Archive for the ‘Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose’ Category

Service of Déjà Vu

Thursday, January 13th, 2022


Image by Ryan Doka from Pixabay 

This post fits right in the Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose series.

I struck up a conversation with a stranger who told me that her car, in the repair shop since June, was finally promised for December 15. In one followup call during the seven months she was carless she was told they were waiting for a part from Germany.

The date came and the car still wasn’t ready. She broke down and asked her husband to call. He got immediate attention and she picked up the car shortly thereafter.

This reminded me of a current TV commercial for VROOM, an online car shopping service. A woman is in an auto showroom trying to buy an SUV.  The sales team ignores her until she pulls out a puppet husband from her handbag and only then does the sales staff wake up. One salesman, with an ingratiating smile, immediately rushes over. In the last scene she’s smiling outside her home as a flatbed VROOM truck pulls up with her vehicle.

It saddens me because I was part of an interaction reminiscent of the real and fictional ones many decades ago and I’d thought that by now we were over this kind of discrimination. I’d rushed to mid-Brooklyn on the subway early in the morning to pick up our car from the dealer’s service division to drive it back to our garage, again jump in a subway and get to work on time.

I patiently waited in line at the dealership at 7 a.m. when the male receptionist skipped over me to help the man behind me. I said, “I’m next!” and he replied angrily, “Can’t you see I am helping customers here?” I pointed to my car and said “I’m a customer and that’s my car. I need to get to work too.” It was a memorable moment. I never returned.

Have you noticed or heard of dismissive treatment of female customers–as obsolete as it seems today–involving cars or in any other circumstances?


Image by Gerald Oswald from Pixabay 

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