On behalf of female customers: Enough with the "honey", "sweetie", and "darlin'" routine!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

On behalf of women around the world, I would like to voice a frustration I feel about my regular trips to the mechanic. I know a lot of mechanics read your column. I thought about taking out an ad or writing a letter to the editor, but I feel there's a better chance that mechanics will hear my voice through you guys.

My complaint is that I am often referred to by the mechanic as "honey," "sweetie," "kid" or any number of terms of endearment. It's bad enough to be told that you need $500 worth of repairs. But to add insult to injury, the guy will say, "Honey, I'm going to explain this nice and slow, so even you can understand it." This (or a variation of it) has happened many times at many different places. Who do they think they're dealing with? Their mother? Their girlfriend? Their daughter? No. I'm a stranger who brought in a car to get repaired. And my name isn't Honey, Darlin' or Young Lady. My request is that mechanics stop treating me like I'm too dumb to understand. They can call me by my name, or "Ma." I hope some mechanics are listening and that more women are spared further frustration. Thanks. -- Megan

TOM: Well, you sure told them, Toots!

RAY: Yeah. It's a complaint we hear a lot from broads like you, Megan.

TOM: Actually, we have a service on our Web site that recommends good mechanics. It's a database called the Mechan-X-Files. Our readers and listeners can recommend mechanics they really like so that other people can find them.

RAY: And one of the questions you answer when you're recommending a mechanic is whether, in your opinion, he treats women the same way he treats men.

TOM: So you might want to check the database (it's at the Car Talk section of www.cars.com) and look for a mechanic in your area who gets high scores in respect for female customers.

RAY: And maybe some other mechanics who want to be recommended will read your letter and take down their Ridgid Tool calendars. Or at least hang them behind their toolboxes.

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