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Everyday Ageism

Patronised!

(171 Posts)
Scribbles Thu 20-Jan-22 15:20:38

The culprit intended to be helpful but it has left a sour taste in my mouth.

I am away from home at present and while I was out this morning, I saw a pair of shoes. I wanted in a store display. They didn't have my size but the saleswoman (approximately mid 20s, I'd guess) checked to see if any were available in the central warehouse that could be sent to my local branch of the shop for me to collect.

There were none in stock but more are expected soon. So far so good. This helpful lass then wrote down the product ID number "so that you can ask your local shop staff to check when they come into stock". She then added the store's website details, adding, "That's so, if you know someone with access to the internet, you could ask them to check for you if they're available."

In an instant, all the goodwill generated by her general helpfulness evaporated. I hope I withered her with my glare.
"Why would I do that?" I replied. "I am perfectly capable of doing it myself with my phone or any one of a half dozen other devices that I've been able to operate quite competently since before you were born."

I picked up the paper with the product number on it and walked out. I know it's a first world problem but it rankles - and I don't think I even want the shoes now.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:23:40

Love your riposte, Scribbles 😃

silverlining48 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:32:37

Oh dear. Poor you, poor her. When I was in my mid 20 s anyone over 40 was positively ancient. Any older and it was a miracle they had lived so long, stupid of me of course.
She made a mistake in assuming you needed help but hope it doesn’t stop her being helpful to her other less computer literate customers.

granfromafar Thu 20-Jan-22 15:32:48

Oh dear, Scribbles. It was rather patronising of the assistant to assume that you couldn't get online yourself. She definitely needs some training in custom care! I find shop-assistants often asked if I have an email address, mainly so that they can use it for marketing purposes or to email a receipt. I prefer a paper receipt and usually opt out.

AreWeThereYet Thu 20-Jan-22 15:35:04

I think I would just have laughed and said 'I can probably do it myself, thanks. If I can work out how to plug it in.'

The poor girl was trying so hard to be helpful, she was young, she was doing her best, even if you think her best wasn't good enough.

Sometimes I think there is little point in talking to anyone these days, or trying to help them - whatever you say, whatever you do, someone somewhere will find someway to be aggrieved by it.

Boz Thu 20-Jan-22 15:49:29

The girl was probably trained to ask the question, although I know the feeling.
Recently, when having a flu jab.. the girl doing the computer admin. alongside the nurse, asked me if my memory was ok.
I was very annoyed and told her so. I reported her to be desk to be told that they "have" to ask this questlon of the elderly.
I found it patronising.

Calendargirl Thu 20-Jan-22 15:51:28

I can well understand how this made the OP feel, but also feel a bit sorry for the young assistant. Yes, she wrongly assumed that as a more mature lady, she would not know her way around the internet, but at least she had been helpful and courteous, so often not the case with young and not so young staff.

Perhaps not quite such a cutting put-down would have been more appropriate?

kittylester Thu 20-Jan-22 15:55:08

I think she should have asked you first. My brother is totally hopeless with technology but I can do most things.

We recently went to a science museum, while signing in at venues was still applicable, with DD2 and family. They were asked to scan in while we were led away to fill in the paper version. I was quite cross about it - possibly unreasonable so!

Redhead56 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:56:08

It's a similar thing that happened to me at a local supermarket. I was heading towards the tills and got a tap on my shoulder by a member of staff. She addressed me as 'dear' to start with then suggested I go to the self check out. To add another insult she said she would get someone to help me scan my shopping. I promptly told her I had ran a business for over twenty years and I am perfectly familiar with technology. I also said I was puzzled why she would think I was not capable was it my white hair? I know the staff are told to get the customers served as efficiently as possible. Patronising and stereotyping customers should not be apart of the training.

MayBeMaw Thu 20-Jan-22 15:58:57

There is a fine line between being helpful and being patronising- and she crossed it!
How simple to ask if a customer has access to the internet via her phone or a laptop (well occasionally in the deepest depths of the country coverage can be patchy) and take it from there.
It reminds me of the time I chatted with the woman on the checkout at M&S, I would say in her /50’s and I commented that I did not like driving to a particular store (privately because it is in a not very nice part of town, but in case she lived there, I said on account of the dual carriageway and all the big roundabouts.)
Oh, she commented, you are good still driving, my mum has given up now.
How old did she think I was? And yes I still drive round the M25 to London, up to Birmingham, or Norfolk (OK not at night if I can help it)
Didn’t do my self confidence any good.

Marydoll Thu 20-Jan-22 16:06:13

A couple of years ago, after a hospital procedure, a young nurse came to organise my discharge and directed all information at my husband (who hasn't a clue about my conditions). I was furious, I was neither old, (64), nor in my dotage and have dealt with all my medical needs myself.

I think he soon realised his faux pas and quickly changed tack.

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:08:30

I feel sorry for the poor girl, she was just trying to be helpful
MissOops often had customers take offence at what seemed to be a perfectly reasonable conversation and it would upset her for the rest of the day.
A more reasonable response from you would be to have thanked her but but to have said that you can manage. Along with a thank you for being so helpful. Which it seems she was until you got upset.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:14:17

Oopsadaisy1

I feel sorry for the poor girl, she was just trying to be helpful
MissOops often had customers take offence at what seemed to be a perfectly reasonable conversation and it would upset her for the rest of the day.
A more reasonable response from you would be to have thanked her but but to have said that you can manage. Along with a thank you for being so helpful. Which it seems she was until you got upset.

^She then added the store's website details, adding, "That's so, if you know someone with access to the internet, you could ask them to check for you if they're available.^"

I do hope MissOops would never say that to an older customer, *Oopsadaisy!

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:17:06

Callistemon
That seems a very odd thing to say, don’t you think?

Baggs Thu 20-Jan-22 16:19:55

Oopsadaisy1

I feel sorry for the poor girl, she was just trying to be helpful
MissOops often had customers take offence at what seemed to be a perfectly reasonable conversation and it would upset her for the rest of the day.
A more reasonable response from you would be to have thanked her but but to have said that you can manage. Along with a thank you for being so helpful. Which it seems she was until you got upset.

Just so. What's wrong with disabusing someone who is trying to be kind of their misconception in a kind way with something like: "It's OK I can do that myself" instead of getting all uppity?

Baggs Thu 20-Jan-22 16:21:00

Plenty of old people don't have access to the internet even though plenty of us do.

eazybee Thu 20-Jan-22 16:21:07

How very rude of you, Scribbles, considering how helpful she had been.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:22:35

Help, this elderly numpty needs help!

I used ^^ around my quote, without spaces, but it didn't work 🤔

but it didn't work

MayBee70 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:27:03

I suppose she’d been told not to assume everyone had internet access but didn’t know how to word it in a less patronising way. My bugbear is when someone’s replies to something I’ve said with ‘oh, bless’.

Millie22 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:28:33

I am sure she just meant to be friendly and might have presumed you needed help. I've had one or two instances when I've had the 'my dear' thing which makes you feel patronised. I can remember in my 20's thinking 40 was so old!

janeainsworth Thu 20-Jan-22 16:31:46

I think you were rather unkind scribbles, unlike the poor young girl who was just trying to help you.

You couldn’t blame her if the next old person who goes into the shop needing help is met with a wall of indifference.

And then posts on Gransnet complaining about how unhelpful young people are. 🙄

MimsinMaine Thu 20-Jan-22 16:33:34

Screw her. I personally think that being condescended to is poor customer service. I think you were absolutely right to leave. A call to the store manager wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

Billybob4491 Thu 20-Jan-22 16:41:03

Scribbles, I think you were a bit touchy, lighten up a little, you should have laughed it off.

Doodledog Thu 20-Jan-22 16:41:23

I think it was rude of her, and I don't blame you for being annoyed, Scribbles.

It's one thing to say that the assistant was trying to be helpful, and to be honest she probably was, but if she'd said 'Here's the number. If you know someone who can read they can help you to check if they're in stock', who would have thought she was being helpful?

Not everyone can read, but it wouldn't be considered helpful to assume that someone probably can't, particularly just based on their age. It would have taken a few seconds to ask if the OP has access to the Internet, and offered a different way to check the stock (eg a telephone number) if the answer was no.

Chestnut Thu 20-Jan-22 16:45:40

Give the girl a break. Were we all perfect in our 20s when dealing with the public? Don't have a go at her. I admire the fact she was polite and helpful even if she got it slightly wrong.