She Exploded at a Sexist Customer, Was This Woodworker in the Wrong?

A recent post on the AITA subreddit went viral when a female carpenter asked if she was in the wrong for blowing up at a sexist older customer.

The Original Poster (OP) has been into woodwork since she was young – her stepdad is in the carpentry business, and she often visited him at work when she was younger.

When she was 12, she used to practice her woodworking basics at her stepdad’s business, and when she was 15, he allowed her to start helping out.

At first, it was just the little things you’d expect a 15-year-old to help with; cleaning up, holding, and bringing tools or other items for the workers. However, as time progressed, she became a full employee and learned the trade while studying at school.

Now she’s 20, and it’s been hectic at work recently – last month was one of the busiest they’d had in a while. OP thought it better if she took on the simpler contracts and orders – jobs that only required one person so that she could do them herself.

One of the contracts she chose was to make new balcony fence planks to replace the existing ones for a client. She talked with the customer on the phone beforehand and went to their house later to take some measurements and other details.

She could tell something was off when she arrived – the client, an older man, had a strange look on his face and asked her if someone else was coming later. She’s experienced this many times and knew he was asking whether a man would be coming around later.

Perhaps stupidly, she tried to lighten the mood by replying, “How hard can using a tape measure and a drill be?” Inoffensive but easily seen as inappropriate to an older customer’s mind – he wasn’t particularly impressed with her wry joke.

After she finished measuring up, the customer said, “I hope those measurements are correct,” and then asked if she would be responsible for making the new planks and removing and installing the replacements. She was annoyed at his sexist allusions but told him she probably would be.

A few days passed, and the OP made the new planks to spec and went to replace the old ones at the man’s house.

At first, he didn’t say much, as she had measured the planks correctly and made them well. But after a while, he started nagging her, telling her that she was holding tools wrong (when she wasn’t) and that she was making a mess with the removal of the old rotted planks.

She could handle this. It was tolerable to her, even though he was basically breathing down her neck while trying to do her job.

What wasn’t tolerable was when she asked the customer to pass her a tool, and he said, “see, this is why trades are male-dominated.” He started criticizing her for asking him for help, saying, “you said you could do it yourself!”

She realized that asking him for help and keeping him around while working was a mistake, but she’s young and hasn’t had many solo jobs. She won’t make that mistake again!

Once she had completed the job, the customer told her that it “wasn’t half bad” but could be better and faster. She was furious!

She had done the job well – the planks were sized well, lined and distanced properly, and matched the older rotten planks. The paintwork was excellent! Why did it take longer? Perhaps it was because he had been breathing down her neck the entire time?

She asked him to explain what was wrong so that she could fix it and make it better than “half bad,” but he replied that it wasn’t anything in particular, just that a “normal” woodworker would do it faster and better.

This lit her fuse; she’d had enough of this older man looking down on her for being a female in the trade.

She shouted at him, “well, I repaired your fence; that makes me a woodworker! Or does it not, because women can’t be in trades? Why didn’t you just do it yourself when you knew a woman was going to do the job in the first place?!”

He only replied that she should respect her elders and not raise her voice to customers. Although the OP agrees that she shouldn’t have raised her voice, she said, “I can tolerate only so much. AITA?”

Reddit users thought that this 20-year-old woodworker was not out of line and that the older man was in the wrong for being openly sexist to her.

The top-voted Redditor said, “Hahahaha NTA. He’s a sexist old man wanting to uphold his “superiority” for as long as he possibly can. I’d have snapped back at him, “you’re right, I am much faster when I don’t have a chauvinistic pig mansplaining to me the whole time. Have a nice day.”

What do you think about this story? Was she right to have stuck up for herself, even though it meant shouting at a client?

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Luis Molinero. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source: Reddit