Becky Quick’s advice for business owners is simple: “Treat every customer with the same respect, because you never know who’s going to pay the bill.”
The CNBC anchor writes in her latest Fortune column about attempting to buy a minivan before she had her third child last year, and how she was treated by several car salesman that assumed she didn’t work and was dependent on her husband. [h/t Dealbreaker] It’s actually quite astonishing. From Fortune:
The scenarios all went something like what happened at a nearby Toyota dealership, where I walked to the front desk and asked to have someone show me the Sienna. A salesman came right out and introduced himself to the man who happened to be standing behind me. After the bystander made clear that he wasn’t my husband, the salesman asked me where my husband was — still without introducing himself or asking my name. The sales rep then went on to respond to questions I asked about the Sienna by looking at my husband and talking to him, until my husband told him to talk to me. When the guy took me to his desk to take down my information, he asked me for my home phone number and followed up with: “Obviously you don’t have a work phone.”
Quick isn’t alone, she also gives an anecdote about how former Xerox Chair and CEO Anne Mulcahy was treated the same way when the former executive attempted to buy a Porsche. Apparently, Mulcahy threatened to walk out of the dealership when her car salesman asked her if she needed to consult someone (namely, her husband, probably) before she bought her car.