Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Woman vs garage

I've been back from holiday since Sunday now, and I'm trying to get my life back in order before returning to work. I've returned to a long list of jobs: many of which are linked to buying a house, some of which involve trying to get rid of fleas (gross), but my car also needs some attention.

woman garage

I haven't had anyone look at my car since the MOT last year, but due to living in Leicester and working in Corby and Kettering, I do a lot of mileage in the little thing. It's recently been making a tapping noise which it only seemed to used to make when I was running low on oil, but now seems a bit more consistent.

Anyway, I'll spare you the details. The reason I'm writing this post is to reveal something to you all, and hope you feel the same way. Here's what I have to say.

I am a woman.

I don't know anything about cars and I'm not interested in learning.

I'm scared of garages.

Perhaps that's a little strong, but the chore of phoning garages and asking for services makes me feel a little nervous. I don't really know what I'm asking for and every time I say something, or ask a question, I feel like they are thinking 'another dumb female' or even 'great, let's rip her off'. Do other women feel like this? Or maybe even everyone feels like this, regardless of whether they're male or female.

The thing is, I don't feel the same when talking to builders or other male-dominated areas. I guess because I know more about houses than cars - I know what stairs are, I don't know what a combustion engine is.

The solution? I either learn as much as I can about cars - which with a Psychology MSc and full time job may be pretty difficult, or garages make themselves more female-friendly. This might mean training workers to appear less condescending, or employing female mechanics. If I had a lot of money, I would probably try to open a garage designed to be particularly female friendly. I definitely think that's an area of the market not currently being explored. Until then, I will bravely suffer the perils of going to the garage and hope that I'm not seen as an 'easy target'.


Tall Slim Sally said...

I know exactly what you mean about garages. I was having to sort out MOTs and the rest when I was 17 and I always felt that as I walked in the door they thought, "Ah a young female, let's rob her blind"

PS I don't have a problem with you posting comments on my blog. (gentle hint!)

Lucinda Harrington said...

Sorry Sally, I've been on holiday and not had time to read any blogs as had no internet. I had a look but I'm rushing out. As a request though, I'd love to see a post about your life modelling! It must be a really surreal experience sitting naked in front of strangers!!

Just Steph said...

I completely know what you mean, Lucinda. I'm fortunate enough to marry into a family where the men love to work on combustible engines.

If I hadn't, I would follow these tips:
1. always ask for an estimate b/f letting them touch the car.
2. get a male friend or dad to go w/ me.
3. act as confident as possible when approaching a garage.
4. get a recommendation for a trustworthy garage from a friend.
5. pass on those trustworthy garage recommendations to my girlfriends!

I really think that your idea of training these garage workers to be un-condescending to women is spot on!

Lucinda Harrington said...

Good advice Steph. The guy was ok today, but I still felt like a moron!

Tall Slim Sally said...

As requested I've done a post about life modelling. Read and enjoy!

MissMOT said...

Hi Lucinda, I am a female MOT tester working in a busy garage. I just wanted to say how frustrating it is for me to hear how you feel about garages, even though I totally understand what you mean. I am in the process of setting up a website and facebook page to promote myself as a female in the motor industry. I would be more than happy to offer you advice or guidance on any aspect of your vehicle. I think woman need to be able to speak to somebody they trust and can relate to without being bombarded with technical jargon.

Lucinda Harrington said...

Hi MissMOT. I had some work done on my car recently, I was thinking again about the huge gap in the market for female-friendly garages.

I'll follow you on facebook. It sounds like a great idea!