2.16.2008

Nice prejudice, huh?

I had an experience last week that has been bugging me quite a bit. Since you know I don’t need therapy because I have a blog, you get to hear about it too!

Background:
  • In high school, I took Spanish, because my boyfriend's grandmother didn’t speak English. 
  • I moved to Arkansas my senior year in high school. I was told by one of the white kids that I was never going to be popular if I kept hanging out with the black people (guess which one I chose!) 
  • I don’t care what color my friends skin is, or where they are from, what their education is or what they do. The only requirement is that they make me laugh, or at least that they laugh at my jokes. 
  • I live in California.
  • I am a Real Estate Broker (among other things). I’m good at what I do and pride myself on this. 

Meanwhile, back to a few Saturdays ago:

I was hosting an open house for some clients of mine. We did a twist on this one and invited my seller’s friends and family to a special open house as well. One of the first clients through the door was a couple who were really nice when I introduced myself to them quite simply, “Hi. I’m Hayley.” As we began talking and she found out I was a real estate broker, you would have thought I told her that I had leprosy.

She was in the kitchen telling my sellers that they did a great job (which they did) and that if she were in a market for a house, this would be on the top of her list. She then stopped talking, looked me straight in the eye and said snottily, “But I’m NOT in the market, so don’t bother me.”

WOW. I was baking cookies that SHE was eating. I had bought bottled water that SHE was drinking. And I hadn’t said anything to her about the house, nor my company, nor my services.

I must have given her that “go-to-hell” look that I get (if you know me well, you know the look!) because she said, “It’s just that I HATE salespeople, especially realtors.”

I had been reduced to something she perceived as “bad”. It wasn’t the color of my skin. It wasn’t where I grew up. It wasn’t because I hadn’t gone to college. It wasn’t because I had cancer. It was simply because of my job.

And she let it be known that she hated me. I was so taken aback that I didn’t even have time to respond to her the way I wish I would have (curses, foiled again!) Thank goodness for blogs.

I can honestly say that if she called me today (or any other day) about finding her a house, or selling her current home, I would not help her. I might, however, refer her to Ms. I’m-Better-Than-Everybody - that annoying realtor that drives the BMW station wagon and thinks her shit doesn’t stink (see blog below). The two would probably hit it off perfectly, and they definitely deserve each other.

The best part of this? As she was walking out the door, and I was thinking to myself that she shouldn't let the door hit her in the ass on the way out, I made myself notice that she is Japanese-American. Nice prejudice, huh?

3 comments:

Susan said...

How rude!

Car salespeople, insurance people, and realtors get so little respect. Three of my favorite people in the world are a car salesman, an insurance person, and a realtor. But it wouldn't matter what they did or whether their skin was purple with pink polka dots. I'd love them no matter what!

patrice said...

Patrice here-

Lately (as you know Haley) I have been the target of abuse from an EX-boyfriend/business partner. I have come to realize that absolutely nothing he says has anything at all to do with me. Lately his comments have entered into the extreme and I find myself wondering how it is that so many people need to have a TARGET to project their own fear and vunerabilities onto.

If you believe that everyone is just doing the best they can in this life and each one of us is only trying to make ourselves happy, then it is a sad state to discover that the only way some people can make themselves happy is by abusing others.

Other people do not define who we are. However when other people push our buttons, then they do effect us. So that woman who was so mean to you Haley, was projecting on to you her fear and frustrations. It had nothing to do with you personally (and you knew that) but she effected you and made you angry, just like my EX does to me.

My thoughts would be that we need to treat these people with even more kindness, not to change their opinions, but to change our reactions to them.

Thanks for the blog Haley. As I said earier nothing anyone says is about them, it is about us. So I write this blog, not for you, but for myself and my REACTIONS to what is said to me.

Margerie said...

I can totally relate. I can't even count how many times the first thing someone said to me when I met them at work was "I hate dentists." I correct them and tell them they hate some dentists, but how can they hate me when they haven't even met me yet?

And I agree- I judge people by how they treat others, not by what they look like, or what they have. The people like the ones you describe are living in the shallows. They will never be happy.

So poop on them!!

Love ya Hayley!