Social Question

zenvelo's avatar

What to do when service people defer to the man?

Asked by zenvelo (36781points) July 9th, 2018

My girlfriend is a strong, independent woman. I have noticed when I am with her while she is conducting business that people will check with me when responding to her, even though I am silent.

Today, checking out of a hotel which was in her name and was being charged to her credit card, the young woman who was checking us out asked if all was okay with our stay. It wasn’t and my girlfriend proceeded to tell our concerns and difficulties. The desk clerk kept looking at me when she responded.

Why didn’t she respond directly to my girlfriend? I have noticed this a half dozen times just in the last week or so.

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9 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I would let a strong independent woman address this rather than mansplain the best course of action.

janbb's avatar

I would like to think if I were the woman in that situation I would say, “i’m the one dealing with this – please look at/talk to me.”

chyna's avatar

I have noticed that in restaurants. I think the wait staff defer to the man thinking he will be the one tipping.

janbb's avatar

Once when we were still married a waiter asked Graham what his wife would be having and I almost said, “His wife is in Nevada so we don’t know, but I’d like….”

ragingloli's avatar

Tell her to talk to your girlfriend.

JLeslie's avatar

It could be one of two things. It could be that the person is deferring to the man, or it could be that since your gf is doing the talking, the person in the customer service position is trying to include both of you by acknowledging your presence also. If you had been doing the talking, maybe you and your gf would have appreciated that she acknowledged the other person in the party, which would be your gf in that situation. But, you were there, so I am going to assume your interpretation is correct, and your gf was being semi-ignored.

Interestingly, I don’t notice this happening when my husband and I are in a situation like that, I’m going to watch for it now. Maybe I am conditioned to be ignored in that type of situation and don’t realize it. Was your gf annoyed by it? Or, you noticed more than her?

What I do feel a lot of the time as a woman is that when I am alone with a service man, too often they try to tell me some bullshit, like I’m an idiot, and I think that’s at least partly because I’m a woman. Something that makes no logical sense. Those experiences of feeling less respected, or not taken seriously, happens all too often. It’s not just simple service situations, but also more serious situations like the doctor’s office.

In the situation you described, if it seemed blatantly obvious I was being ignored, I think either my husband would walk away, or possibly shrug signaling to the service person he has no clue. Or, he would say, “I don’t know why you’re looking at me, she’s the one dealing with it.” Or, I might say, “I don’t know why you’re looking at him, I’m the one talking to you.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

I agree with @ragingloli. If my wife didn’t say anything first, I’d probably just say something like “don’t ask me, you’re doing business with her.”

Demosthenes's avatar

I’ve noticed the opposite sometimes; I find that when I’m with a female coworker, kids and parents with children are more likely to approach her than me. But in that case, they’re free to choose whom they want to talk to. I sort of agree with @janbb on this one. She might have to remind the employees that she’s the one talking, the one they need to focus on.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes I have no qualms about telling them to deal with me, and I’ve had to do it several times. In my area of the US, they always defer to the men. I told one waitress who kept talking to my husband about everything, that if she wanted a tip from me, who was taking him out to dinner and paying, she should probably refill MY water and direct her comments to ME. Sounds mean but I tried for over 45 minutes to get her attention, she’d check on him and leave….nope!

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