Insouciance

Yet another method of misogyny was brought to my attention the other day.

My family and I were nibbling on complimentary popcorn in the office of a car dealership while our salesman went to fetch his manager because he could not satisfy my mother’s terms of negotiation.

The manager shook my dad’s hand and explained the unwillingness to budge on the terms of the sale, and then went behind some desk to carry out managerial tasks. I inferred from the way he spoke that he was not from around here originally.

About fifteen minutes after leaving our presence, the manager returned and approached my mom. He shook her hand and introduced himself.

He said, “Hi, I’m Brett. I’m not from around here, but I’ve noticed that Utah tends to ignore their women. Just the other day, my wife and I were at a restaurant, and she pulled her credit card out of her wallet and paid for the meal. When the waiter brought back the check, he returned the credit card to my possession, even though my wife was the one who provided it. I just wanted to apologize for doing the exact same thing to you earlier.”

The manager didn’t let us leave the car dealership without shaking my mom’s, sister’s, and my own hand and providing us each with a self-introduction.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the car dealership manager said ever since he said it. It’s true, especially in business transaction situations, women, when accompanied by their men, are often overlooked and unacknowledged. Fascinating.

Why do you think that is? Do folks just assume that the guy is the one with the bucks? I get that the whole objective of the sales guy is to get money from his customer’s wallet to his company’s bank account, but come on. Completely ignoring a man’s wife when they’re in the market to make a big purchase? My mom was literally right in front of this manager guy, and it took him 15 minutes to even realize that he’d completely ignored her.

Sexism. It’s problematic and it’s everywhere.

M.

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