Service with a side order of sexism

A few days ago I went to my local big box home improvement store to pick up wood for a project. My elderly circular saw, purchased at a thrift store for ten bucks (it was already decrepit at the time) about a decade ago, bit the dust a few months ago and I haven’t been able to bring myself to deal with the research black hole I know I’ll fall into to buy a new one. I needed a sheet of 3/4″ plywood and several 2×6 boards cut to make a base for a plastic storage shed, and figured the easiest thing would be to just have the wood cut at the store.

They do it for free, but I’ve procrastinated all summer on this because ‘human interaction’. Finally I just sucked it up and went to get it done.

Annoyingly, all employees in the lumber area seemingly evaporated when I was loading the wood, so I had to get the twelve-foot 2×6 boards down from a rack and wrestle the sheet of plywood on my own. I then wandered the aisles with my loaded cart, looking for whoever operates the saw. I finally found a couple of guys that were loading siding, and when I asked about how I’d find someone to cut lumber, the older one replied, “we do that” in almost an offended tone and said he’d come take care of it.

The other guy stayed behind continuing to unpack boxes of siding, so I had to get the wood off the cart and help the guy load the saw and feed the boards through. After the first couple of cuts, he remarked, “shame on your husband for sending you to get the boards cut for his project.”

OMFG really?!

Stony silence from me while I debated whether to even engage or not. After an awkward thirty seconds or so he realized he’d put his foot in his mouth and said, “My pardon, I meant no offense.”

My intense dislike of conflict warred with an outraged need to respond to his stereotyped assumption. Finally I said flatly, “There is no husband. This is my project.”

“Oh, oh, I see. Then I salute you, bionic woman!” 

You know, because following up with some patronizing bullshit was going to make this situation better… 

I ground my already clenched teeth harder, trying to silently will him to Just.Stop.Talking. rather than digging the hole deeper. Unfortunately, there were about ten cuts to be made and I needed to explain how each board needed to be cut, so I had to force myself to be polite until I could escape his presence. 

I think the next time I have a woodworking project to complete, I’ll budget for a new circular saw as well. Or at least try the other big box home improvement store in town.

Featured Image: Cut ends of 2×6 lumber, with a colorful filter and white border. 

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