Since Lowes had a security breach my “Do not Call” cell number has gone viral to every money hungry vendor and spammer in the world. As if this isn’t bad enough, I have actually been polite to some of the callers. Do not ask me why.
One morning, I get a call from a local home contractor looking for work. He sounded like he had some integrity so I asked him where he got my number. He explained that he bought it from a broker who promised him a list of prospects. He went on to talk about his company. How he had an excellent reputation in our local area and he had good reviews, I could check out his website etc..
Now I do live in an old house, an eternal fixer upper. I ALWAYS have a project that beckons me. Some of these “projects” are decades old. My husband and I are somewhat handy but with 3 kids who still live at home with some special needs, and 2 full time jobs, our progress mostly moves at a glacial pace.
I decided to chat up the contractor and told him about a smaller job I needed done and he said he would be happy to meet up and give an estimate. My personal strategy is, when I DO hire a contractor is to offer a smaller job. If they show interest and complete it well, then I will offer a larger job to bid on. We agreed to meet the next evening for him to look at the work and give me an estimate.
As the day wore on, I felt that familiar rush of excitement that I may actually get another task finished in my old house.
My phone rang later in the day and it was a woman calling me from the contractors office. She stated that she was confirming our appointment for tomorrow. Then she said those dreaded words. “Your husband will be at home too, Right?” Instantly, I could feel my anger starting to boil over. I work in engineering, I make decisions every day that affect people’s safety and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment. I have had to live with sex discrimination most of my career. Remember the scene in Hidden Figures where Katherine Jonson walks into a meeting and every man turns simultaneously to look at her with surprise? Yep, that has happened to me too. Still happens. I am often the only female or one of two in a large group of men in a meeting.
I calmly replied to the woman, “No. he will not be there. He gets home late.” The woman continued to chirp that Mr. Contractor like both parties to be there because otherwise the wife may say that she has to consult with her husband before she can make a decision.
Now I really got pissed off. The old “I have to consult my spouse routine”. Does Mr. Contractor really take that line literally? It never occurred to him that line is actually code for “I have changed my mind” or “Your price is too high” or “I don’t have the balls to say No to your face.”
My husband uses this line ALL the time on sales people. He likes to say, “I need to ask my better half” . when he says this line, women gush all over him and men defer. But if HE talked to Mr. Contractor first, would he be required to bring me to the meeting for the estimate? Some how I doubt it.
My patience was gone and I told the woman as politely as I could muster, “That’s not gonna happen. Forget it.” I hung up and it felt good. An hour or so later, my phone rang and it was Mr. Contractor. I was about to take my daughter trick or treating. I let the call go to voice mail. Later I checked and he didn’t leave a message. I hope he got mine.
WannaBe blunt mom has working in engineering for 20 plus years.
This writer has elected to publish her work anonymously.