Saturday, December 22, 2007

Check out this sexist attitude

The following is being written for two reasons: 1) The event I'm about to describe bothered me and 2) It's proof that girls can be sexist too (to call it "reverse sexism" or something catchy like that would be overkill"). I'll keep it as brief as possible. The photos were not taken by me and are not of the Wal-Mart I visited.

I went to Wal-Mart today to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. As you, me, and my mother would have predicted, three days before the big day, the place was a madhouse. Not "I'll kill you for that Tickle-Me-Elmo" crazy, but like "No parking places available" crazy.

I went in with a list of a few things, and headed to the checkout line having found only one. It wasn't a big problem, but it made for one pretty barren shopping cart.

Unfortunately, the "Express Checkout" line was shut down. On top of that, for whatever reason, I have a deeply-seeded phobia of the self-checkout kiosks (only half kidding). So, I picked my poison and settled in to wait behind a couple folks with baskets loaded to the brim.

About halfway through the line, much to my chagrin, the "Express Lane" opened. As I had already waited for a while, I decided to stick it out. That probably was a bad decision.

Anyway, after waiting in line for a total of about 10 or 15 minutes, I was next. At that point, a couple of women behind me noticed I had only one item. Understandably, they thought me crazy for waiting in one of the long lines. I embarrassedly explained that by the time I realized the error of my ways, it didn't seem worth changing lanes.

Right after that, it was my turn to give the corporate world some cash. Immediately, the female checker, probably in her early 40s, made the same observation as the women behind me - it would have been a lot faster to get in a different lane.

Sympathetically, the two ladies behind restated my case on my behalf, explaining to the checker that I had realized my mistake "late in the game" as it were. The checker was unimpressed with my decision to stay the course.

"That's a man for you," she said.

The checker then playfully hid her face behind her hands and grinned kinda impishly - as if she had just said something mischievous. I had tried to keep a rueful smile on my face, but at that point, I think it must have soured a bit.

The cashier's comment was slightly obnoxious - enough to warp my grin - but it wasn't a big deal. A little ribbing never hurt anyone.

And then, still covering her face with her fingers, she opened her mouth again:

Don't hit me!" she said, mockingly.

Now, I know violence against women is a very serious problem. It's not something that ever happened in my home, but I know it exists at a pathetic rate in our country and world. And I know that most mixed-genders confrontations involve abusive men - not women.

But that being said, the majority of men do not physically harm women; I am in that majority.

Perhaps the checker was abused as a daughter or wife or has seen her friends struggle with abusive relationships. Perhaps she was worn out from the hectic workday.

Regardless, to assume me violent because I'm male is not fair. Maybe I took her comment the wrong way, but I don't know how else I was supposed to take it.

A middle-class white guy like myself has very little to gripe about in terms of discrimination, but no one deserves that kind of prejudicial crap.


Tim Nance said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who is afraid of self-checkout. It scares me more than the realization that Santa is the Antichrist from your last entry.

Anonymous said...

Tim: Phew! I was likewise afraid that I was alone. I'm always worried I'm going to do something wrong and make a scene by tripping the security alarm or something.

Maybe we should form a support group.