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He’s From A Different Time(piece)

| Right | August 31, 2016

(I work in a fairly high-end jewelry store. My specialty department is usually luxury timepieces, but on this day the manager asks me to fill in for one of the diamond sales associates who is running late. Part of store policy is that all employees take turns greeting customers, unless a customer is here to see a specific person, then we “hand them over.” I’m next to greet someone and a middle-aged man in business-casual attire walks in. I am a female in my mid-20s and have had training in all of the store’s departments.)

Me: “Good morning! Welcome to [Jewelry Store].” *starts to give the store welcome spiel*

Man: *without even looking at me, walks on into the store, leaving me standing at the door*

Me: “Oh…” *thinking, maybe he’s hard of hearing? I catch up with him and smile* “I’m sorry, sir, we must have passed right by each other. Welcome to [Store].”

Man: *gives me the barest nods of recognition*

Me: *still smiling like a loon* “May I help you with anything special today?”

Man: “No.” *walks away to a different section*

(I decide to let him go, thinking maybe he was here to see a certain associate, and let my manager know. Note: my manager is a man in his early 40s.)

Manager: *takes me aside after talking to the man* “Hey, [My Name], I’ve sent [Male Coworker] over to help that customer, and I just wanted to let you know you don’t need to worry about greeting him if he comes back.”

Me: “Really? But we’re supposed to greet everyone.”

Manager: “Yes, well…” *he glances at the man across the store, who is now talking freely with my coworker* “This particular gentleman apparently thinks he can only buy jewelry from a man.”

Me: “So, you’re saying he thinks a woman can’t help him pick out jewelry for his wife, or whoever?”

Manager: “Unfortunately. We get a few people like that over the years.”

Me: “I honestly don’t know what to say to that.”

Manager: “Don’t worry about it; it’s his own prejudice. [Male Coworker] just clocked in, so you can go back to timepieces whenever you’re ready.”

Me: “Okay, thank you, [Manager].”

(About 15 minutes later, my coworker who was helping the man came up to my counter.)

Coworker: “Um… [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “That customer wants to look at a [REALLY Expensive Brand] timepiece.”

Me: “Okay, and?”

Coworker: “You’re the only sales associate who’s had the training on them.”

Me: “Oh, boy.”

(I ended up standing at the opposite end of the counter, and my coworker walking over to me with every question the guy had, all because he didn’t want a woman to sell him any jewelry!)

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