“Heeeeelllllloooooooo Gorgeous!” Was Not What I Asked For When I Went To Buy Paint

Paint Department
GenderWomanhood 5 Comments

On a recent trip to a major home improvement store to pick-up the essentials for a weekend painting project, I went with a very specific list in mind and the plan was to divide and conquer. I would get the paint, and my boyfriend would get the rollers, trays, tape, brushes, etc. It was late on a Friday night, the store was relatively empty, and we wanted to get in and out. As I took my spot at the paint mixing counter, I got more than I bargained for as “Heeeeelllllloooooooo gorgeous!” was not anywhere on my list.

Here’s what went down…

A male employee, whom I’m calling Paint Dude #1, was helping a 60-something-ish woman. I overheard the tail end of their conversation and he sounded very courteous, helpful, and articulate. He had the last word of their conversation, which was “have a nice evening ma’am.”

So she leaves and I (age 42) step up with a smile on my face and paint chips in hand. That’s when courteous, helpful, articulate Paint Dude #1 went through a kind of reverse evolution right before my eyes…

Paint Dude #1: “Heeeeelllllloooooooo gorgeous!” The words slowly dripped out of his mouth.

I ignore his less than professional greeting and attempt to shift the exchange back to business, as he seemed to have a different type of latex in mind than what was for sale in his paint department.

Me: “Hi. I need to get some paint. Can you help me with that?”

And in 3… 2… 1… my attempt fails.

Paint Dude #1: “I WISH I could help YOU, but my shift is up. But don’t you worry baby. I’ll get someone to help you right away.”

My blood pressure is now starting to rise, but I stand there stone faced, biting my tongue.

Me: “Great,” I state very matter-of-factly.

Enter a second male employee, Paint Dude #2. He and Paint Dude #1 have a casual and prolonged “what’s up bro” exchange, which includes the classic handshake/hug combo greeting. They banter excitedly, but not loud enough for me to hear, and about 3 minutes go by as I, the customer, stand there, just staring at these two yoyos as they finish their bromance dance. “You closin’ dude?” “Yeah.” “Alright, take is easy man.” They handshake/hug again, Painter Dude #1 walks away, and Painter Dude #2 makes his way over to me.

I want the first word this time.

Me: “Hi. I just need 2 gallons of this paint and one of this. Both in eggshell finish,” as I show him my two paint chips. “Do you need me to go grab the paint so you can mix the colors?”

I asked because that’s what I’ve usually done when I buy paint at this store.

Paint Dude #2: “You don’t need to do ANYTHING, except stand there and look cute.”

I am now seething (and felt like I needed a heebie jeebie cleansing shower). But I still say nothing. Why? One… it was late on a Friday night and I just didn’t have the energy to make this a teaching moment for him. I just wanted my freakin’ paint! Two… I thought a deadpan stare would silently speak volumes about how unamused I was by him.

He takes the paint chips and turns his back, walking about 3 feet away from me. Just then my boyfriend, who had been down one of the aisles getting the rest of our painting gear, comes up alongside of me. He says, “You haven’t gotten the paint yet?” I fill him in on both of the time wasting exchanges. He grimaces, and says loudly enough for Paint Dude #2 to hear, “Who this guy?” But Paint Dude #2 is oblivious… he’s busy doing g*d knows what (a.k.a. nothing, since I was now the only customer in the entire department).

He turns around and notices my boyfriend as he walks toward us. Just as Paint Dude #1 had DEvolved in front of me, Paint Dude #2 suddenly Evolved. Even his tone of voice and style of speaking changed.

Paint Dude #2: “So you needed 2 gallons of the Dark Sky, and 1 gallon of the Mocha Latte ma’am?”

Me: “Yes.”

Paint Dude #2: “Ok. I’ll get those started right away for you. It’ll just take a few minutes.”

All I could do was shake my head.

Before anyone has the chance to say, “Oh wha wha, someone complimented her and she’s got her panties all in a ruffle,” let me make something very clear… this goes far beyond the compliment. It’s about the way I, a customer, was spoken to by two male employees of a major brand and corporation that has tried its darndest in the last few years to be more “female friendly.” It’s about being inappropriately forward with no regard for how the person on the receiving end may feel. It’s about an overall lack of respect.

Photo via Yelp

Jen Jones is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Women You Should Know

  • Lori Day

    Total lack of respect!! And of course respect returns when paint dude #2 sees you have a boyfriend (eg. you are *another* dude’s “property”)!

  • Leah L

    You know, this is infuriating to me. I shop at Home Depot and Lowes ALL THE FREAKING time because we are redoing our kitchen right now, and since I bought my home 2 years ago, I’ve experienced how condescending, rude, and plain disrespectful the male employees in those stores can be. If my husband is with me and I ask a question, the answer is always directed at him. If I ask where something is, they want to know what project I’m working on, and when I supply an answer, I am spoken down to as if I have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s sick and it pisses me off. Last night I went to dinner with a girlfriend who described something similar to the above scene, with the exception of it being a male patron of one of these stores as opposed to an employee. They also need to remove the pink, sparkly aprons reserved to advertise for women’s workshops at the Home Depot. Get with the program, home improvement stores!!!!! I hope this incident is reported to the manager of the store. They should be aware this kind of behavior is exhibited by their employees.

  • Ellen

    It really is too bad you didn’t put both of these creeps in their place. Both their attitudes and manners are totally unacceptable. And these jerks actually think they are being gracious and attentive and that we like this crap. It makes me sick! The saddest part is that if you reported their behavior to the store manager he would probably stare at you as if you had a hole in your head. I said “he” because I am almost 100% positive that the manager of this type of store is male. This type of jerk will just never learn. Next time do not hold back. Give it to them!!!

    • Leah L

      In fairness, I will say that the manager of the Home Depot store where I live is a woman and she does an excellent job because I’ve had to talk to her in the course of working on a home project. Unfortunately having a female supervisor doesn’t always mean that male employees with ingrained backward values will be respectful.

  • E. Murphy

    If the guy really thought there was nothing wrong with his deportment, he wouldn’t have cleaned it up for your boyfriend. That just proves he knew it was BS.