Mar. 15th, 2017

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It was interesting to compare my various trips to the New Orleans home and Garden show to this year. There have been years when I left there fuming. This year, I had a few of the same patriarchal/couple centered problems but fewer. However I was confronted with the “ typical attitude” as soon as I walked through the door —before I entered the main hall.

In earlier years, I found that almost every vendor ignored me not because I was Black but because I did not have a husband in tow. Apparently husbands make all major decisions about home maintenance (insert sarcasm here); I don’t know. Certainly, I remember stopping at a water heater display years ago. I asked the vendor about his product and he pointed to a stack of papers and returned to the couple behind me. And there was the time I was lusting after a Murphy-bed-like ironing board– Definitely a feminine product, no? –but the vendor refused to talk to me until the guy I was dating happened to stroll up. Whereupon, The vendor went into full spiel mode.

One and a half year’s ago, I had some major renovation done. I talked to vendors at the home show, vetted them through Angie’s List and the BBB and had the work done. I am still paying on that home improvement loan so this year's visit was pure exploration. As soon as I walked in the door I was met with the old attitudes at the Home Depot display. I usually prefer Lowe’s because of Home Depot's ALEC connection, however, I stopped. Some of the items from my recent renovation came from Home Depot. Home Depot was spinning a wheel for gift cards and vacations. I handed them my card and the barker said thanks but offered no spin. Why, I asked, you don't allow single people to spin? No was the unapologetic reply— which explained why he was demanding to see each woman's husband. Now I am going to guess that the vacations were actually like a blind phone sales call that I once received. I received a call saying you won a cemetery plot. As soon as the caller learned that I was single he hung up. I am going to guess that the spousal plot was double the normal price. I would not want to win a similar deceptive vacation from Home Depot; I would have taken $100 gift certificate but apparently single – women – need not apply. I don't know if the barker asked single men about their wives.

Much of the rest of the show was okay. Most vendors seem to realize that women own homes and/or make major decisions. There are still a few that ask about your husband. There are still a few who don't see you at all .

The one other minor disappointment occurred when I slowed at a solar booth. The vendor offered to sell me panels. I explained that I have panels but I was stopping because the display mentioned a backup system. That’s the Tesla back up he said and not available yet (So why advertise it?). He started to explain the Tesla system and I stopped him and explained that I knew about the system and indeed wished that I had a Tesla roof. He told me that a Tesla roof would not be available in this area because it did not pass local hurricane standards. The roof would sail away, he said. It’'s only available in California. And I am thinking—what gives Elon Musk? You can make plans for tourists to orbit the Moon, but you can’t make a roof that withstands hurricane force winds?


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