ON a recent extensive shopping excursion, in the depths of an equally
extensive search for a digital camera, something that I thought was
completely extinct reared it’s ugly head. Accompanied on a sunny
Saturday by the Other Half, who, in fairness, had not complained once
even though he was probably missing a crucial replay of some match
played in 1982, I visited approximately six stores specialising in the type
of devices I was looking for. What five of them had in common, besides
the obvious, was an obnoxious salesman who, for some reason, felt it
was necessary to pretend I wasn’t there.
In the first store, as the chirpy salesman went through the camera
functions, directing every word at the OH, who had neither an interest or
a need for a camera, I asked the questions... the answers to which were
directed exclusively at the male half of the audience.
“I’d like to see that one please,” I said as I pointed out the impressive
Fuji model in the glass case.
“This one?” the salesman asked the OH, who nodded sheepishly, having
spotted the angry vein beginning to throb at my temple.
“Yes, that one,” I said, giving the OH a look that put a sharp stop to any
doubts he might have had with regards to the seriousness of the
“Oooh, this is a sexy little thing,” said the salesman to the OH, not unlike
that character from The Fast Show who insists that more or less
everything is, “much like making love to a beautiful woman.”
“We’re talking 4.1 mega-pixels man, zoom, flash and 10 different
settings”, continued the salesman, examining the OH’s expression for a
flicker of interest as I glowered in the background, biting my tongue and
wondering if I should perhaps get back in the kitchen and bake the two
of them a cake.
The sad saga continued from shop to shop, camera to camera. At one
point, following an inquiry as to the size of the screen, the salesman
turned so that the OH could get a good look, leaving me, the prospective
customer, staring in disbelief at the back of his head. The object of the
initial search was abandoned and I embarked, with no complaints from
the now rather nervous OH, on a one-woman mission to find a salesman
that didn’t make my blood boil.
If the attitude of the average Cork salesman is to be accepted, it appears
the ‘little woman’s’ euros have dropped in value. Sadly, the male
chauvinist pig seems to be beating a slimy track back into the realms of
acceptable behaviour. The whole thing reminded me of that story where
Nell McCafferty tried to buy a television on hire-purchase. Because, in
1952, it was common for a business to refuse a woman’s custom
without the signature of a man, she was forced to grab a stranger off the
street to “OK” the transaction.
In the finish, my shopping trip was completely fruitless, but perhaps
that’s for the best. What use could a woman possibly have for a digital
camera anyway? I’d probably just use it to take pictures of kittens and
pretty shoes... that’s assuming I could even figure out how to turn it