Girl Talk: Has gender equality stalled?

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    Melissa Hughes

    As progressive as our generation has become in the fight for equality, there are some undeniable truths that we, as women, still face. There is still not wage equality and there is still a glass ceiling in many companies across America. Locally, it is sad that companies still take obvious advantage of someone based on their gender, and this time, they messed with the wrong girl.

    I looked at my inspection sticker on my car and saw it was time for the yearly renewal. My car was recently serviced with an oil change and fresh set of wiper blades and everything was working great. In my everlasting fight for independence from saying I need a man to do things for me; I decided to schedule my own servicing at a reputable garage so my car can be legally driven for another glorious year.

    I looked for somewhere close to my job so I could conveniently drop off the car for inspection before the start of my shift and pick it up on my lunch with minimal hassle. I chose one on Pierce Street in Kingston.

    I called and made my appointment for the drop off and the man on the phone was really helpful in getting me in the very next day. I arrived at the garage that morning and was delighted to see a sticker in the window that said it was a certified female friendly garage. I had heard many horror stories about women being over charged for services they didn’t need and being taken advantage of by mechanics due to their lack of car knowledge so I took a small comfort in seeing this advertisement. The friendly man behind the counter took my keys and information and I went merrily on my way.

    By 10 a.m. I had received a phone call letting me know that my car had passed inspection and was ready to be picked up. The conversation was brief and so I assumed that everything went as expected. I went to pick up my car at lunch time. I approached the counter and gave the employee my name. He said I passed and asked for my card for payment. He didn’t tell me the amount I was being charged but based on the advertised prices; it should have been in the neighborhood of $50.

    He handed me a receipt and my card back for nearly $80. Perplexed, I looked at the receipt and saw I was charged nearly $30 in fees for new wiper blades. I didn’t need new wiper blades, I just put some on not even a month earlier and we have been in a dry spell so they were barely used. Also, wiper blade check is not a part of a typical inspection. I asked the man about the extra charge, at this point my card had already been processed and he simply said they couldn’t pass with the ones I had and they were already discarded so I couldn’t get the originals back on. I asked why this was not brought to my attention when I was on the phone with the mechanic or prior to this man swiping my card. He ignored my question and went about his day.

    Needless to say I will not be going back to this garage and in the future will be asking more questions before handing over my card. Gender equality has made leaps in bounds of progress in the past decades, but sadly, we still have a long way to go.