I bet that would find it!”

Me: “No. We don’t do financing in the service department, so we would never collect information like that about a customer, let alone save it.”

Customer: “Oh. I guess I didn’t buy the car from you guys, anyway, so I never would have filled that out here even for the credit.”

Me: “Yeah, let’s try the name lookup. What’s your last name?”

Customer: “I don’t know; I’m not sure what name it’s under. Try [Name that’s usually a first name].”

Me: *types it in and it doesn’t come up* “It doesn’t seem to be working… Just to be sure, that’s your last name?”

Customer: “No, it’s my first name.”

Me: “Sorry about that! It does file by last names. What’s yours?”

Customer: “[First Name].”

Me: “No, your last name.”

Customer: “[First Name].”

(When she did eventually manage to remember what her last name was, surprise! We found her car in the system. But I still wonder how she doesn’t know what type of car she drives, what her phone number is, or what her name is, but was SURE I could find her car with her specific social security number that she was so ready to give out. I also did not tell her that when people treat her like she doesn’t know anything… it’s probably not because she’s a woman.)

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