Having clerks in electronic stores treat me like I don’t know what I’m talking about is particularly annoying after Wiscon. There are times when it’s amusing to go into a hardware store in a dress and ask for a replacement blade for my bandsaw while the clerk’s head spins with reevaluation. Today, I just needed a cord and was in a hurry.
I went in and the clerk asked me if I was looking for something in particular.
“Yes, thanks. I need a usb to mini-usb retractable cord. One of the little travel jobbies.”
He looked at me with a perfectly neutral expression, but said, “What are you using it for?”
Now, let’s be clear. That’s a good question when someone comes in and doesn’t know what they want. It’s also one I get from clerks who think I’ve asked for the wrong thing. I sighed and said, “It’s to connect my phone to my computer. I had one, it got a short. I need a new one.”
He now looked openly skeptical. “What kind of phone? Let me see it.”
“It’s a G1.” I refrained from rolling my eyes, because, you know, maybe he was covering for not knowing what a mini-usb plug looked like. By this point we’ve stopped in front of a display of cords so I pulled the phone out and flashed the port at him.
He fingered a retractable cord that was regular USB. “We don’t have that.”
Fortunately, right next to that is exactly what I wanted, so I picked one up. “Here. This is it.”
“No, ma’am. That’s the wrong size.”
I looked at the package again, just in case, and showed him the words “USB to mini-USB,” which is what I’d asked for.
He looked at it and then back at the wrong one. “Oh. I thought you wanted something else. This is the wrong size.”
Now see. I’m glad I didn’t hand him his head for assuming that a woman wouldn’t know what she’s asking. Clearly the problem was just that his primary qualification is that he’s not a zombie.