Two very tall men arrive on the door step – in uniform – but without ID. They expect to gain immediate access to my house, forgetting or not knowing that my house was broken into yesterday. Two very tall men without ID are surprised when I don’t grant them immediate access to my house because it was broken into yesterday.
They phone a guy who could be anybody, who is also surprised and dismisses my concerns. Even though he pretends to agree with me when I point out that someone who claims to have worked for the firm for 3 months has no ID, is at best inefficient but at worst when calling on people who are vulnerable or discombobulated as I am, is poor customer service.
Because I am not alone in the house and I do need the smashed-in entry fixing, I let them in. I check out the firm online – I want to give them some feedback on customer care. “Do give them ID. Don’t encourage them to walk into a hall way uninvited and then tower over the house holder.” It’s not hard.
Their website claims all sorts of reliability in workmanship etc. There are lots of pictures of strapping (mostly white) lads fixing things and (mostly white, mostly blond) women with caring expressions doing the admin or acting as property guardians. So I go on Companies House and discover that none of their directors is a woman. The concerns that I have are almost certainly not being discussed in the board room (my bias, based on my experience today). They are not part of the business model. And yet I feel sure that many women like me are dealing with tradesmen that an insurance company said would come. I write to them to tell them so with little expectation that I will get a response. Let’s see.
I dislike myself right now for being suspicious of these young men. Who have come to do a job. Who have come to help. And I am up here in hiding. Away from the scene of the crime because I can be. Because their physical size and their unthinking entitlement has made me feel again the 5’4 that I am – not the 50Ft woman I mostly think of myself as.
I am frightened of them.
This won’t last. But I shouldn’t have to be frightened in my own home. It’s not their fault I was burgled. It’s not their fault I’m in shock. But the company they work for could remember that a large part of their clientele are in this space. And they could do well to consider this in future. It doesn’t matter how good the work”man”ship is this time. If I ever need this kind of work again, I’ll be looking elsewhere, until I see that they’ve taken my experience seriously.
I do not enjoy victim culture – but today whilst I’m in shock I am a bit vulnerable. And I didn’t realise that I was still upset, until that encounter on my doorstep.
And now – because social conditioning – I’m going to offer them a cup of tea.
In a Women’s Equality Party mug obvs…