May 12, 2014 by rebelwithalabelmaker
This is my first guest post! Joan Adair, who is a dear friend and member of our congregation and fantastic writer, sent me this. I thought you’d love it too… so here it is, with permission (from Joan. Not from Jerko. I feel no need to get permission from him).
After considerable research, I was happy to have found the right SUV to suit my requirements. I entered the dealership relieved and happy to be ready to purchase.
Then, AGEISM/SEXISM reared its ugly head.
The salesman was a good guy. …low key …straight forward.
But …then …came…. (cue the creepy music..). Jerko, the temporary manager, you know, the guy who tries to sell the undercoating and extended warranty . …A young Sly Stallone came to mind as I checked out his excessive tan, pinstripe suit, and slick hair.
His first question was, “Are you excited?” Hmmm. I’m thinking, “Would he say that to my son Robin? I am not buying a Porsche here, I am simply moving to a used SUV because of my hip discomfort with low sedan seats.” I muttered something about having actually bought a new car once or twice, and stifled the urge to point out that I was not likely to pee my pants over this.
He then noticed that I was texting. He remarked in his most condescending voice, “Oh my, you’ve got that figured out?” Would he say that to my son Aaron? It was all I could do to point out that I may be old, but I’m not stupid! Robin is amazed that I didn’t just walk out at this point.
Before he started the sales pitch, he patronizingly commented, “So, you’ve been saving up for this and you’re going to pay cash.” While he’s creating images of old ladies squirrelling away pennies into a jar, I’m conjuring counter-images like, “No, I liquified a low-performing blue chip stock from my portfolio, ” but I let an icy stare be my answer. Now I’m getting the urge to get into the ring with Rocky Balboa and my cane.
A perfectly lovey little interlude interrupted my urge to kill. The poor young man couldn’t manage to transfer the numbers from the paper work onto the computer screen. An older woman had to be called in. She very patiently walked him through it. When she left, you can bet I said, in my encouraging kindergarten voice, “Oh my! You’ve got that figured out!”
Then came the part where I had to sign 4 identical bills of sale which involved 4 signatures and initialing in the same spot on each. Jerko felt prompted to compliment me on accomplishing each page of this task, voicing amazement that I could remember where to write my name as we moved from page to page. (The freakin’ lines are marked with an X! ). After the last one, he announced, “Good job!” in the same tone I might use to encourage a struggling child who has managed to tie her shoe laces.
His Mr. Slick sales pitch came next. I responded with one word answers, the same word repeatedly, simply, “No ” and an icy glare. As soon as he took a breath, I grabbed for the keys, and legged it out of his office. (Well, as fast as an old lady with a bad limp can leg it…. Not exactly the elegant Katherine Hepburn swish exit I would have preferred.)
This takes me back to the late ’70s when I bought my first new car. Neither my husband nor I was successful in getting the salesman to look at me, or engage me in any kind of conversation about cars! That time I had to go home and cool off for a few days before I tried again, by myself.
We’ve made great strides in feminist, racist and sexist issues over my adult lifetime. Now as an aging woman, I find the fight to be recognized as a person goes on. ….but I do have more fun with it.
I will conclude this episode with a visit to the dealership and a one-on-one chat with Mr. Jerko. I will portray the very model of instruction through calm, kindness and civility. Inside, however, I may be channeling author Miriam Toews, “….with the words ‘you transparent creep’ radiating unspoken from my assassin eyes.”