“You can’t reason with prejudice.” (from Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery)
This afternoon a gentleman called our landscaping and irrigation business and expressed his genuine surprise at a woman answering the telephone. He said, “Well, I don’t know, these days you might know as much about landscaping as any guy, but I don’t know. I need to talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about. Maybe that’s you, but I don’t know.” He went on for a bit longer, punctuating every phrase with some version of “I don’t know if you’re qualified to answer my question.” It seemed obvious that his concern over my qualification was based solely on my gender. But I don’t know.
I had to laugh at his assumption, especially considering that we employ a woman who has worked in the industry for six years and works as hard as any man on our crew. But, as it turns out, he was right in one way–I didn’t know the answer to his question. I turned him over to Jon. Oh, well.