In light of the recent outbreaks of violent riots, errant gunmen, obvious brutality inflicted by those in command, and the political finger pointing of our national leaders, I want to draw some comparison to our industry’s faux pas. Since we don’t typically destroy police cars in parking lots, shoot each other for no apparent reason (however, in West Virginia the defense of “he needed killin” is a sometimes regarded as justifiable homicide), and no owner of a parts store or service center is dumb enough to run for President, the only thing that resembles the madness of the world within our industry is men vs. women.
Aside from the obvious anatomical differences, there are other intriguing things as to how we each respectively handle our business. Ironically, the same misconceptions about the automotive service and parts industry and issues regarding gender share a few things in common with racial tensions, the “Girls Gone Wild” video series and soccer hooligans.
The tradition and history of our industry has created men as the heir apparent, but the “her appearance” is appreciated much more appropriately in certain work and customer relationships.
The old saying and popular book title “Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus” illustrates how we think of each other. How we rationalize our differences might be slightly based on hormones or testosterone, but not entirely. In the automotive world these differences could be explained without the gender bias by saying, “Men have short dirty fingernails, women have longer dirty fingernails.” The common component is greasy hands. Here are some other noticeable differences between female and male customers.
Male customers tend to buy “price” much more than women. Women have a tendency to buy “value” and safety. A man will come in and buy only a set of brake pads for a vehicle that obviously needs rotors, calipers, ball joints, and a CV shaft with two lug nuts holding the wheels on the car, and then complain of a pedal pulsation after they’ve been installed, insisting we give him a new set of brake pads for free because the ones he just got are defective.
His wife can bring the same vehicle in for service, and after informing her of the same problems she will allows us to actually fix the vehicle. Then when she returns home, her husband gets mad, telling her she was taken advantage of and none of the other stuff needed replaced.