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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    ponderings of a lone female

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    My mother is thinking of selling her place, and has enlisted me to look at some of the open houses near my place. I've gone into quite a few open houses, and I find that since I am a female and alone (and probably not dressed "rich" enough) that I most often am ignored by the realtor. Even when I want to speak to them to clarify things or get the fact sheets, it's like I have to go and wave my hand in front of them to be noticed.

    The funniest was when I noticed an open house sign while running an errand on my bike. I went in with my bike helmet and pannier bag over my shoulder, and the realtor literally took one look at me and turned away.

    I got the same thing when I went car shopping on my own. One dealer (Nissan) was SO bad; there were sales people sitting around a coffee table just talking to each other. I literally went up to them and told them "what do I have to do to get some help?" and walked out. Just because I'm alone, female, and am not dressed like I'm overflowing with money they don't take me seriously. Which sucks for them because they lost a sale.

    Has anybody else noticed similar things, or am I just being overly sensitive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    It definitely happens. I used to get very frustrated with it and would purposely only frequent stores/dealers that didn't treat me that way. And it shouldn't matter how you are dressed!

    I would have flipped a lid at a realtor who turned away from me because I was wearing bike clothes. Seriously.

    I had one occasion where I had a watch that needed fixing. I went into a jewelry store with a male friend and the sales dude kept speaking to my friend. He finally said to the guy "it's her watch, would you quit talking to me about it?!". I didn't let them do the work and I never set foot in that store again.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,375
    I could have written your post.
    I once took a bus 60 miles from Santa Fe to Albuquerque to buy a car. I was 18, had just inherited about $5k and wanted to buy my first car. I walked into the car lot in Abq, a salesman came up to me almost immediately. I bought the car that I'd already researched and was planning on buying. I drove it back to SF, right into the dealership, demanded to see the sales manager and showed him the car.
    He very nicely asked me what was wrong with it and I told him nothing, it was wonderful, and after being ignored at his dealership, I bought it at another one and walked out.

    I bought my current house through the Realtor that was showing the house across the street. The one running the open house for my current house ignored me, even though I was the only one in it at the time. The busy Realtor at the open house across the street was very helpful. I made sure he (not the she in the correct house) got a commission.

    I drive a MINI now, for a long time I was a Toyota driver. The Toyota dealership here had several salesmen that were very willing to help me - pick out a color. I asked about all-wheel vs front wheel drive and they (more than one!) came back with "what color were you looking for". I asked about 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder engines and gas mileage and the response was "what color are you looking for?" I kid you not - two different trips, 3 different salesmen - the exact same response to any of my questions - what color do you want?!
    I hoped they were incompetent. But, I asked a male friend to go with me on a third trip and they all of a sudden knew what drive train and engine options were available on the then-new version of the Rav4. Not incompetent, just stupid.
    I went directly to the MINI dealership (a 3 hr drive away) and bought a MINI. I love my MINI.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
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    3,863
    Money talks; when this happens to me (and I'll bet it happens to every one of us) I make sure to either visit of write a letter to the person that lost my business and explain how their treatment of me relates to a monetary loss for them. Hopefully they'll learn one of these days.

    Electra Townie 7D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    5,050
    Quote Originally Posted by TsPoet View Post
    I drive a MINI now, for a long time I was a Toyota driver. The Toyota dealership here had several salesmen that were very willing to help me - pick out a color. I asked about all-wheel vs front wheel drive and they (more than one!) came back with "what color were you looking for". I asked about 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder engines and gas mileage and the response was "what color are you looking for?" I kid you not - two different trips, 3 different salesmen - the exact same response to any of my questions - what color do you want?!
    I hoped they were incompetent. But, I asked a male friend to go with me on a third trip and they all of a sudden knew what drive train and engine options were available on the then-new version of the Rav4. Not incompetent, just stupid.
    I went directly to the MINI dealership (a 3 hr drive away) and bought a MINI. I love my MINI.
    I had a similar experience at a Saturn dealership back in the 90's. I had just totaled my VW and had the insurance money to buy a new car. I went to Saturn because I thought I would like their 'no haggle' policy. I asked to drive the bigger engine sports car they had (sports car being a relative term). The two salesmen I was working with (why two??), both tried to tell me that I didn't need the extra hp and that I'd be perfectly happy in the smaller engine version. "It still looks just as cool!" "Here, we have a pretty red one right here" . No joke! I told him I wanted more performance than that and they kept trying to talk me out of it. When I finally told him what VW I had totaled (Corrado G60), they agreed that I'd never be happy in the smaller engine car. Duh! I hated the car anyway because not only was it ugly, but it drove like crap.

    I ended up buying a Jeep and had an excellent experience at that dealer. Same thing with the two MINI's I bought. In both cases, they spoke to ME and not to my husband even though he was with me for those purchases.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    942
    It's happened to me too. I've found a mechanic for my car who I trust, but if I ever have to go looking for a new one, I'll bring my brother along. It makes a difference.

    A tale from the distant past: back in high school, every junior had to meet with a guidance counselor to talk about what would come after graduation. I almost always dressed very scruffy in those days, grunge about 5 years before it became popular. So I walked into her office wearing ratty jeans and flannel, and she was treating me like dirt. Then she actually opened my file, saw that I was in the running to be valedictorian, and her attitude completely changed...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    216
    This is so true!!

    I work in software engineering and most of us come to work in jeans and a shirt. If you aren't dealing with customers, the computer companies typically are fine with that. Personally, I prefer to wear comfy clothes rather than a business suit all day. But its true, if I were to go shopping for a car, I'm sure they would presume pretty quickly what I could afford. I had that happen the last time I went car shopping. I took my business elsewhere.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    6,982
    Wow badger, such lousy customer service.

    I wonder if you went to new/proposed home development sales office, if you would get the same treatment.

    Early this year I did go home hunting and ..did in the end, bought. I was treated well. This was in the winter and late fall. (Yea, really I had to walk around...because place had to be walkable to transit, services, etc.)

    I met both female and male realtors at different open houses by myself. And then later same folks, with my partner....simply because I did want his opinion ...in case he noticed some basic structural details that I would miss.

    I guess I showed up in a variety of outdoor wear. But I was solo in the autumn when I cycled to the sales office in my cycling jacket, ordinary long tights, etc.

    I was treated well.

    These are developments in the downtown core. Not in the 'burbs.

    Come to think of it, dearie was with me on subsequent visits to same male realtor. I was dealing with actually a *****y aggressive female boss of his...who relented NOT to raise the advertised sales price. (They had a strategy to raise price next week...)

    Just to explain how dearie behaved, while I could barely keep up with this fast-talking, aggressive loud realtor manager: he soft pedalled his questions and semi-joked his way through but didn't insult her nor him. (or me)

    Did it help that dearie was merely there in the same room as I? Most likely.

    So be assertive, persistent and knowledgeable, but fake that relaxed attitude if you can, no matter how angry you feel.

    I can't get too upset: I bought a new place at a slightly lower price, on a foreclosed building.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-23-2011 at 10:32 AM.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    where ARE we?
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    435
    Everyone's car dealership experiences reminded me of when we were trying to decide between a celica and a tC. I was asking about performance, looking for a sportier car, and the salesman kept showing me sedans and saying how this was a "nice, safe car." Did I say I wanted safe? I have no kids.
    Another time, hubby and I were test driving - I really prefer manual transmissions. A few blocks into my test ride, the salesman looked at hubby and said "she's a really good driver." He sounded surprised!
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    109
    Some years ago I went shopping for a new pick up truck. I live in a mountainous area, do a lot of driving on rough roads, and like to camp and run rivers hence need to haul gear. My first choice was a Toyota. Went to the dealer, told him which model I wanted, and was told I didn't need that truck. He wanted to show me something smaller, not 4WD. I insisted. He told me to look on level 3 of the garage, pointed me to the elevator. Did not even go along. I went and looked in the windows of a few Toyota trucks, which is all I could without a salesman being with me. I debated going back and asking for a different salesman but was irritated enough not to want to deal with that company at all. So I walked across the street (literally) and bought my second choice truck from the Nissan dealer there, who couldn't have been nicer.

    Loved the Nissan. My only regret is not asking to speak to the Toyota guy's supervisor and showing him my shiny new Nissan on the way home.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
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    2,607
    I think it happens to all of us. Took a male friend to go car shopping and the sales guy keeps talking to my friend. Friend is nice enough to politely tell the salesman that he isn't the one buying and that I was the one buying and he should talk to me.

    I walked out on the bozo.

    Another time, I threatened the general manager that I would write to their Japanese manufacturer in Japanese and the rotten service I got from his dealership. That got his attention really fast!!

    The places where I didn't have any problem was when I bought my Lotus. Walked in, they asked whether I had an appointment. Said "No, but I'm interested in buying one." I think it had to do with my Hutzpa in getting their attention. Same thing when I walked into an Audi dealer and told the sales guy that I was bummed that A8 didn't have a station wagon style. I settled on A6 quattro station wagon. Again I think it had to do with my Hutzpa! Go into regular dealer and bad service except when I drove up in Lotus or in Audi. Then it was a foot race amongst the sales people.

    I've had less trouble in high end store then in average store.
    Tiffany's in NYC never any customer no service problem, just lots of tourists.
    Godiva before they popped open every where and the shop in NYC had a doorman. Never any customer no service problem...

    It's matter of whether they can sniff money on you. If they do, they are all over you. If they don't smell money on you, they will ignore you. It's not so much as how we are dressed but how we say things, our body language. I'll admit, I'm not good looking, I'm not thin, nothing to write home about. But when I do want to buy significant items, I make a point of or rather looking like I have money. Its matter of confidence and you WILL SERVE ME attitude.

    The problem for most of us is that we are not direct in asking our question. When a sales person ask us what we want, we normally respond with "May I have such and such" If you want service from the sales person, respond with "I would like to have such and such". Polite way of saying I want such and such. It's more of a command.

    Next time you talk to a real estate agent and they want to brush you off say something like. "Just riding by and your house interests me. I want information of number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage... I'm looking for a house for my mother..."

    They may be put off a bit but if they had any smarts, their attitude will change quickly.

    Be assertive!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,336
    I eventually bought a second hand Honda from a used car dealership, but what I really liked about that experience was that the salesman looked and talked to me from the get-go even though I had my boyfriend there with me. He understood that it was going to be my purchase and for him to make a sale he had to talk to me. And when I signed the sale document, I did thank him because I've had some brutal experiences before that.

    I went into a fine dining restaurant yesterday to pick up a gift certificate for my friend's wedding. This experience was actually what made me start this thread. I was wearing jeans and a hoody, but not scruffy. I was on my bike so I had my helmet and pannier. I walked in, and was given the "once over" by the hostess who asked what I wanted ("surely she's not going to eat here" is what she must have been thinking). They had me wait a good 10 minutes before they could conjure up the certificate, and all the while had me wait at the bar with the tender who was none too happy having some poor-looking cyclist. I wouldn't be surprised if they wiped the seat after I left. I'm regretting now getting a gift certificate for my friend to go there.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    On the flip side - looking like you have money doesn't mean that you do or that you are honest.

    When I worked for Gap Inc., I was filling in at one of the downtown Boston stores in an upscale mall. This woman came in with lots of shopping bags from other stores in the mall (yes, we always check this), dressed in a gorgeous silk suit in a super bright color. It screamed 'look at me, I'm wealthy and fashionable". She shopped for awhile, bought one item (I forget what it was), and then left.

    Turns out, she'd robbed us blind. About two hours later we got a call from mall security and she'd been caught in another store with tons of our product (all still with security tags on).

    Appearances are misleading in so many ways!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,336
    I know. and I wonder how many businesses lose out because they'll give bad or no service to those who don't "look the type". I'm very reluctant to go back to that restaurant, though it was a place my boyfriend and I went a few times.

    I did write a complaint letter to the Nissan dealership who didn't even acknowledge me, but there was no response. I do have a pretty healthy disrespect for that dealership that if anyone's looking for a car I tell them of my experience. If they had responded and made even a poor attempt at apologizing, then it would have changed my view, but they have lost a customer in me forever, as well as who knows how many I tell to not go there.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    DE
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    1,221
    When I bought my house, the first real estate agent I was talking to drove me around to see a couple houses, none of which met the criteria I had given him as to size, price, or neighborhood. Then he essentially blew me off.

    In the meantime I started working with another agent who showed me several properties that met the criteria. I made an offer, went through a couple counter-offers, and got my house.

    The day before I went to settlement, the 1st agent called me to say a property had just come on the market in the preferred neighborhood. I took great pleasure in telling him "that's nice, but I'm settling on my new house tomorrow, in that same neighborhood." Boy was he surprised! He could not believe that I was working with a different agent?!?!?! Maybe he learned something, but I doubt it.
    Last edited by withm; 08-23-2011 at 01:18 PM.

 

 

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