… I ran into a charming mansplainer this week.
I have just acquired a new computer for work, so I thought I should go best practice and get some surge protection, too.
I dropped into my local hardware store a couple of weeks ago, and was shocked at the price difference between the top and bottom ends. The specs on these things are not very clear, and so I couldn’t figure out whether it was worth paying extra or not. So I asked someone.
The someone I asked was a big burly bloke who seemed to know what he was talking about. He was absolutely adamant that I needed to buy the surge protector at the top end, and his explanation made some sense. He was a little condescending, but I’m so used to that that I ignore it, as long as the information is useful. But I am always suspicious about people who try to sell me the most expensive item in the store, so I decided to think about it.
I had some time this week, so I went back to the same shop and asked another person. The someone I asked this time was a short burly bloke, maybe 18 or 20 (ie significantly younger than me, and nobody ever thinks I’m younger than I am), who in a blusteringly condescending tone gave me the exact opposite advice the first man had given me – but who couldn’t explain why, just said with a patronising sneer: “you don’t need that”. Let’s call him Condescending Fool.
Condescending Fool didn’t know the difference between a network and a server (and one of the crucial differences between the two products I was looking at was that one included protection via the ethernet cable – the first guy had said this was absolutely essential – and he had understood when I explained my set-up – while Condescending Fool was saying it was only necessary if you had a network, and I was trying to get him to explain why that was). For this reason, I found it difficult to trust any information he could give me.
I persevered, tried not to get mad, but after I pointed out something on the package and asked a question about it – at which point, Condescending Fool started to read said package – I said “thank you for your help” and walked out.
A few minutes later (having completed another errand), I decided it was more skin off my nose than theirs if I shopped elsewhere, and went back to the hardware shop. I asked the woman at the cash register if she could help me, but she couldn’t leave her place. I explained that I wanted a woman’s help, and why (well, mostly so that I didn’t get the same guy than because I didn’t want a guy’s help at all, but I said because “I think a woman is less likely to talk down to me” and she smiled rather knowingly…), and she called a woman from the back of the store to come and help me. Let’s call her Helpful Person.
Helpful Person knew exactly what she was talking about, was able to explain why protection via the ethernet cable was NOT necessary (she told me that if you run a PC, a surge is likely to damage the cable, at most), was able to explain why each of the different models were differently priced, and I walked away happy. With, mind you, the same model that Condescending Fool would have had me buy, but also with the knowledge that I had made the choice and it seemed like the right choice for me.
However, that wasn’t all that happened. As I walked with Helpful Person to where the surge protectors were, I noticed Condescending Fool talking to a mate of his, who did not work at the hardware shop. As we got to the surge protectors, the mate walked past us, flipping the bird on both hands at once (nice to see co-ordination!) and yelling “Fuck you! Fuck you!” – directed at both me and Helpful Person. He kept yelling as he walked out, directing his words at the cashier, too, and sticking his fingers right in her face as he had to me and Helpful Person.
So I guess that Condescending Fool’s version is All Wimminz Is Bitches, Especially That Stuck Up Bitch Who Wouldn’t Do What I Said Was Good For Her, How Dare She Walk Out On ME.
Scary how close to violence that sounds.