View Full Version : Just friendly and rude

12-27-2014, 11:10 PM
I got a different car a few months ago, and since my last car was so reliable I don't really have a car parts store in the area. Since my new car was not loved in it's previous life I have been fixing things up as I have the money and time, and today was front brakes day. So I head to a car parts counter at a multi-function store.

Me: Can I get rotors and pads for a year, make, model please
Clerk: (Super casual and friendly) Sure, just let me.... (type, type - still casual and friendly) Hey sweetheart, did your husband tell you the sub-model type?

I just stood there gaping like a fish for a minute or two, then turned around and left. I still wear my rings, and it doesn't offend me when people assume I'm still married, but it's like he completely didn't even consider the possibility that a grown-ass woman might need brakes for her own damn car!

So I went to another shop, had a lovely discussion with the clerk there about old vs new cars, swapped some 'difficult repair' stories, and got my parts with no patronizing involved, and I officially have a car shop in the area. I also have a car with top notch brakes now, so all in all a good day. I'm just still infuriated with the first store, I don't know if I'm over-reacting, but that just pissed me off so much.

12-28-2014, 12:50 AM
Uh, I think that was hugely patronizing, and not acceptable. Are you living in an area where endearments like that (hon, sweetie, etc) are common? They aren't around here, it would have been very strange.

12-28-2014, 12:57 AM
No, random endearments like that don't seem to happen with strangers. With people that know each better, or sarcastically (Can you pass me that? Yes dear, anything else your majesty), and occasionally from old ladies if you hold open a door or pick up something off the ground for them. He was more like 25, so yes, a little weird and also felt very patronizing.

12-28-2014, 04:00 AM
Wow; I've never experienced something like that THAT blatantly while getting car parts! That pretty much takes the cake! Most I've experienced is being ignored.

12-28-2014, 04:07 AM
I've been condescended to a time or two, but nothing on that scale, and I do admit I know little about cars. OTOH, one of the two auto parts stores in walking range has staff that have never been less than totally helpful, courteous, and friendly. They know that's why I'll walk about a block farther to do business with them, and they're aware their rival has staff who do seem to assume female customers lack brain. :)

12-28-2014, 04:46 AM
Patronizing, condescending, rude and way too familiar! Sorry, but "sweetheart" is something you call your kid, your spouse, or someone else that you know and love - not a complete stranger and certainly not a customer! And assuming that a man must have told you the make, year, model, etc., was beyond patronizing.

Glad you found a better place to do business. I bet that first guy had no idea what he did wrong, the twit.

12-28-2014, 12:38 PM
Oh I hate this patronizing and condescending tone of male clerks! I remember my mom going "My dear young man..." on a clerk in 1969. I was 6 years at that time and going :eek:. She ripped him a new one!

12-28-2014, 03:56 PM
Glad you found a better place to do business. I bet that first guy had no idea what he did wrong, the twit.
I think a letter to corporate might be in order here. Dude needs retraining, at least.

Ironclad Alibi
12-28-2014, 10:38 PM
Uh, I think that was hugely patronizing, and not acceptable. Are you living in an area where endearments like that (hon, sweetie, etc) are common? They aren't around here, it would have been very strange.

I don't think it was the "sweetheart" that was offensive. It was the "your husband" comment that drove her out the door.

12-28-2014, 11:13 PM
Definitely, the husband comment was the one that made me leave. It is still with me too. I have dealt with lots of rude, insulting, aggressive and nasty people before. You just tell yourself that they are too rude, stupid, belligerent and evil to be out in public and carry on with your day. He wasn't any of those things, he was friendly, cheerful and nice about insulting me so completely. That's probably why it bothers me so much.

12-29-2014, 12:52 AM
I gave one parts counter guy a wake-up call, without even having to stick up for myself.

My old VW beetle's alternator had died. I went to get a new one, and carefully wrote down the part number, as that year VW had used 3 different alternators, and I needed to get the right one. I needed some other stuff, too, so I made a list.

Started the old dear by putting a screwdriver across the connections, drove to the nearest parts store, and backed into the parking space in front, so I didn't have to hang my butt out into the parking lot when I put the new alternator in. It only took two screws.

The guy behind the counter was nice enough. I told him the alternator I needed, and started going down the list. Then I figured out that it would be faster if I just handed him the list. For some reason, I was wearing a nice outfit with an actual skirt - rare for me, and I could see him assuming my non-existent husband had sent me down to get it. There was a core charge for the alternator; I told him I'd be back soon with the old one.

I get my stuff, and head for the car. Did I mention that the store had a glass front? I was worth looking at back then, and he watched me go to the car - and saw me open the hood, grab the screwdriver I kept there, whip off the old alternator, and put the new one in. When I went back to the store to turn it in, his jaw was still on the ground.

I miss working on cars. And busting stereotypes!

12-29-2014, 01:37 AM
I named my first daughter after a girl who impressed me by taking a summer school electronics class... in 1967.:)

Captain Trips
12-29-2014, 03:04 AM
We no longer go to the local "energetic young men" for repairs. They took the misogynistic attitude once to my wife and daughter. My wife grew up in a service station - at a time when the mechanic bays were for mechanics and not for groceries. DON'T try to BS her about cars.

Jay 2K Winger
12-29-2014, 05:11 AM
Speaking of "sweetheart," "Retail" just had a strip (http://retailcomic.com/comics/december-29-2014/) where a sucktomer used the term to Marla.

12-29-2014, 11:59 AM
He's lucky he didn't get a fist in his gob!

12-29-2014, 06:08 PM
Endearing names? Annoying, but I'll live - you might get a dose of sarcasm back if you call me "sweetheart", but I'd deal with it. Assuming my husband sent me down to get things for the car? OH HELL NO :pissed:

I would be writing to the manager and to corporate to explain EXACTLY why I would not be buying parts from that chain any more.

12-30-2014, 12:14 AM
"Sorry, but my husband wouldn't know the difference between a brake pad and a caliper. I'm the mechanic in the family. Now, I'd like a manager and someone else help me, please." Or, I just go to the parts store that has lady behind the counter.

By the way, it works the other way around too. When I worked at MW's Repair, I'd have guys who wanted to speak to a "man" about a part. It took a lot of effort (damn my Mom's genetics) to not ask them if they use their penises to put the parts in, because it sure as hell didn't require me to have one to look up a part number and see if we have it in stock. More often than not, they didn't want to embarrass themselves, because they didn't know what the part was called! At least that what my male co-workers would say, if they didn't just tell the guy in question that the girl knew more about tractors than they did :p

12-30-2014, 10:16 AM
Sorry, but "sweetheart" is something you call your kid, your spouse, or someone else that you know and love - not a complete stranger

I heard it frequently in the South (the deeper the more often). So it is not that bad.

However, everything else dimwit employee said is completely stupid. How is that starting a conversation.

I am horrible at social interaction/general socialization, and even I know better then to say something like that condescending.

12-30-2014, 11:15 AM
I used to get that sort of attitude all the time as a truck driver. "Here, honey, want me to back your truck into the dock for you so it doesn't take all day?" My standard response was "No, but you can spot for me on my blind side." Oh how I loved to watch their faces when I dropped a trailer into a tight/tricky dock lined up neat as you please on the first try.

Jay 2K Winger
12-30-2014, 05:51 PM
I heard it frequently in the South (the deeper the more often). So it is not that bad.

It's true that Southerners are more likely to use it conversationally like that, but-- and this is just me-- if I don't know the person and they call me "sweetheart," I'm also hearing an unspoken "Bless your heart" in there.

Echoing MoonCat that it's a term of endearment, and as such, should only be used with people that the speaker actually knows personally.

01-02-2015, 06:03 PM
had a local garage be downright nasty and utterly unhelpful to me recently when i had some truck trouble (basically told me in a harsh tone that they were busy and they hadn't even had a chance to look at it yet, which turned out to be a lie)... yet they were yes sir no sir it'll be done by tomorrow sir and here's the list of what was wrong sir and here't how much it should cost... when my husband called.

ooooo it pissed me off so bad! literally all i had done was ask if they'd even had a chance to look at it yet.. they DID tell me the day before that they were busy...i was trying to be courteous and ask nicely if they'd had a chance to take a peek yet.

only good side is, when they actually did the work, they did it fast, and cheap. (only 500 bucks after an engine fire is peanuts)

01-12-2015, 04:50 PM
I once went to a discount tire place because I desperately needed tires, and they were cheaper stateside. So my boyfriend and I go into the store. Note: boyfriend and I don't live together. My car is MY car, and the most he has to do with it is occasionally buying me a tank of gas (and he changes my oil once in a while). Tire guy would NOT speak to me no matter what I did. If the price had not been unbeatable, I would have walked out of there in a huff. Every time I'd ask him a question, he'd listen, then turn to my boyfriend to answer. I was BEYOND steamed.

01-15-2015, 01:14 AM
I hate to say this, but it kinda works the other way, too - and it's WEIRD. The local discount auto parts dump keeps making the same mistake with me that any male who walks in the door knows everything there is to know about cars, and drowns me in technobabble whenever I try to make a purchase. Considering about all I can do is change a headlight, I usually just nod and smile a lot.

You'd have thought they'd have twigged when I brought in an air filter from a classic Mercury and called it the "carburetor."