My Experience as a Female Feminist Home Depot Employee

As a fellow coworker once said: “Home Depot is a man’s Winners”. They shop, they browse, they love the prices, and they come back multiple times a day. I was referred into the job; it was a new experience for me in which I could gain way more experience and skills I never had the opportunity to learn before. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed and experienced as a female feminist employee at The Home Depot.

 

DISCLAIMER - these are massive generalizations. Most people are polite and treat me with respect, but there is a definite pattern of behaviour I will outline here.

 

1 - If I’m standing next to a male coworker, customers will turn to ask him a question instead of me.

This is frustrating, but when it’s a new employee standing next to me, it’s almost comical. These customers almost always assume that the male employee will know more. I always turn the question over to someone who knows the most. I work at the service desk, but most of us are cross-trained to work other departments on the floor. Any roofing questions I refer to the lumber guy. Barbecue questions I direct to the seasonal woman. It isn’t a matter of gender, but a matter of experience and knowledge. I guess customers find it safe to assume that the male employee has more of both, but that’s OBVIOUSLY far from the truth.

 

2 - There is relatively equal opportunity to advance and grow.

The store itself has a pretty even number of female and male employees - including managers. This is something I found encouraging when starting my job there. It was a reassurance (if I needed it) that women belonged here too - and can actually EXCEL. If you want to learn something, the managers make it work for you, as long as you’re a good employee. There’s hardly ever an incident of the male employee getting more opportunity of advancement than the female employee. The company is constantly working on ways that female workers can feel empowered and secure in their job through education and skill building.

 

3 - Female customers can be as bad, if not WORSE, than male customers.

Male customers (e.g. contractors) are typically pretty misogynist in their behaviour towards me: flirting with me in an environment where I have to be nice to them, questioning my ability to do a specific task, assuming I can’t lift something more than 20 lbs (as a hire, it is a requirement to be able to lift at least 50 lbs), etc. It was a shock to me that some (albeit very few) women are just as bad if not worse. As a retail worker, I have a couple of customers that stand out in my mind in a bad way. Some women would feel much more comfortable with a man helping them, but others have blatantly put me down and told me I’m not fit enough to do the job. This is where my wonderful manager comes in. A female customer demands the male manager to come to do it for her. I insist I can in fact help her, and when the customer puts me down in front of my manager, he defends me to say that this is my specialty and I am best suited to help in this situation. It’s a shame that a woman would put down another woman in an environment where women are still fighting to be accepted and trusted.

 

Overall, my experience with the company has been amazing in terms of equal opportunities and treatment. Good workers are treated well -- man or woman. I think certain changes have to be made in society, since customers still blatantly mistreat female workers and make them feel uncomfortable in their own workplace. That being said, with great companies like The Home Depot making commitments of hiring more women who are knowledgeable in the field, and by having more female representation in training and store leadership, I think these changes in society will eventually take place.