Climbing Over Your Misogyny

, , , , , , | Working | April 11, 2019

(My mom told me this story about her experience while trying to buy my Christmas present. She goes to a popular chain sporting goods store ready to buy an expensive pair of rock climbing shoes based on an employee’s recommendation, not knowing much about them herself. She can’t see any employees on the floor, so she walks back to the front desk of the store and asks them to send someone to help her in the rock climbing section. The employee at the front tells her to go back to that section and someone will be there shortly. My mom goes back and, while she is waiting, a man around her age comes to the same area and starts looking at displays. A few minutes later, a male employee comes out of the back room, makes eye contact with my mom, and then immediately turns to the male customer and asks if he needs any assistance. Fuming, my mom returns to the front desk.)

Mom: “Did you call someone to come help me with rock climbing shoes?”

Employee: “Yes, I did.”

Mom: “And did you tell him I was a woman?”

Employee: “Yes, I did.”

Mom: “Well, he looked straight at me and turned to help a man, instead.”

Employee: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ll call him again.”

(My mom returns to the rock climbing section and sees the male employee on the store phone. He finishes his conversation — presumably with the front desk — hangs up, and, without acknowledging my mom standing just a few feet away, continues talking to the male customer. My mom waits several minutes for them to finish without any acknowledgement from the employee. Eventually, she gives up and returns to the front desk for the last time.)

Mom: “Just so you know, I’m going to [Competitor]. The reason is that your employee is still helping a man who came in after me and he didn’t even acknowledge me.”

(The front desk employee was silent, so my mom just left. Hopefully, that employee was reprimanded or at least spoken to about his prejudice losing them a customer. It’s unlikely, but a girl can dream!)

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