Sexism Hasn’t Got Your Back

| Working | July 26, 2017

(I have back problems so I can’t lift anything too heavy. My mom is redoing the garden and asks me to go to the home improvement store to pick up a bunch of bags of rocks for decoration. My back doesn’t affect my driving so I hop over and start looking for the bags. Upon finding them, I track down an employee and ask for some help loading them on a cart.)

Me: “Hi, I’d like to get about ten bags of these rocks over here. Can you or someone else help me out with loading them onto a cart, please?”

Employee #1: “Yeah, I’ll be there in a moment.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(About a minute later, he brings over a flatbed cart, smiles, and starts to leave.)

Me: “Excuse me, I also need some help in putting them on the cart and putting them in my car, please.”

Employee #1: “But you’re a guy! You can do that.”

Me: “Actually, I have a back issue and I can’t lift anything too heavy.”

Employee #1: “But you’re a guy! You’re supposed to be strong! I’m not going to lift heavy bags for a guy!”

(A little annoyed at the sexism, I decide to let it go and just ask him to get another employee for me.)

Employee #1: “Fine, I’ll get somebody.”

(He leaves and nobody comes for a few minutes. I figure he’s not going to help so I track down another employee who helps me without question. Upon bringing the cart up to pay, who should be the cashier but the unhelpful employee.)

Employee #1: “See? You got those yourself! I knew you didn’t need anybody to help you!”

Me: “Actually, that employee over there helped me.”

(I pointed to the employee who had helped, as she said she’d also help me load them into the car.)

Employee #2: “Are we good to go?”

Me: “Still have to pay for it.”

Employee #1: “Why are you helping him? He’s a man and should be able to do it himself!”

Employee #2: “Um, it’s our job to help them. Plus, he has a back problem and can’t do it himself. Just ring it up so we can finish.”

(He begrudgingly processed the transaction. As the woman was loading the bags for me, I asked for her name and the man’s name. I call later to commend the woman, and make a complaint about the man. Apparently, this was not the first time the man had done something like this.)

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