05 June 2009

"Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man" --The Kinks

I am pleased when something I write gets picked up by the Washington Post's Express. It's happened four times that I know of. Two of those four times, they've referred to me as a "he" and twice they've missed the point of my post.

So, maybe it's not quite the honor it could be.

I'm not a "he". Shocked? You shouldn't be. Yes, I try to write as universally as I can but I've never tried to pass as a man.

The post they quoted today was about dealing with car salesmen so it's ironic that the WaPo thought I was a man because the salesmen certainly didn't. They didn't even see me as equal to a man, which would have been preferable.

Even though I introduced myself and explained what type of car I was looking for, the salesmen (yes, plural) asked my husband questions about what he wanted in a car. He would smile, point to me, and say "It's her car. I'm just along for the ride."

It isn't that Hubby refused to speak. He'd ask an occasional question and he'd point out things (did you know you can spot if a car has been in an accident if you look under the hood and check for over-spraying? He's way clever about all kinds of things!) and he's a whiz with the numbers, where I am not.

That said, I did the research. I developed a going in position. I determined the final cost I wanted to pay. I laid out what I wanted to the salesmen. I spoke for myself at every turn. I negotiated. I considered the alternatives. I made the decision. I signed the check from my account--not even a shared account.

And, even so, yesterday, we got a thank you letter from the dealer who sold me the car. It was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. (Hubby's name)".

I ask you, what more could I do to make it clear it was mine?


Barbara said...

I've never been more proud than I was of the Honda I bought solo. I was alone because the dealership was near the hell-hole where I used to work and my husband opted out. They were hungry for business, and even though I was white and female, they gave me a very good price. It felt so good to vanquish in a man's world.

Leave your hubby at home next time (or slip into the ladies' room and call him) if you really want to be in control. But beware that having a car in one person's name only is a fucking disaster at times.

Maybe you should let the WaPo know LA is feminine!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Clearly, it's a man's world. I suggest you tape down your boobs, bob your hair, and change your first name to Loren.

Kate said...

Last time I went to get tires, the guy at the counter actually asked me if he could call my husband and "just talk to him" because I seemed so confused.

And of course, being the uber bitch that I am said, "Well. He's dead."

I bought tires elsewhere.

HP said...

If the car was pink and covered with cute little sparkles, it would obviously be yours. So clearly, it's your fault for choosing a gender-neutral vehicle.

Fearless in Toronto said...

Call me petty, but I would have walked out of the dealership, right after telling them that I would be spending MY money elsewhere, and why.

repliderium.com said...

I opt for a "Hey jackass, I'M buying the car. Talk to ME!"
Rude maybe, but gets the point across! ;)

f.B said...

I'd just be straight with them.

"Hey, guy who works for commission: I'm the one buying the car, not him. I have the questions, not him. And the next time you so much as ask him what time it is, you've lost a sale. That means no paycheck. I hope you can feed your kids on failure."

repliderium.com said...

ooohh ooohhh!!! Can I change my answer to fb's? His is way better and makes me look like less of a bitch!

WordNerd said...

I fully expected to be cast aside when we bought a car last summer. But if you're the one who owns the A Plan pin number (so only you can pull the trigger) and you're the one who's first on the title, it's all you. From questions on what I wanted to scheduling maintenance to thank you letters. The fiance's an afterthought according to Mazda. Maybe it's because I said I was from a Ford family? Hmm.

However, State Farm doesn't seem to get the fact that I'm the primary owner.

The three times I've been quoted by the Express they've missed the point of my post or gotten something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! There should be a car dealership owned by women that only caters to women. Then we could stare at men's crotches, ignore them when they ask questions, and make them bring us coffee.

Bilbo said...

This happened to us a few years ago when we were looking for a new car for her. By the time we left the showroom (not very long), they could have offered to give her the car, pay the insurance, give her a lifetime warranty and free gas, and throw in a chauffeur, and she would still have told them to go to hell. I just stood back and let them dig themselevs in deeper while I waited for the fireworks. I wasn't disappointed.

LiLu said...

It's things like this that make me not give a damn they stopped quoting me forever ago.

Although it's probably also my frequent use of words like damn.

Eh. Congrats, my darling. With or without their recognition of your amazingocity.

Alex said...

Wow. Yet more reasons to have absolutely no sympathy for the auto industry.

G said...

In its beginning, Saturn, which is an automobile not worth shit, geared its advertising specifically for women. Sadly, many women fell for this load of crap and ended up with an even bigger load of crap in which they proudly drove home. One minute after warranty the Saturns these poor souls bought began to fail. No wonder Saturn is being chopped from GM (the same company that brought you its award winning global warmer, the Hummer).

Mike said...

Visit me Saturday. I have the perfect response for the car salesmen.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Congrats on making the Washington Post and I feel your pain about car buying.

Years ago, I was with my ex buying a car. He took the backseat and said exactly what yours did. Finally, when the sales guy approached me, all he could say was that it had a nice mirror.

Seriously? I'm going to buy the car because it has a vanity mirror.

At least the VW dealership pointed out that the glove compartment had beer holders and was airconditioned.

Needless to say, I hate car buying.

Reya Mellicker said...

You are SO not a "he." If they saw you, their jaws would drop instantly. You are completely, fabulously, gorgeously woman, all woman.

It is an honor to be chosen for the Express, even if they can't read your gender in your writing. Very cool!

Ibid said...

A co-worker of mine went car shopping with her son. When she asked what a particular car cost he started talking about down payments and monthly payments. "No, no," she said, "what does the car cost?" Again, monthly rates. "You're not hearing me. I'm asking what the car costs as a lump. What would the car cost if I paid you today?" Yet again, down payments. She and her son turned and walked off the lot.

Another co-worker asked what the gas mileage was on a car. The salesman didn't seem to understand the question. He, too, got left behind.

Hear me, car dealers! There are other dealerships. All you bring to the table is being as big or as little a jackass as you can be.

lacochran said...

Barbara: I do value his opinion. I just make the decision about what's mine. I've also always had my car in my name only. I don't know how that could be a problem...?

Malnurtured Snay: And become one of them? Never!

Kate: Good for you!

HP: I will apply sparkly stickers as soon as I can get some.

Fearless in Toronto: I walked out of the first two because I recognized I was being condescended to. But how many dealerships do you want to travel to?

repliderium.com: True but is he likely to negotiate with you in good faith after you've called him a jackass?

WordNerd: "A Plan pin number"? I don't know what that is but it's a definitive "yes" to the rest of it.

Fiery Nuggets: I like the way you think.

Bilbo: You like fiery women, hm?

LiLu: Thanks, Sweetie.

Alex: They really aren't a sympathetic bunch, are they?

G: I think the auto landscape will be VERY different in a few short years.

Mike: Foolishly, I did.

Little Ms. Blogger: Thanks, Hon. So you didn't buy the car with the vanity mirror? Wasn't it sparkly enough?

Reya Mellicker: Thanks, Darling. And right back atcha!

Ibid: I hope they do hear you. So far, not so much.

jinxygrrl said...

That's funny. I read your blog on Friday at work and read my Express on the way home. I saw the Blog Log and laughed.

lacochran said...

jinxygrrl: Aw, thanks for reading.

Lora said...

I've been here before (I stalk you now and again) and I thought you were a man until about a month ago!
I'm so sorry!
If it makes you feel any better, people always think I'm a lesbian.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Lora: Oddly, that does soothe me. Thanks for reading. :)