"Sexual Harassment" by businesses -- LL Bean, this time.

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Jun 11, 2018
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#1
I have a complaint that pops up frequently, with all kinds of businesses. I am patronizing a business, and an employee (typically a male) refers to women -- me, another female patron, or women in general -- using a condescending, degrading or discriminatory term, such as "dear, "hon," etc. I am well aware that you, personally, may not agree with me that such terms are offensive, discriminatory, or harassing. However, since I DO consider it that way -- if you were ME -- what would you suggest?

It is bad enough when I am simply making a purchase and can pay -- or leave the item at the counter -- and walk away, but often this happens when I have already paid for the service that i have to wait for, or am in a vulnerable position so that I cant walk out. For example, the most recent time it happened, I was taking a course in kayaking, and was out on a lake with the instructor. There was no way I was getting back to the launch site, nor getting ashore, without guidance/assistance from the instructor.

Another example could be at a gas station: I've already received the gas, so must pay for it -- I live in NJ where it is illegal to pump your own gas. If the man says something to me while the nozzle is in the car, I cant just drive off! At least twice it has happened that the attendant has reached inside my window while the tank was filling, and I had to yell at him to get away. I felt trapped.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
What would you like us to do for you? I would suggest you tell whoever it is - in a nice way- why this offends you.

Why did the gas attendant reach inside your car? I get gas in Jersey- the only time an attendant has reached inside the car was to hand me my credit card back.

If you don’t say something- how are they supposed to know? Speak up and educate whoever is offending you.
 
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Feb 17, 2018
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#3
I have a complaint that pops up frequently, with all kinds of businesses. I am patronizing a business, and an employee (typically a male) refers to women -- me, another female patron, or women in general -- using a condescending, degrading or discriminatory term, such as "dear, "hon," etc. I am well aware that you, personally, may not agree with me that such terms are offensive, discriminatory, or harassing. However, since I DO consider it that way -- if you were ME -- what would you suggest?

It is bad enough when I am simply making a purchase and can pay -- or leave the item at the counter -- and walk away, but often this happens when I have already paid for the service that i have to wait for, or am in a vulnerable position so that I cant walk out. For example, the most recent time it happened, I was taking a course in kayaking, and was out on a lake with the instructor. There was no way I was getting back to the launch site, nor getting ashore, without guidance/assistance from the instructor.

Another example could be at a gas station: I've already received the gas, so must pay for it -- I live in NJ where it is illegal to pump your own gas. If the man says something to me while the nozzle is in the car, I cant just drive off! At least twice it has happened that the attendant has reached inside my window while the tank was filling, and I had to yell at him to get away. I felt trapped.
I use to get offended by stuff also, then one day I was holding the door for someone and said Good Morning, Ma'am, just as my mother taught me. The lady proceeded to read me the riot act about how offensive the term ma'am was. It caused me some discomfort for a while, as I though about it, but then I came to the realization that being offended is really the other persons problem not mine. The truth is no matter what you do or what you say, you will probably offend somebody at sometime. I am the way I am and if someone doesn't like it, then that is a problem they have to deal with, not me.

BTW if you don't like terms such as dear or hon, you better stay out of Texas, it commonly used there, though mostly by the ladies! :)

I found this great article that talks about how we are being conditioned to be offended. Reading it really helped me change my perspective on the subject.

https://www.collective-evolution.co...tically-trained-to-be-offended-by-everything/

Chad Prather has some great advise on the subject.


P.S. I'm sorry if you found this post offensive! ;)

F
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#5
If someone (male or female) calls you a term/name you do not like (hun, dear, etc), nicely ask them to please not call you that and suggest what they may call your (MS x, ma'm, etc). If it is a very limited transaction or at the end of the transaction, you may want to just ignore it, finish the transaction and then leave.

For the gas station scenario, the words "feel trapped" are very strong (and somewhat alarming to some people). You did not specify why they actually reached into the car. If the attendant is in fact trying to touch you in an inappropriate manner or hit on you, that should be reported to the company (and police depending on the circumstances). If you do not like close contact from people, you should just tell them to please back away (try not to yell if possible) or keep the window rolled up most of the way (just open it enough to speak to the attendant/pass the money/credit card through).
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#6
Part of address is cultural. Here in the south honey or hon is used, for example, primarily by women to people of all genders and ages. So that's something to be aware of. Personally I do take into account culture and location when deciding if I'm offended or not.

Dear Abby actually addressed this in a recent column (June 1, 2018) so I defer to her answer. You may not be in exact situation as the writer, an older woman, but I think the advice is applicable nonetheless.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 69-year-old woman. I look my age because, unlike most of my friends, I don’t color my hair. Sometimes when I’m shopping — such as in a grocery store — employees call me “young lady,” as in “How are you today, young lady?” I find it condescending. Why is it necessary to make reference to my age? Obviously, they don’t think I’m young at all. What would you say in these situations? — IRRITATED IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR IRRITATED: You are asking a question I receive often. Older women not only resent being called “young lady,” they also dislike being called “honey” and “sweetie” by someone who doesn’t know them well. Because it bothers you, tell the person, “I know you’re trying to be nice, but in the future, please use my name or call me ‘ma’am.'” This is something you might also mention to the store manager, so he or she can remind the staff that not everyone appreciates the over-familiarity.

Regarding motions into cars, being helped when you don't need it, etc. I think a firm "I have this, thank you" or "Please remove your hand from the car" etc is in order, with the same mention to management Abby notes. If this solves the issue, great. If not...go elsewhere.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
I agree with others in that there are various cultural issues. As a patron of a lot of diners, I have been called hon by many a waitress.

As the OP mentioned some do not agree that this is an issue. This does not bother me, as I am more concerned about a general lack of civility (such as people being rude to an elderly person who is slow to pay in a line). But if it offends you politely tell the person what you want to be called.
 
Jun 11, 2018
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#8
What would you like us to do for you? I would suggest you tell whoever it is - in a nice way- why this offends you.

Why did the gas attendant reach inside your car? I get gas in Jersey- the only time an attendant has reached inside the car was to hand me my credit card back.

If you don’t say something- how are they supposed to know? Speak up and educate whoever is offending you.
This is a reply from an "expert"? My first time on your site. I was told the replies would be from experts who work for the site. Was I misinformed?
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
#9
This is a reply from an "expert"? My first time on your site. I was told the replies would be from experts who work for the site. Was I misinformed?
Everyone on this site is a volunteer or a consumer who likes to be informed of consumer issues. Neil was merely asking you some questions to try and ascertain why these things were happening.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#10
I live in Texas, if I was offended every time a person called me hun, sweetie, etc. I would be really miserable. Unless someone is deliberately being insulting, I try to take the sentiment how it is meant, not the words said. Just like I find it ridiculous when some get offended when they are wished a Merry Christmas, Etc. Take the greeting as a nicety and move on.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
This is a reply from an "expert"? My first time on your site. I was told the replies would be from experts who work for the site. Was I misinformed?
I am not sure what you expect from the site. The site cannot force every company to ban words or terms that many do not find offensive or may be culturally acceptable—The best thing to do is ask people to call you what you want to be called, and perhaps they will learn something.

Questions were asked so as to understand the situation.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,391
6,448
113
San Francisco
#12
I have a complaint that pops up frequently, with all kinds of businesses. I am patronizing a business, and an employee (typically a male) refers to women -- me, another female patron, or women in general -- using a condescending, degrading or discriminatory term, such as "dear, "hon," etc. I am well aware that you, personally, may not agree with me that such terms are offensive, discriminatory, or harassing. However, since I DO consider it that way -- if you were ME -- what would you suggest?

It is bad enough when I am simply making a purchase and can pay -- or leave the item at the I ncounter -- and walk away, but often this happens when I have already paid for the service that i have to wait for, or am in a vulnerable position so that I cant walk out. For example, the most recent time it happened, I was taking a course in kayaking, and was out on a lake with the instructor. There was no way I was getting back to the launch site, nor getting ashore, without guidance/assistance from the instructor.

Another example could be at a gas station: I've already received the gas, so must pay for it -- I live in NJ where it is illegal to pump your own gas. If the man says something to me while the nozzle is in the car, I cant just drive off! At least twice it has happened that the attendant has reached inside my window while the tank was filling, and I had to yell at him to get away. I felt trapped.
This is an easy one. You don't walk away you don't make a face, you don't roll your eyes. You state "My name is -----". That's the end of that.

As for your last paragraph about reaching into your car, I can't figure out what you're talking about.
 
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