Monday, November 12, 2012

Mechanical Aptitude?

I hate to be sexist, but… I keep having this experience with female clerks who have a presumption that women do not have mechanical aptitude.

I noticed it several years ago when I was having a lot of keys copied for the mobile home sales business.  It is very hard to find a good key copier, because --- there is skill involved.  Some people do it well.  About 1/3 of the time you have to return to the hardware store to have it remade, because it doesn’t work.  I use all three local hardware stores, and the problem is “across the board.”  I even had one place explain to me that the time of the month makes a difference because the machine’s calibration slips little-by-little until it’s time for the regular tune-up.

At one hardware store, a cute young gal made some bad keys, so when I returned, I was pretty explicit that I wanted a Man to re-make them.  She almost burst into tears and told me, “Any one of us can help you.”  What she didn’t realize was that there is skill involved, and because she did not realize it took skill, it is unlikely that she would ever develop it.

Today, I was standing at the in-store coffee grinder at my favorite market, and noticed  that (after I’d cleared the chute and poured my beans in) the grinder was only letting a trickle of ground coffee out the spout.  I tried the second choice of settings… same thing.  By now, I had determined that something was wrong with the coffee grinder, and thought it would be helpful if I alerted store personnel.  Well, the gal I flagged down was having none of it.  The first thing she did was raise her voice and berate me, saying, “You’re not doing it right.”   In a tone that was equally snotty, I informed her that I have been grinding coffee longer than she has been alive, so in all likelihood, I have some proficiency at it.  I tried to explain to her that I had called her over because the machine was not functioning properly, and I thought she needed to know that.  Because she still believed that I was an incompetent customer, she offered to grind it for me.

At that point, I stalked off, deciding to return to the kiosk after she went to another aisle.

But, in reporting this incident to the manager, I mentioned that I believe this is an age-related issue.  I have noticed that a number of young people approach their work with the idea that they are all-knowing and fully experienced, and if a customer tries to explain or tell them anything, they immediately assume that the customer is an idiot.  For instance, when I go to write a check, clerks aggressively inform me that, “I need to see your driver’s license.”  Well, “D for duh.”  They do not seem to realize that if the Buyer (me) is age 55+, I have been writing checks since the 1970s, and --- guess what --- I already know, from experience, that you need to see my license.  (In fact, if you’ll just chill for 2 seconds, you will notice that I am taking it out of my purse as you speak.  Oh, you thought I was reaching for my lipstick?  Who’s the dummy, here?)  Yes, there seems to be an inordinate amount of bossiness among today’s Customer Service personnel.  They seem to believe that Customers need to be directed, and dictated to, because most of us would be too incompetent to make a purchase without their advice.

What is it with today’s “yoots”?  They seem to think we’re all “stoopit.”

© Elena E Smith, November 2012

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