Service of Déjà Vu

January 13th, 2022

Categories: Auto Repair, Déjà Vu, Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose, Sexist Behavior

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 


7 Responses to “Service of Déjà Vu”

  1. BC Said:

    This was not a problem for me , once I had my M.D. Just gave my name and title, and that I needed the car right away. RHIP? B.C.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:



    Unfortunately there are more of us without the prestigious MD title and enough of us are paying for our own cars and repairs so that the industry–should these not be anecdotal but universal attitudes–had best recognize it and adjust accordingly.

  3. ASK Said:

    Years ago, I once went car-shopping with my late husband, and on the showroom floor, I asked the salesman a question about performance. He looked at me and said, somewhat off-handedly, “Ask your husband.” I glared at him, but said nothing. When we left the showroom, I told my husband, “I loved the car, but we are not buying it from that salesman. We’ll buy it from another dealer.” He didn’t argue with me…

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The marketers for VROOM have apparently learned that what happened to you “years ago” still happens enough to base their commercial on a similar experience.

    We bought cars and then leased, for years, from a dealer in upstate NY. When I brought in the car to be serviced I was always treated nicely.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    I was one of the first to arrive for breakfast at this hotel in upstate New York. Soon after, couple after couple arrived, and were served while I just sat there as if I didn’t exist. I marched up to the hostess, expressed myself in the loudest of tones, and marched back to my seat. It was a stay of several days. On subsequent appearances for a meal, the staff dropped everything, and I was the first served. The initial snub may not have been because of sex, but because I was alone. Who knows?

    There have been similar incidents and making a literate and highly audible sound brings satisfactory results. In my experience, it’s yet to fail.

  6. Anonymous Said:


    What broils me is that women have to fight at times to be treated in a normal way. You’d think with the number of women who work and travel that restaurant staff would have gotten over their prejudices. A woman’s money and tip is in the same currency as a man’s or a couple’s.

    Two examples come to mind that are the opposite, and both occurred out of the country. Decades ago I enjoyed a memorably wonderful dinner alone in a Milan hotel’s dining room. And before that, the hostess at a resort inn in Aruba took me under her wing making sure I had fun dinner companions–mostly boat people who came ashore to enjoy a dinner.

  7. Neil Janovic Said:


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