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Settle a bet between me and my wife!

  1. May 1, 2017 #1
    Hey guys....I need help here with a non-science question. Well, maybe not really non-science, if we can include "probability and statistics" to be a science discipline! LOL

    This be the deal.........me and my wife recently went into an auto parts store. I'm usually pretty good about automotive knowledge but this one I needed a product recommnedation for something I knew I needed, which was a very hi-heat tolerant metal repair kit.

    So...as I entered a young, female clerk at the front desk immediately asked me if she could help. I politely waved her off and pointed to her older, male co-worker who was just finishing-up with another customer. Indicating to the girl clerk that I was needing to see him.

    But really I didn't know either of the employees. I just assumed (and here lies the crux of the ensuing argument with my wife) that the chances were far better that an older man would posses more automotive repair knowledge than a very young Hispanic girl. Of course I am not saying that all women are lacking in auto knowledge. I am sure there are a few out there who know far more than me. But, all I am claiming, as I did to my wife after we left and she said I was being sexist, was that, why not play the odds? Since, although, again, there ARE exceptions to the rule here, I think it is common knowledge that the odds, the stats, would tell us that in this particular field of expertise, the chances are greater that a middle-aged male knows more than a young woman.

    So.....who's right? Was I just craftily playing the odds to be in my favor with some objective reasoning, or am I, alas, as DW says, a hopeless male chauvinist?

    Thanks for your time!

    VB
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2017 #2

    russ_watters

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    Your wife is correct.
    [Caveat; I didn't read your post, but I doubt it is relevant to the question.]
     
  4. May 1, 2017 #3

    PeroK

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    You're making the mistake of applying an assumed general factor to specific circumstances. If we assume, for the sake of argument, that in general men are more likely to be interested in auto parts than women, then this does not extend to people working in the industry.
     
  5. May 1, 2017 #4
    I think you were being sexist.

    True story: I went into the local O'Reilly's looking for a fuel pump for my '72 Beetle. The only person there was a woman about 30. It turned out she had, herself, owned an old air-cooled Beetle for a few years, and we talked about Beetles for a while. The odds, surely, would be that some much older guy would be more likely to have owned one, but it turned out the only choice I had was probably the best of all the people employed at that store.

    When it comes to "fix-it" products, I tend to find most employees know little beyond what's written on the package. They certainly haven't personally tried every product they sell.
     
  6. May 1, 2017 #5

    Bandersnatch

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    I'll spell the obvious before it degenerates further. It was a joke in the 'your wife is always right' vein.
     
  7. May 1, 2017 #6

    But I'm not interested in that sort of answer.

    Nor do I respect men who think that way.

    Thanks, though.
     
  8. May 1, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    Wow. Yes, @Bandersnatch was right that it was 90% a joke, but your response tells me the other 10% is even more important: it isn't an important enough issue to get into a fight about.
     
  9. May 1, 2017 #8

    fresh_42

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    Sure? There are only two kind of men: those who know, and those who still have to learn it! :cool:
     
  10. May 1, 2017 #9

    Fervent Freyja

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    Satisfying to see a strike through the OP right now.
     
  11. May 2, 2017 #10

    Averagesupernova

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    I have seen too many times that a woman was hired as an engineer, tech, etc. because the department wanted a lady on staff. It always bombed. I would say most of the time when a female is in a field that is mostly made up of males , or the other way around, it is more about the individual trying to make a personal statement than that they are truly interested in the field they chose. Of course there are exceptions. I play the odds, but I would do it in a more subtle way than the OP did.
     
  12. May 2, 2017 #11
    Thing is: an auto parts store is a store and not a mechanics garage. As such, it is like any other store where any person waiting on you has as much chance of knowing about what you're looking for as any other. You would be wrong to automatically assume that the person who waits on you in an auto parts store is also a mechanic, just as you would be wrong to assume that the person who waits on you in a bakery is also a baker, or that the person who waits on you in a computer store is also a programmer.
     
  13. May 2, 2017 #12

    Evo

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    Wow. Just WOW.
     
  14. May 2, 2017 #13

    Averagesupernova

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    I knew I would take heat on this and I actually suspect there are folks here who feel the same but chose to abstain. Call me sexist if you want, I don't care. My regular physician is female and i wouldn't trade her for anything. I have no problem with male nurses.
    -
    Try going into an auto parts store and asking anyone young about carburetor parts. If you want someone who knows what they are doing you are going to end up with a guy in my neck of the woods because no female I have encountered in an auto parts store is old enough to know anything about a carb. Lots of guys old enough to retire. Most of them got tired of working on vehicles or possibly unable to and picked a job they knew they would do well at. It's not about being sexist it's about reality where I am from.
     
  15. May 2, 2017 #14
    My response was pretty similar to Evo. My experience was mostly the opposite from Averagesupernova, the women who went into engineering were swimming against the stream, and mostly figured they had to make sure they were good. Sure, there are/were exceptions, but a lot of guys got into engineering and it wasn't a good fit and didn't work for them either.

    By the mid 90's, even though women were still a small minority in the field, it wasn't a novelty, and the expectations were the same as for anyone. You just didn't give it thought when an Engineering Manager from another department you work with was introducing a new hire, whether it was male/female, it was another employee you were going to work with.

    As far as the OP, OK, I can kinda see the question from a pure probability standpoint, but as was mentioned, there really is no point in applying generalities (that may or may not be true) to a specific case. I have yet to meet anyone in the US with 2.6 children.

    And even in general, if older guys statistically did have more car experience than younger women, that general case might not even apply in general to older men and young women who took jobs at an auto store. Bottom line, I would ask whoever became available first.
     
  16. May 2, 2017 #15

    Averagesupernova

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    Not me. I will size them up
    I am usually a pretty good judge. Not saying I will always pick a guy. Just about anyone older than 45 is a better bet than a youngster when it comes to retail help.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  17. May 2, 2017 #16

    Evo

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    Well, my ex made sure I knew how to tune an engine, how to use a timing light, how to set the gap on spark plugs, replace a distributor cap, change oil, replace a flat tire, all of the basics. Many girls grew up in the garage at their dad's side working on cars. My husband and his friends were sure our car needed a new alternator, I didn't think so, something wasn't right, I suggested they replace an $8 wire first. That was the problem.

    You know what happens when you assume - you make an a$$ out of you and me, mostly you. I'm sure a person applying at an automotive store is asked a few questions and sure, the range of knowledge will vary. But ask the first person, and if they don't know, they should say so and tell you who to ask, if they don't, don't be afraid to ask at that point.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  18. May 2, 2017 #17

    Averagesupernova

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    @Evo if you are saying I have made an a$$ out of myself you might rethink that as I did say that there are exceptions. When the type of people I refer to that choose to "make a personal statement" as I put it, are no longer in an extreme minority in said field they are no longer interested. They move on to something else. This type of person likes the spotlight.
    -
    Female doctors are plentiful, so are male nurses. The list goes on. But when it is still strictly dominated by one gender or the other the minority is ususlly there, but not always, for the wrong reasons.
    -
    I find it interesting you chose to defend little girls working with daddy in the garage rather than little boys being showed how to do something besides boil water in a kitchen.
     
  19. May 2, 2017 #18

    Evo

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    Well, the discussion was women working in auto parts stores.
     
  20. May 2, 2017 #19

    Dale

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    Those aren't mutually exclusive options.

    The argument you used for justifying your prejudice is the same argument that many rational people use to justify their prejudices. Being statistically sound doesn't diminish the fact that it is prejudice: you pre-judged her as a member of a group without any information about her as an individual.

    I have my own prejudices, so I am not claiming any moral high ground. But you should take your wife's input to heart. Your being right doesn't mean that she is wrong in this case.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  21. May 2, 2017 #20
    Here in Southern California all the old carburetted cars are being kept alive by a younger generation. Geezers who were "there" still exist, but there are old auto clubs all over the place around here peopled by a younger generation. It's some people's main hobby and they put a lot of money into it, then they band together on Sunday mornings and drive around together. The average age looks to me to be people in their 30's. The manager of the Starbucks where I go everyday (looks about 35 to me) drives an Impala from the 60's to work every day, and one of the guys who works for him (about 25) has a '65 Beetle.

    Like I said, I have a '72 Beetle and the percentage of people who come up to me to ask about it who are kids in their 20's is surprising. There are lots of young people out there thinking about getting old cars. They've heard tales of the days when people could maintain their own cars, and they want in on that.

    As I mentioned in my post above, a year or two ago I went into an O'Reilly's for a part and the only person working was a younger woman (about 30) who, it turned out, had owned an old air-cooled Beetle when she was younger.

    And, as I tried to point out in my post #11, in most cases the person who waits on you in an auto parts store has only to be adept at looking a part up. They don't have to know what a condenser even is to see if they carry one for a '69 mustang, and they certainly don't have to know how to install it.
     
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