Retail can be a nightmare to deal with, but it's especially frustrating when people demean you for things you can't control. Misogynistic behavior can ruin an otherwise decent experience in public, and these stories highlight some of the many experiences women have to deal with every day.
Well This Is Awkward
“I was at an airport duty-free shop looking for a decent bottle of Jack Daniels to get as a Christmas present for a friend. A shop employee came up and asked me what I was looking for. I told him I was deciding on a bottle of Jack. He asked if it was for a man or woman and I responded, kind of puzzled, ‘Why does it matter?’ He told me it mattered a lot because women only like sweet drinks. Then in response to the totally baffled look on my face, asked me to explain why, if it wasn’t true, women like sweet drinks, then why did women like Coca Cola so much?
I just…what? Women only liking sweet drinks is a common and irritating stereotype, but his reasoning…that because women like Coca Cola, the most popular soda in the world, that they must like only sweet drinks…what?! Okay.”
“We were having problems with our water heater and called someone to come take a look at it. My husband happened to take the dog for a walk just as the guy arrived. For some reason the repair man decided he was going to need to cut a giant hole in our wall behind it. I didn’t know any better, so I started helping his move stuff out of the way. Just as he’s getting his saw ready, my husband walks in the door. Suddenly his entire story changed and actually all he needs to do is replace a small part. His attitude was completely different and magically he did not need to ruin our drywall. I was pretty frustrated.”
My Coworker Was Grilling Them
“Wasn’t the buyer- I was the seller. Two idiots wander into the shop, obviously scanning the place for a male who can help them out with BBQing advice. I ask them politely if there’s anything they need help with- and they brush me off, but approach a minute later asking about brisket, Boston butt, ribs etc when they can’t find anyone else. So I show them where they are and as I’m mid through explaining each cut, my male co-worker comes round the corner. One of the men goes: ‘Oh, here’s a guy we can ask!’ and my co-worker hears it and basically told them to eff off, because I was more than capable of explaining everything, and they shouldn’t make assumptions.
They were quite embarrassed and sheepishly went back to me for their advice. I was absolutely livid with them.”
What A Card
“My husband and I are an interracial couple, and we entered a game shop a moment apart since I’d stopped to throw something out. People often assume we’re not together even when we stand next to each other, and this man clearly thought I’d come in alone. I had been playing Magic for a few years at this point. I knew enough to shop for decent cards to swap into my Commander deck, but my husband (boyfriend at the time) was at the time building most of my decks as I was generally using his cards and building decks is a pastime he enjoys.
My husband was perusing the shop and I went right to the front case. Things were immediately awkward, as I looked in the case the guy asked me ‘Oh so you play Magic? What’s the newest set called? What commander do you play? Tell me the steps in a turn?’ Which I’m used to, but was still annoying coming FROM THE SHOP WORKER.
There was some card– like, an uncommon enchantment, it was fine but not THAT good of a card– that they had marked as costing $500. I couldn’t see that it was a joke price, as it was smack in the middle of a bunch of $15 cards and wasn’t highlighted in any way. I asked the guy why it was marked that way; having been told by my husband that some cards are worth a metric ton and not having bought that many cards in my life I assumed there was some reason. Or at least if the price was a joke, that they’d have a reason for that.
This guy launched into a long explanation of a sort of Rube-Goldberg-esque chain of events that the card was a part of. Not knowing the names of most cards, I listened intently as he described how this card set off things like ‘A colorless Worm named Secret of Nala’ and ‘Then you can sacrifice the card Grenadine Bones to draw six cards, which you can have picked and put on top of your deck using Spirit of Masquerade’…. you get the idea. Fake cards and effects. He had me, a customer, trying to follow a nonsensical trail of fake cards because I asked about a fake price on a card in his store.
At this point my SO came back over and was like ‘Hey wait, none of those cards are real?’ And the guy responded ‘Yeah I know, this girl doesn’t know any cards, so I’m just messing with her.’ Then he turned back to me laughing and said ‘Sorry sweetheart, I just knew you didn’t really know about Magic.’
Before I could speak, my husband was like ‘That’s funny, my GIRLFRIEND owned all of us last night against my friends and I in Commander last night. Not sure why you wouldn’t want to answer a customer’s questions for real no matter what they knew.’ He left all the cards he had been pulling from their binders to purchase on the counter, and we have not been back.
We left that shop and didn’t return. We have a great shop near us where everyone is super chill. But yeah, that guy was weird!”
I’m Older Than You, Treat Me With Respect
“I have been entirely on my own financially since I was 18. Put myself through college, bought my own house, vehicles, paid my own bills, you get the idea. It has always been just me, no sharing of bills or responsibilities. The last six years I have been seriously sick and even with massively reduced working hours have still kept myself and my house afloat.
One day (a bad health day), there was a knock on my front door and despite being in rough shape, I answered the door to a salesman who had to be 15 years my junior and a foot shorter than me. He asked me:
‘Are you the little lady of the house?’
I stared at him in disbelief for about ten seconds before I read him the riot act for the worst, most misogynistic sales pitch in the world, ending in me telling him to get off my porch and slamming the door in his face. I admit I was feeling rough and that kid had just pressed the wrong button on the wrong day.
My boyfriend at the time was sitting in my living room listening and laughing so hard, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. I admit I never stay angry at the world long and five minutes later I was laughing too.
To this day my friends and my now ex-boyfriend (but still an awesome friend) occasionally drop the ‘little lady’ line on me and instantly I get enraged all over again for about twenty seconds….. before I start to laugh.”
I Know How To Fix This
“I was at a bar at closing time, walked out to leave and my car would not start. My dad taught me how to do my own maintenance on the car, so after turning the key I could hear that it was the starter and there really wasn’t anything I could do at 2am but get a ride home and come back later. I should clarify that this was before Uber.
So I go back into the bar and ask the bartender if I can hang out for a bit, my car is broke down and I need to arrange a ride.
Cue three fellows (one of whom had been chatting me up) jumping up and demanding to go look at my car so they could fix it. Thanks guys, it’s the starter, nothing to do until I can replace it. Nope, they had to go out and try. The funny thing was, once I relented and brought them out it was clear only one of them had worked on cars. He got under the hood while the other two shuffled around and threw out suggestions like, ‘Maybe it needs an oil change.’ Buddy.
Unfortunately for my poor car the guy who was under the hood was the one flirting with me, so he reeeally did not want to give up. And it took me a really long time to get a ride, so I just sat there listening to him hammer away at random bits under my hood (he did smack the starter a few times when he climbed under the car).
Needless to say, the car didn’t start. I sat there awkwardly waiting for my ride. The dude finally gave up and said I should replace my starter.
I know smacking the starter can work sometimes. But he had been drinking this entire time and again, it was 2 am so I can’t be certain if he managed to smack the starter at all, but he was banging on many things. And being a young girl by myself with strangers at 2am who followed me to my car I was staying away so as to not put myself in a compromising position. I had declined their assistance because I didn’t know them and they followed me anyways asserting that they could get the car running.”
I Know What I’m Talking About
“As a female gamer who majored in Computer Science and sold electronics at Toys R Us during college, I don’t think a day went by where I wasn’t talked down to about technology by someone. But the absolute strangest one wasn’t as a buyer, but came from an older lady who was looking to buy Studio Ghibli movies.
I’m also a huge anime fan, so I was excited to recommend my favorites and ones she and her grandkids might like… but she just refused to talk to me, and kept asking if there was another employee who ‘knew about this kind of stuff.’ She eventually caught eye of my long-haired, male coworker, and was like, ‘he looks like he would know!’ and went off to ask him. He knew nothing about anime, but when he finally figured out what she was talking about, I saw his face light up. ‘Oh, you should ask my coworker over there, she knows all about that stuff!’ And she stomped off without another word.”
It’s Not That Heavy
“I worked at IKEA 10 or so years ago. I had picked up a set of plates (10 lbs or so) that was in the wrong area and was walking towards the proper section to put it back. A man said excuse me so I stopped and turned around and asked him how I could help him. He stood there for 10-15 seconds just looked at me so I asked again and he answered in this really condescending way that it was okay to ask for help to move something.
So he had stopped me while I was walking with something ‘heavy’ and made me stand there holding it longer so I would look like I needed help? I just said no thanks and asked him what he needed. He rolled his eyes at me and walked away.
It was the most bizarre customer interaction in the 6 years I worked there.”
Drive’s Me Crazy
“I went to a dealership to purchase a car after mine was totaled in an accident. My father-in-law drove me because my husband was at work. This guy kept ignoring me and talking to my father-in-law. Even after every question was answered, ‘I don’t know what kind she wants, ask her.’ and ‘I have no idea what her budget is.’
I walked off, and he was still talking to my father-in-law, showing him a car. I walked up to another salesman and told him that guy apparently didn’t want to sell women cars and asked if he did. He was glad to help me and kept smirking at misogynistic guy while filling out the paperwork. I think there was some rivalry there because my sales guy was very accommodating and even threw in four brand new tires.”
Isn’t This Illegal?
“I had a guy refuse to rent me an apartment because I’m a woman. I called to ask for details on the place, and he asked if it would be just me or if anyone else would be sharing the apartment. When I said no, it’s just me, he told me a ‘single lady shouldn’t be living alone’, and he would not rent to me. When I tried to insist on seeing the apartment he yelled over me ‘GOD BLESS’ and hung up. This was 2012.”
I Want To Talk To Your Boss
“I have the typical female gamer experience:
I went to GameStop to buy the latest Assassin’s Creed title, which at the time was Black Flag. Very piratey game, as most people know, so a lot of people assume only guys would like it I guess. Well, I love pirates. Not just in the ‘oh em gee PotC is sooo cool and I looooove Johnny Depp!’ sense, I mean I truly enjoy researching the history of piracy, especially the Golden Age of Piracy. So a game that let me run about as a pirate assassin and interact with some famous pirates of old? I was down.
Well, evidently this was just not acceptable to the guy at the counter. When I walked up and asked for a copy, my husband beside me, he first pulled the ‘Aw that’s so nice, you’re buying your boyfriend a game!’ thing.
‘Uh, no, actually it’s for me. This guy is ROTTEN at stealth games, haha!’ (It’s true, my husband cannot do stealth to save his life)
‘What? No. No that’s impossible. Girls don’t play Assassin’s Creed. It’ll be too hard for you. Are you sure you don’t want Cooking Mama instead?’ (I swear to god he suggested that game, I could not make this up)
‘No. I want Assassin’s Creed, and your manager please.’ (Yes I pulled that card, I hate doing it but this guy had already crossed a line and my husband was gearing up to sock him one)
‘I am the manager for this store, is there a problem?’, he said pointing to his name tag
‘Yes. You’re refusing to sell me the game I want based on my gender and your assumption that my female brain is too fragile to handle it. So I’m going to need the contact information for YOUR boss, thank you. ‘
‘Look, it’s just a fact, girls can’t handle hard games like this. You should consider something easier. Animal Crossing is a good game for girls-‘
‘I think I can decide for myself what level of difficulty I can manage, thanks. I would like that contact please, or do I have to stand here all day?’
‘Wait, hang on, I’m sure we can come to a deal here. I’ll get the darn game for you, but I’m telling you, you won’t like it, it’s too hard and-‘
‘No. Thank. You. Your boss’ information please, and I’ll be taking my business to a different store location that respects their customers.’
He did give me the info in the end, so I’ll give him that much. We left, got my game at a different location not far away that gave us zero trouble, and I made a call and reported his behavior, which the guy on the phone was extremely apologetic for and offered to send me a discount voucher or something for the trouble. I declined the offer, because I really wasn’t looking for any free stuff or discounts over this issue, I just wanted the employee to be held accountable, and I was assured that it would be handled. It would seem he was indeed talked to, as the next time he saw me in that store, he avoided eye contact and made sure to foist the other store employee at me when I went to pay.”
Why Do You Have To Make This Complicated
“I was helping my sister buy a house. She is a high school teacher and her husband is a stay at home dad. The lender she chose to use told us that with her husband not having any income, he could not be on the loan (this is fine and normal) and that since he was not on the loan, could not be on title (this is wrong). I asked her if a ‘traditional’ couple was buying a house and the wife didn’t work, she could be on title, right? And of course she said yes. I told her to then pretend my sister was a man and my BIL was a woman and things went smooth after that.”
Just Let Me Buy This
“I wanted to buy a car that was present on the lot and not already processing with someone else (the kind of car where every dealership has 15+ of that car because it’s kind of their flagship) and while I was allowed to test drive it, it became clear to me that I was NOT going to be allowed to buy it.
They told me they could sell me one, but it wasn’t here yet. I asked him, ‘can you sell me that one’, pointing to one on the lot that was exactly what I was looking for. They were like oh no, not that one, that one isn’t the sport version. I’m looking at it and I see the sport tag and visible sport-tier changes to the exterior. So I’m like ok thats kinda weird, but fine, I have another car to drive, let me know when ‘the good one comes in.
I get a call, I go back to buy the car I asked for. The one that came in is the super luxury premium version. I say no. They’ve got another one, it’s got wheel locks and an upgraded sound system. But hey! It’s $500 off the $3,000 difference in price! I’m a dumb woman, that must sound like a good deal to me, right? I ask again if they’re willing to sell me any of the many cars that meet my criteria on the lot. They tell me that none of those cars exist.
I left and bought a car from another dealership in a different town. That guy said yes, we have a car like that, it’s this one, would you like me to put your name on it? Ok I’ll have it detailed, come test drive it this weekend to be sure and I’ll have the paperwork ready. Bought a car in one day, after spending 2 weeks trying to buy one somewhere else.”
Deal With Me Not My Husband
“I was trying to rent an apartment a few years ago.
The landlord (who was a middle-age lady) kept talking about how I needed to find a husband to take care of the paperwork for me.
In fact, a lot of our conversation was about how I needed to find a husband. She also made passive-aggressive jabs about how I wasn’t getting any younger. And she kept saying that I should have ‘a man around’ to deal with basic things like changing light bulbs and taking out the trash.
I wish I could say I didn’t rent from her, but the unit was really nice and cheap for its size.
Ironically, every time I needed help with something, she said to deal with her (not her husband), because he was lazy and incompetent.”
Talk To Her Not To Me
“Not a woman, but it’s a relevant story. I took my girlfriend to the immunologist because she works with bees and was having bad reactions to the stings. They said they might need to do a 4-hour test to determine some stuff, and she should bring someone to drive her home in case she has a bad reaction while driving. I brought a book and sat in the corner, not paying attention. She sat directly in front of him, across from his desk, like you normally might if you’re meeting with someone who has an appointment with you. The doctor kept talking louder than normal and I eventually noticed that he was directing his questions towards me. My wife would answer him, then he would ask me another question pertaining to her health. He wasn’t even looking at her. When he did address her, he’d call her ‘honey’ and ‘sweetie’ and such. Eventually, I had to cut him off and remind him that it was not me who scheduled the appointment, rather the adult woman in front of him who he was ignoring to shout at the guy trying to read in the corner. After the appointment was over, I was fuming. My wife said ‘welcome to my world.'”
Don’t Patronize Me
“I was once in a car crash and spent the next day sorting out panel beating. Went to get the front axle realigned. The guy was incredibly condescending and questioned me for a couple of minutes with questions such as ‘now why do you think it’s out of alignment sweetie.’ Got really fed up and just asked him to follow me out to the car where he went quiet and admitted it was bent. He would’ve only been a couple years older than me.”