Bad Attitude or Something More

‘Bad Attitude or Something More?’

Apr09-3My washer recently started leaking so my friend took a photo of where the water was dripping and suggested I go to a home improvement store to try to fix it.

I then threw on some sweats, pulled my hair back in a ponytail and headed out the door.   I entered the store and was immediately greeted by two people.  One walked me back to the appliance section where I was introduced to Mike H.  When I told him the issue, he said that I would need to go to an appliance parts store.

I asked which ones he would suggest.  Mike said to look it up in the phonebook and find one close to where I lived.  Excuse me!  I stated that I live just around the corner and asked if he would write some down.  He then placed a piece of paper and pen in front of me.  Wow! I wrote one down and he said it was two city blocks south of I-264 on Newburg Rd.  I asked if that was near the School Board.  He rudely said, ‘I said two city blocks’.  I once again kindly reminded him that I live in the suburbs of Louisville and have no clue how far two city blocks are.

At this point I felt belittled and asked Mike H. if I were taking up his time and should instead find someone else that would better serve me.  An older female customer standing close asked me what my problem was and started talking to me.  She told me about her recent washer problems, made suggestions if I had to get a new one and helped me more than Mike H even attempted.

I pulled out my camera to show the other customer where the water was leaking at Mike looked at it.  He then said, ‘So, what part is that?’  Really!  My response was, ‘I am in education, if I knew what the part was then I wouldn’t have come to this section for assistance.’  I told him that my friend suggested possibly putting putty in to stop the leak.   He told me I would need to go to an automotive store to get that.

I walked out of the store hurt at my experience.  I felt some very disparaging remarks were made toward me and felt that nobody should be treated that way.  When I arrived home, I called to speak to a supervisor.  The next day, I also went into the store and talked with the store manager.  He was very disturbed with how I was treated and apologized.  We first walked all through the store to try to find Mike. After we couldn’t, I was introduced to Gary who gave me the type of service that one would expect.

You know, people talk about being discriminated against and I am not sure if this was one of those situations.  Yes, the employee (Mike H) did have a very nasty attitude – but was it racially motivated?  That I will never know.  I do know that he was just one employee and not a reflection of the entire store.  I actually went back to the same store several times that week because I did end up needing a new dryer.  Each of the other times I was treated wonderfully from the time I entered to the time I left.  Lesson learned: Don’t let people treat you less than you are worth and don’t assume that one person’s attitude is a reflection of those around them.

M.Y.  April 2009

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