Ever dealt with an ignorant salesman who just talked over you, or only addressed your partner? Welcome to the club! The women in these stories share the worst "I'm the client, not my husband!" moments.
"My old teacher told me a story about a cold caller. A man phoned the house phone (this was around the 80s or 90s when people still had house phones) asking for the man of the house to talk about changing supplier for something or other. My teacher (a woman) told the man that her husband was away on a business trip and to call back the next day.
He called the next day, again asking for the man of the house, and she informed him that her husband had been delayed and to call back the next day. He called the next day, and she informed him that due to bad weather his flight had been delayed until later on that night, so please call back the next day. He called the next day, she put her husband on, the man asked about changing to his company's service. The husband informing him that his wife dealt with all the bills and please talk to her. My teacher took the phone, said 'No thank you' and hung up."
"My previous partner (who streams games and has a YouTube channel) and I went into a fairly popular game store in British Columbia. She was there to pick up some games and equipment, probably $300-$400 dollars worth. The sales associate came up to us and just started talking to me, asking me what I needed, and completely ignored her. I said we were there for her and he talked to her like she didn't know anything. Before she could even say what she was there for he was like, 'Oh you want Animal Crossing or something?' Yeah, we left and went to the other shop in town and they got her business. Pro-Tip, when approaching a couple/group ask, 'How can I help you BOTH/ALL today?' don't focus on one customer.
My current partner had this happen when we went to a comic book store together here in Ottawa. She isn't super familiar with comics but wanted to buy some art books and maybe a figure with some comics, but had some questions. Anyways, this French-Canadian dude walks up to us and rudely was asking me if he could help me find anything. So I know this shop and my way around, been there a few times and I had my comics in my hands. I told him, 'No, I'm fine but my partner could use a hand.' So she is trying to explain what she's looking for in English, and it's not her first language so it was hard. He didn't acknowledge anything she was saying (I mean I understood 'I'm looking for books with artwork in it? Not a comic but...a hard book?' Anyways, she switched to French to try and explain to him, and apparently, he just said, 'I don't have time for this' in French and walked behind the counter to look at their cards. So again we left and never went back.
Do places just not understand customer service and how much money these employees are making the owner miss out? Don't know if you've seen the price of figures and art books, but they aren't cheap."
"I was at a Mexican restaurant with my husband. I don't eat cheese or dairy, so I was looking for items on the menu that didn't list those as ingredients, and I found shrimp tacos. The other tacos on the menu did list cheese and 'white sauce' as ingredients, but I thought it made sense for shrimp tacos not to have those ingredients, so I didn't bother telling the waiter 'no dairy.' I mean, the menu didn't say they had dairy in the first place, so I thought I was in the clear.
The tacos came out smothered in cheese and white sauce, so I sent them back and told the busser (a different person than the guy who took our order) that I was sorry, but I couldn't eat dairy. The waiter came storming out and asked my husband why 'she' (me, sitting right there across the table, obviously capable of speaking) sent the tacos back. I told him that I couldn't eat dairy and that the menu didn't say they had dairy on them. He ignored me and told my husband that 'she' should have expected there to be cheese on all of the tacos, so I asked why it didn't say that on the menu. He continued to ignore me and told my husband that 'she' had no right to send food back, because 'she' wasn't paying the bill, and he would only talk to the one who was. My husband told him that he needed to talk to me, the one with the problem, so he stormed off to get the owner and called me a b** on his way off. That was the only thing he said to me.
We got up and left without paying the second he walked away."
"I was looking for a new car and my boyfriend at the time came with me. Not because he was going to help negotiate or anything, just came so I wasn’t alone. I saw a pre-owned-year-old vehicle with low mileage and it came with all the manufacturer's warranties still. The entire time the salesman keeps trying to make the pitch to my boyfriend, even though I was very clear from the get-go that I was the one purchasing the vehicle, it was mine and he had no say.
The guy continues to pitch it to my boyfriend. I decided I liked it enough, wanted to buy it, and was willing to put that aside.
Now, at the time the current model year of these vehicles was like $2-3k more, so there definitely needed to be a price reduction. The dealer kept on focusing on payments, which wasn’t my concern - the overall price is. I had preapproval from my bank so I knew the max I’d feel comfortable spending, my interest rate, and what my approximate payments would be. I told him I didn’t want my credit ran as I already had a pre-approval for an auto loan through the bank until we nailed out pricing. The guy would not stop focusing on this payment amount and finally, I asked him if he was willing to negotiate the price or not. He then in a condescending voice asks me what this magical little formula I’m using to figure out my payments is because it’s obviously not correct. I commented that he obviously isn’t willing to help me, so I’d just go somewhere else.
He at this point quit talking to me, turned to my boyfriend at the time, and said 'Can you please tell her how buying a car works?' I got up, yelled at him, said I’d never buy a car from him, that dealership, or that brand ever, and that maybe he needs to have a little more respect for women.
The manager called me shortly after, but at the time id gone to another car dealer that sold a different make of cars across the street and bought my car."
"My stupid boyfriend at the time left the lights on in my car for a whole weekend, so it was super dead. I bought a new battery and changed it out but there was a mechanism that prevented the car from being turned on after the battery has been changed.
Anyhow, I was still locked out of my car so I called a locksmith. I asked my boyfriend to go to the parking lot of our apartment with me because he was a stranger and I wanted to be safe. I explained I changed the battery but still couldn’t start my car. First of all, the locksmith wouldn’t look at me or ask me any questions even though I called it in and was giving him all my info (it was MY car). My boyfriend at the time was dumb as a box of rocks and could only tell him my car was blue and had four doors.
I explained again that I changed the battery and he couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t work. He starts messing with me key fob and I say no, the battery in my car, not the key. He drops what he’s doing and says 'Oh no, you shouldn’t have done that. Why would you touch that? You should have told me you touched your battery.' Why the heck shouldn’t I touch my own car battery? And maybe he would have understood if he listened to me the first six times I told him I changed the battery.
Long story short, he did nothing and charged me $100 (even though it was my boyfriend's fault, and he still didn’t pay me back), so I had to have it towed to a mechanic who fixed the problem in 5 minutes."
"Not my story but my wife's.
For clarity, I'm autistic and I do not do well with interactions at all, especially if I don't know the person.
We had to get our septic tank pumped and when the guy was over, my wife and I both came outside to talk to him. I was mostly following her because my dad's name was on the request and we have similar names. I assumed he would ask for our names so I went out.
The septic guy kept telling me things about the tank, where we lived, our toilet habits (the tenant before us flushed a fuckload of used rubbers, which I don't use). My wife explained to him that they weren't ours, that we just moved in, etc. I listened to him but didn't respond a word (just nods and gestures).
Still, he kept talking to me about how to maintain the tank and I'm not technical. I have no clue what he's saying. My wife kept answering because she had more experience than me on the topic.
Eventually, she stepped between him and me and fielded his comments a lot more firmly.
It was weird. She was friendly and understood what he was talking about. I was withdrawn and distracted. I guess he was as bad at picking up on social cues as me."
"Not exactly this scenario, but it rankles me to this day. There was a particular car I wanted and I wanted it with a manual transmission, which was tough to find in that car. There was one at a local dealer that was near my office, so I stopped in during my lunch hour to see what they'd do on price. At the time, I was a young, professional woman in my twenties. The car was for me and I was paying cash.
I wander in around noon on a Tuesday. No one even acknowledges my presence though there was NO ONE else in the showroom. Finally, I go up to one of the salespeople and say 'Hey, do you still have this model of car? I thought you had one in stock.' The guy looked at me, in total seriousness, and says in a very condescending tone, 'Oh, honey, you don't want that car, it has a manual transmission. Let me show you these others that would be better for you.'
Ummmm, what? After the initial shock wore off, I looked at him and said, 'Well, first off, my name isn't 'Honey'. I have a name which you'd know if you'd bothered to ask. Second, I know what I want and don't need you to tell me. I think we're done here.' And, with that, I walked out the door.
I ended up finding the same model, manual transmission, at another dealership about an hour from my house. TOTALLY worth the drive. I did most of the deal over the phone. The salesman DGAF that I was female. We got to a price we could both live with and the deal was done. SO MUCH BETTER. Drove that car until it died about 10 years later.
The first dealership went out of business about a year later. Can't say I'm surprised."
"I'm building a skoolie, which is like a converted bus you can live in, and occasionally I hire friends to help out for the day when they're in need of work. Every single time I go to the hardware store with these friends (all the hired hands have been men so far), the workers address them instead of me when I'm obviously the one actually looking at the products.
One such worker continued to address my friend, even though I was answering all the questions he asked. After three attempts to get this misogynistic old man to acknowledge me in the conversation, my friend started laughing and walked away. I continued to stand there, cheerfully answering the questions he barked at my friend, who was actively walking away. I was so entertained at this point; this was war.
When my friend has left the aisle, it was like a flip switched in the worker's head. When he was speaking to my friend, he was asking about floor plans and fridges and all the little things that make it a home, but the moment he started talking to ME, he started absolutely questioning my engine, the capacity of my battery bank, and all the things I'm sure he assumed I wouldn't be familiar with. I answered all the questions with ease and even had the chance to mansplain my electrical system, as the worker said something blatantly wrong while speaking with me.
The moment he realized I was explaining something to him, he turned beet red, insisted he knew what I was talking about and that I was wrong, and cited his uncle's business as a reason to believe he knew what he was talking about. I smiled, suggested he attend some local community college courses to refresh his memory, and wished him a nice day before walking away.
It was a beautiful moment. The worker avoided me every time I went to that hardware store for months until I stopped seeing him altogether."
"My husband and I were buying a new mattress. It was a joint decision on the feel of it, but my decision for the price-point/warranty/etc because I was paying for it. In other words, all the stuff we actually needed the salesperson for. The salesperson was a fine guy, old-fashioned, not overtly rude, but he was definitely talking to my husband more than to me (the one with the money to pay). I noticed but, eh, I'm used to it, I was going to get my info and pay the man. Whatever.
My husband, bless him, wandered away all floaty, like he'd never seen a furniture store before (weird, but ok). Then he came back and said, 'Hey, can I have some money? I'm going to go check out the (insert dumb little decorative thing in the other part of the store).' I was weirded out because I have never seen him care about a lamp enough to go examine it on his own and also we don't... we don't do that? But yeah, I said, sure, and handed him some cash.
The salesman IMMEDIATELY stopped paying attention to my husband. Suddenly, in his mind, I was wearing all the pants. He started asking me what I did for a living, etc and I was able to negotiate for a slightly lower price.
I love my husband so much. He knew exactly what he was doing."
"Kind of a switcheroo, but I (a woman) sold cars, and a couple came in to buy an Accord. They made it clear it was the wife’s car, so I was asking her the questions and getting to know her, but the husband was a controlling bulldozer of a person. He’d interrupt her and talk down to her, and kept trying to bully me on the finances, which I had no control over. He hated it, but I ignored him so politely and patiently, waiting for him to shut the heck up so I could listen to her answer. I eventually stopped him and asked her, this is YOUR car, what do YOU think? He got up and left in a huff to harass the management, and I was left alone to do the deal in peace with her, and it was VERY pleasant without him!
I moved on to work as a victim’s advocate for domestic violence; looking back I’m sure this was an abusive relationship, but I’m glad I could offer her the kindness and respect she clearly didn’t get, and although it was for a short time, it was for something big and important. I think about them sometimes (because I got along with her so well, and really disliked him), hoping she’d driven that Accord far away from him."
"A few years back when I was in university, I was getting chronic urinary tract infections. My university doctor (female) bore the brunt of my many appointments and wanted to refer me to a urologist in the university's town for a scope just to make sure there was nothing more serious going on (FYI ladies - chronic UTIs aren't terribly uncommon especially in some contexts).
Over the holidays, I went home and saw my regular family doctor (male) and asked to see a specialist there just because my mom was around to take me. Yes, this is fine, he said but as he was explaining the scope procedure to me briefly he advised that as a woman, don't expect any anaesthetic. I questioned this, and apparently they typically only anaesthetize men (yes, really). I don't give a GAWDDAM if your tube is longer than mine - if someone asks for numbing, give it to them!
One of many unfair medical situations I've experienced,"
"So this one doesn't really involve any women but a coworker of mine, an Indian contractor, had a high-pitched voice when speaking English. He was on the phone with his insurance to ask why they hadn't made the payment to the garage fixing his car and you could tell he was getting angrier and angrier at them when I all of a sudden heard him yell 'I AM THE HUSBAND!'
Apparently, the guy on the other line thought it was a good move to tell my coworker 'Can we talk with your husband about this? You don't seem to understand what we're saying.' Our female coworkers were livid when they heard that and had a whole bunch of similar stories."
"This August I bought a new truck and took my boyfriend with me. He is white and I am Latino, we arrived at the dealership and I asked about the explorer they had front and center. Salesman comes over and is asking a bunch of questions to my bf. He told him it's for me. I was ignored for the entire conversation. I got up and started looking at the truck. A Hispanic Salesman comes and asks me if I need help. I was out of there within 1.5 hours keys in hand. Found my bf with the other salesman. I looked at bf and said I bought the one I wanted and Manny G got me squared away. The look of utter disappointment and anger on the guy's face was worth it. My bf chuckled and told said 'I told you she was the one buying.' Manny, you were great."
"I was the guy in the scenario but I was at ComicCon with my girlfriend. It was her idea to go to the con as she actively collected comics (I have a pile of graphic novels but usually don't bother with individual issues.) At one booth there was an indie artist trying to hawk his new book. He saw us both looking through a copy and came over to engage. He started talking to me but then she asked him a question about the book. He gave a short answer and then tried to talk to me about the book again. She just got an annoyed look for a second and then moved onto the next booth. I set the book down and cut him off to say 'Sorry dude, she's the comic fan, I was just looking at the drawings' and then moved on too.
Assuming I was the nerdier one was acceptable. Still a somewhat ignorant assumption, but if you look at the traditional gender split of a comic con it's a reasonable assumption. But once she tried to engage and he ignored her in favor of a male then that just showed he was an idiot. And seeing it first-hand I really kind of felt bad for nerdy girls who have guys gatekeeping nerdy things or assuming the girls don't have the right to be interested in them."
"We were buying a car for me. Paying for the whole thing outright, but financing the minimum amount because they ran a deal that got us $1,500 off if we financed through them (we paid the whole note the next month), so of course, we had to sit in the salesman's office for an inordinately long amount of time answering questions.
The salesman, who was great in every other way because he was a hands-off, no-pressure guy (we walked from several other places when they attempted to pressure us), would ask my husband the questions. My husband pointed at me and said 'I don't know, it's her car.' The salesman said 'Of course, but we all know how it goes, right?' and kept asking him.
So what ended up happening, because we both wanted to get the paperwork signed and get the heck out of there with the car but we were also on the same wavelength wondering about how far we could go with this, was that the salesman would ask my husband the question. Husband would blatantly turn to me and repeat the question, I would answer him, then he would turn back to the salesman and repeat exactly what I'd said. Dude never got the idea that maybe he could...just ask me the questions.
On the car we bought for my husband a few years later, since we put both our names on the paperwork we both had to sign. The finance guy saw my last name was different and asked when we were getting married. And was confused when we said 'Er, eight years ago?'"
"I'm an Army veteran. My debit card is with a military affiliated bank. Every time I pay for dinner at a restaurant they bring it back, set it in front of my husband and say 'Thank you for your service.' My husband was never in the military. The card has my name on it, and sometimes they even watched me pull it out of my bag!
I have also been by myself somewhere, paid for something with the card, and had the person see the card, look at me and say 'Oh, was your husband or dad in the military?' Ummmmmm, no, no they were not. I was. Thank you.
(To be very clear I do not want or need to be thanked for my service)."
"I don't have a husband, but my dad used to take me shopping for big purchases, like a car or my first computer. And I have to say? This didn't happen very often.
The only time I got this was when I was shopping alone for fishing lures at Academy Sports. Now, I don't condemn the store as a whole - I've shopped there many times and this is the only time someone was a moron.
The clerk (older guy) saw me shopping, came over, and assumed I was shopping for someone else, and kept using 'he' pronouns for this assumed person. I've been fishing since I was old enough to hold the pole. With my country cousins, we'd dig our own bait and make our own poles. I've dove for clams for supper for my family when I was 13-years-old. Yet this dude kept probing, 'Who are you buying for? What kind of fishing does HE do?'
I stayed polite because my mom always said 'Kill them with kindness,' and let the idiot help me because I really did have questions about what kind of lure is best for catching trout down the bayou. Then I told a manager how uncomfortable this employee made me, and the manager immediately believed me and said he's speaking to the employee after I left the store. I have faith that the manager did.
I mean, I was gonna let it go, but I was waiting in line to check out and the manager was right there, and I thought this clerk is probably doing this for every woman in the fishing department, so I felt obligated to stick up for all of us."