One thing I didn’t miss during lockdown was random callers at the door trying to sell me double glazing, giant chamois cloths and extendable feather dusters, or a new garage door. But as soon as lockdown lifted there they were again “… doing some work in my area …” One particular young man enthusiastically assured me that at least four of my neighbours had signed up to have their drive replaced and I would be foolish not to take advantage of the discount he was offering because he was “… in my area …” “Fine,” I agreed, thinking that was the quickest route to getting rid of him, “leave me a quote and I’ll think about it.”
“What time does your husband get home?” came the reply. This ignited many trains of thought in my head:- 1) You have made the assumption that I am married; 2) You have made the assumption that I am straight; 3) What’s that got to do with the price of fish?; 4) Do I look like some feeble Cinderella character who can’t make a decision until the master of the house returns and releases me from the cupboard under the stairs? Struggling very hard to keep all impolite answers in my brain and not spilling out of my mouth before being properly vetted, I politely repeated that he was welcome to leave a quote and I’d get back to him. Again, he asked when the man of the house would return.
At this point I’m working out which plant pot would make the best missile. “Look mate, you have two choices. You can either: – A) Leave me a quote (which at this point I wouldn’t have gone for it even if it was free and wrapped in chocolate!), or B) Bugger off, off my drive and stop wasting both our time.”
Sensibly he must have picked up on my undisguised air of disapproval and chose option B. And not surprisingly, I have not seen any of my neighbours employing his services.
Then I got to thinking, what company thinks it is appropriate to tell their representatives only to deal with ‘the man of the house’? And do they employ female staff to doorstep for deals, because that would be a very different conversation. “Why exactly do you want to see my husband …?”
In an era where we are being actively encouraged to push the archaic boundaries of sex, race and ethnicity and where companies are being pulled up regularly for questionable ethics and working practices, how on earth can outfits like the “one in my area” even be allowed to pedal their wares, let alone stand on my doorstep and completely undermine decades of women’s lib?
Anyway – I can’t stay here chatting all day – I’ve got to go and change out of my housecoat and into my evening gown, get the children down from cleaning the chimney and get the salmon in aspic starter on the table before William comes home from the fields!!