So Tire-d Of These Stereotypes

, , , , | Right | June 6, 2019

(I work in a large store that also has a busy auto section, selling auto parts along with service for tires, oil changes, etc. Due to an unusual set of circumstances, I am the only person in the entire department, which is against policy because I will have to cover the register as well as service cars. Also, because of safety reasons, I cannot go into the pit to drain oil without another worker in the bay. I am explaining this to two different angry and impatient customers while ringing out a third. Another asks me to show him where something is while an older gentleman waits patiently. I finally get to the gentleman and apologize for the wait.)

Customer: “That’s okay. You are busy. How long until a technician can look at my tire?”

Me: “I am a technician.” *keep in mind I am in a technician uniform, covered in grease* “I can look at it right now.”

Me: *a few minutes later* “I found the screw in your tire. Unfortunately, it is too close to your sidewall. A patch will not hold. You need a new tire. We do installations for free.”

Customer: *looks at me suspiciously because I am female* “So, what can you recommend for a [truck]?”

(I show him several tires that would fit and discuss the pros and cons of each. During this, I excuse myself to ring out two more customers and write up a service order for another while explaining the delay. The customer chooses a tire. Unfortunately, we have none in stock but we have a display model on a very tall riser. He agrees to buy it. I get out a tall, heavy ladder and as I am hauling it over, another angry customer who has been waiting in the bay comes charging over yelling. I calm him down and start to climb the ladder.)

Customer: “No, wait. Let me get that.”

Me: “Sir, I appreciate it, but I can’t let you, for safety reasons.”

Customer: “But you are a girl and I am a guy. I really should get that. It’s too heavy for you.”

Me: “Sir, I trained ex-racehorses and lifted sacks of grain over 100 pounds. This probably weighs 40. Can you lift 100 pounds?” *the customer looks sheepish* “And no disrespect intended at all, but you are at least twice my age. If someone has to fall off a ladder, I will heal a lot quicker. But I sincerely appreciate the offer.”

(I got the tire down without incident. I pulled the old tire off, mounted the new tire, and balanced it for free. During this, I was writing up more orders and ringing out more people until my coworker arrived. A few weeks later, the district manager of the entire store visited. I was called into the office. The managers played like I had done something horribly wrong until they presented me with a three-page letter this guy wrote about me. He glowed about my patience and knowledge of tires and yelled at the store for making me work in such conditions. The district manager put a commendation in my file — which almost guarantees the top raise next review, and it did come through — and gave me a share of company stock for a reward.)

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