Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jobs for the Boys

I had to get new tyres on my little Nissan Micra today. It’s a chore that is getting harder and harder every year. Now those nice young men in Quikfit are a fine and hardworking bunch but God, their attitude to women is positively medieval. Whilst awaiting my turn to be attended to, I watched these boiler-suited adolescents interact with 5 other customers. They were courtesy and respectful at all times to these male clients. I marvelled at how they multitasked too. They answered the constantly ringing telephone, checked stock on their antiquated computer in between nudging 2-3 car jobs closer to completion. I’ve always said that men can’t multitask. This bred are the exception that proves the rule. Unfortunately their greater mental dexterity has come at quite a high price.

I’ve never been so patronised in my whole life. Gus (according to the greasy nametag) inhaled deeply before explaining in baby steps the importance of having my wheels balanced. He also noted that the grooves in my tyres were more than just there for decorative effect. He offered Dunlop, Pirelli and Firestone and enquired in all seriousness that perhaps it would be best to ring my “old man” for advice. The ‘cross treads v radial’ decision wasn’t one to be made without careful consideration and – his tone clearly implied - certainly not by a girlie.

Now, perhaps Quikfit do get their fair share of pathetic dipsy female customers that has seen these guys develop their attitude. But that’s still no excuse. I’m not a petrol-head but the two summers I spent in my uncle’s garage in Galway taught me the basics. I know that a “McPherson Strut” isn’t what Elle does on a Milan catwalk. I know that a “Rack & Pinion” isn’t a wooden frame festooned with bird wings. And a 'Constant Velocity Joint' isn't a even burning cigarette!

I wanted to scream at this spotty, dismissive youth. How dare he! I wanted to tell him that I deserved the same courtesy as he had extended to his male customers. Yes, I had changed a tyre before. I do occasionally check fluid levels in my battery. And the reason that I had darkened his door in the first place was because I recognised that that decorative effect on my tyres was beginning to wear thin!

I wanted to take my business to the FastFit competition down the road but both he and I knew that regardless of the outfit’s name, there really is only one show in town. And it's a man's world!!!

9 Comments:

Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

Ha very good. I know how you feel, I don't drive myself but I've been in other situations (having some wiring done in a flat I used to live in) where the electrician guy suggested I should get my Da in to help. And I was like, er, I don't NEED my Da, I've hired YOU to do it, so just bloody get on with your job! Which I'M paying you for!

Men eh?

10:40 a.m., February 16, 2006  
Anonymous Claire said...

Yes, I've had this kind of treatment too. One guy in particular stands out...he was a salesman for a company that fits home office furniture and he wouldn't accept that I didn't need his services.

He kept asking when my husband would be around but in the same tone of voice you get from people asking kids if their mommy or daddy is at home.

11:30 a.m., February 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you and think your article is very amusing, however be assured that men (except those that are obviously mechanics or something) often get treated the same way. As a matter of fact they do almost the exact opposite - treat us like we know everything and then they don't have to explain why we need the more expensive tyre - surely we are not women and need that explained to us?? Anyways - just my two cents.

12:12 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger Curly K said...

I have been very lucky so far with mechanics and as I drive around the country quite a bit I've had to stop at random garages a few times.

That said with regard to buying a car it was a whole other ball game. The vast majority of car salesmen I met were patronising or arrogant or just dismissive. Most of my female friends have had similiar experiences

12:32 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Paige, you have touched a nerve here, again. Can I contact you when I next have trouble with my car? I don't know one thread from another, but I do know tyres should be round and should grip.
How can I say this with delicacy? You disappoint me today. What happened to that withering glance that keeps young men in their place? That caustic quip that makes them bite back their words? "Listen here sonney, if I had time to waste on knowing about tyres I wouldn't be here talking to you would I?"
"Listen, you little tyke, has your mother told you how to cook an egg yet?" "Looks like you need a bit of the old education round here... I run training courses for mechanics who are too embarrassed to talk to women properly... Can I sign you up for one, or would you like to phone a friend?" "By the way I watched you talking to those men and I want to congratulate you. You were able to do your jobs properly while being professional in your speech. Your problem is you're not consistent. How about a bit of practise?"

1:58 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Thanks girls (+ anon male), it's comforting to know that someone feels my pain.

But Paul, I can't seem to win. On Monday you beomaned the once "nice, considerate person" and noted that I was now "dripping with caustic acid". I deliberately re-wrote my blog, toning down the acerbic comments and you wonder where the "withering glance" is!

Maybe you should run a course on "understanding the Male Psyche", I'd say there would be a gang of us who'd sign up!

Sincerely though, thanks to you all for your excellent comments.

2:18 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger JL Pagano said...

Hmmm...reminds me of when I used to live in a flat in Ranelagh and I used to bring my washing once a week to the laundromat. Each and every time there was a female customer (more often than not a biddy) who seemed to think I was unable to master the complexities of a washing machine the minute I walked in the door! You are absolutely right Paige sexism is everywhere!

2:33 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Paige, with your characteristic acuity, you highlight my vasillating comments. All I can say by way of expalnation is that I consider consistency an over-rated quality. Your fine writing provokes so many competing emotions in me that I simply let myself go with the flow.

Like JL P, I have experienced women treating me as if I am a helpless man. It tend to happen when I am in a food shop, probably a fish shop. I get asked "are you sure you know how to cook that?" But I love it. It's nice when someone takes you under their wing and looks after you.

8:21 p.m., February 16, 2006  
Blogger Padmanaban said...

This is really a good news among the jobseekers. Though there may be cases of unemployment, but still there is so much job openings

12:42 p.m., January 04, 2010  

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