Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Expert Snobbery

Okay, I’m no expert. In anything. I know a few interesting things about a lot of different subjects. I have a policy degree and an economics degree that, in combination, mean that I am well trained in cost-benefit analysis, spin, and BS.

As a non-expert, I am baffled by the behavior of the experts I’ve been dealing with lately. In the past two weeks, I have seen a doctor about Maya’s spots, a siding expert about an issue with our steel siding, and a carpenter about adding a deck to the naked patio door on the side of our house. Of these three experts, I have gotten expertly scoffed at three times.

Unlike our thorough and respectful regular family doctor, the great and powerful Doctor Z acted as if I was an over-excited parent checking on the sniffles (never mind that the strep test I suggested –thanks to grandma- later came back positive). He acted as though his diagnosis of chicken pox in a vaccinated kid was thoroughly mundane, but when I asked him if she needed to be kept back from her ECFE class, he then freaked out as if I were eager to expose a group of toddlers to Ebola.

The siding expert was a total jerk that tried to take advantage (about $15,000 worth) of my non-expert status. (Another smug expert later debunked this one.)

The carpenter was friendly enough, until I asked if he could just frame up the deck, leaving the top boards to us. Suddenly I went from a potential customer to the slow kid. Instead of USING his expertise and making a suggestion or two, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ll give you a quote, but there is more to it than you think.”

What is going on here? Why does expertise in something give these people the right to treat me like an idiot? As the customer, aren’t I actually their boss at some level. Wouldn’t they accomplish their work better, have healthier patients or get better referrals, by making helpful suggestions rather than rolling their eyes if I ask the wrong question.

I must be working with the wrong experts. Maybe they are treating me poorly because I’m female, or because I look young, or because the tiny people attached to me make me look less educated. Whatever it is, I’m not okay with being treated this way.

So before the snobby carpenter calls back with his quote, I’m contacting someone off the Minnesota Women’s Press Directory or Angie's List. I’ve got a couple of names that sound promising, and I’ll let you know if I can track down an expert that will be a little less snobby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You go girl!!!!


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