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Have you been told "You don't want... "?

11 years ago

At CEFreeman's suggestion, I'd like to know if anyone else has been told "You don't want" something that you know you want.

When I said I wanted stainless switchplates, my GC told me "Nobody uses those anymore. It's kind of dated. White would be better." White was also already in his truck. I got the stainless and the gray switches myself, and I like them.

He also told me I didn't want the pendant lights and the recessed lights on the same switch, because other people like them separate. Nope, two switches - overhead and UCL - are enough for me.

And a salesman in a kitchen design showroom told me I "didn't want induction." A new smooth top radiant cook top would be such an improvement over the coils I had that I'd be plenty happy. Guess what I got. Someplace else.

What's particularly annoying is there sometimes seems to be an underlying implied "little lady" in these statements, like "Let me tell you what to do, little lady." Or am I being too sensitive?

So, have you been told what you want by someone from whom you did not solicit advice? And do you think it happens more to little ladies?

Comments (49)

  • 11 years ago

    I don't think one can make sweeping generalizations about everyone who is giving you advice. In my experience, many who say "you don't want..." really truly believe in their choice over yours, and feel you are making the wrong one. That's not them being condescending; that's just them having a difference of opinion. Also, when I get advice like that, it is important that I take into account the person speaking - is it e.g. an electrician I have used for years who I know does good work, with years of experience? Or is it a student on a summer job in a hardware store? I would listen hard to the electrician with years of experience - it would be poor judgement on my part to think I know more than he does. If my preference is different than his, fine, but I wouldn't dismiss his advice out of hand.

    Similarly the salespeople in appliance stores - the quality of their advice varies. Some want to sell you something that gives them higher commission, or their boss has told them they have too much inventory and need to move those appliances. I wouldn't trust those and would go by my choices over theirs. Others are truly giving you good advice based on your needs and budget. I have worked with one salesperson at Abt Appliances (an enormous retailer) for two homes - he makes tons more commission from the people buying sub-zeros and gaggenaus, and from real estate developers he sells in bulk to; he doesn't need to make me buy, for example, the Kitchenaid over the Jenn-Air. If he recommends the Kitchenaid, I would take his advice seriously.

    So, it all depends. As to the "little lady" attitude - I find that to be all in the personality of the woman, sorry to say. I've watched my sister and a couple of my girlfriends being talked to like that. It's offensive. I have a pretty strong demeanor and I don't get treated like that. And on the few occasions where someone tries, I say something to them directly about it, and they immediately stop.

  • 11 years ago don't want the cabinets to all the way to the ceiling.

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  • 11 years ago

    YES. One thousand times. Interestingly, I have also seen it happen to DH, who is not a shy and retiring personality, though not anywhere close to as often. It seems (with him) usually done by people who have no clue about what they are talking about, seem to have a better impression of themselves than I do, and are really not very good at reading customers.

    For me it is all comers, and seems to happen in multiple settings, even more typically female pursuits/stores. I think what gets me the most is that instead of "the customer is always right" many sales and service people have the approach "You are an idiot and I have been put on this planet to help you understand how much smarter and more knowledgeable I am". I never ever get told I can't do something or shouldn't want it by people who are really, really good at what they do and enjoy it, so I try to seek those folks out when doing a house project, almost as protection against having to fight for what I want.

    Thing is, nobody likes being talked down to or to have their opinions and wishes trivialized. But MAN some service and sales folks just have no skills in this area. And once a good relationship is built (you know, the kind where they finally realize that you actually do care and have bothered to educate yourself and really do want to know their opinion) with someone such as a contractor or electrician the quick dismissal comments tend to disappear. Unfortunately, this may not have time to develop during a remodel. And then it just feels like an uphill battle the whole way.

    I have been extremely fortunate with my subs. My first electrician was a creative and happy gem, and never once said it couldn't be done. His attitude was more "bring it on!" and is the example I try to keep in mind when I have to find new people.

    Probably too many sweeping generalizations in the above, but this is one of those buttons that send me over the top. I guess in my professional life I am able to avoid this for the most part, so I am a little spoiled and react poorly in the real world....But MAN it just gets my goat. I mean really, how do they think they can KNOW I don't want that???

  • 11 years ago

    Ginny, I totally get what you are saying. I'm sure many are going to post stories that will make us all shake our heads. Following what akchicago said just going to add a few thoughts.

    People on GW are the exception not the rule. After watching others remodel and looking at photos of houses for my job, I can see this to be true. The vast majority of people have little interest in picking out details or even thinking about their choices in their homes.

    Example of a very dear fiend who has a wonderful kitchen. She walked into the showroom, saw a display kitchen, said I like that one. The KD worked out the details of the layout, she said OK. She spent maybe an hour or two picking out a backsplash and paint color. That was it. I'm not joking. Another friend picked out cabinets in ten minutes and just told the GC to put the sink by the window. Again not joking.

    Most tell me they do not have the time or interest to do what we do here. So with most of the population like this most GC, trades people, appliance salesman are used to this group. Guessing that your GC never had anyone ask for an outlet in any other color. Or the appliance salesperson may have never sold an induction, or doesn't really know how they work so will not recommend them.

    Most people don't question what the pro says. Understanding that if no ones questions them they really don't have alot of other info to go on.

    To find someone who "gets it" is a gift.

  • 11 years ago

    Yes! Corner drawers and tile backsplash. We are doing both :)

  • 11 years ago

    Akchicago, I agree that it is not possible to make sweeping generalizations since the situations you describe above clearly demonstrate the wide potential variety of reasons that a person might offer the advice "You don't want that". I took the OP's topic to address the condescending and dismissive approach to providing "information". And I made sweeping generalizations anyway.

    While we are on that, and while I agree that presenting oneself as a victim, allowing people to condescend, and letting down the wall of demeanor is more likely to elicit "little lady" directed comments and dismissal, I don't believe all the blame for the salesperson's approach should be placed on the "victim". Just because you can doesn't mean you should, with power comes responsibility, etc, and I expect a certain amount of respect from sales people (it's a business for pete's sake). If they don't give it to me, we will work it out or I will go elsewhere and if I am at the top of my game it will not be without letting them know. The balance of power in any conversation is a complex and interesting thing, and interesting to me that your sister and your friends have let you down in this regard.

    I should also add, since I can't seem to shut up, that DH's approach is the opposite. This is not a hot button for him, he just says, "Eh" and walks away and completely forgets about it. If asked, his response is that it doesn't matter. When someone offers him bad advice,even if said advice is clearly just dismissive, he just doesn't take the advice. If he isn't sure about it, he researches and comes back to it. So perhaps my hot button is because I really am just "little lady"!!

  • 11 years ago

    Good post. I've been told "I don't want" a lot of things throughout this process and also that "I am going to want...."
    One instance I did listen is our electrician when pointing us in the direction of a different dimmer switch style. This was based on his experience over 30 years with the switch type we'd chosen having issues so we listened.

    The biggest one we experienced and didn't listen to was I don't want to keep the kneewall between our kitchen and family room because it's dated and "everyone" who has them in our development took it down.
    Instead I added extra cabinetry recessed into the wall there and now have an extra workspace, serving space and a built in cookbook shelf. We can also still gate our dog into the kitchen if need be. Only 1 out of 7 contractors listened to us on this point and incorporated it into our cabinet design. Guess who got the job?

    Don't even get me started on the little lady stuff. Ugh. Once I show that I'm not to be taken lightly and that I know what I'm talking about that usually goes away.

    To the point about GWers being a different breed I totally agree. I can't tell you how many times we've heard throughout this process "Wow, you guys really do your homework". I take that as a compliment, and credit this board with giving so much helpful information to make DH and I a couple "not to be messed with" when it comes to our kitchen project!!

  • 11 years ago

    It is true that GWers are a different breed, and I have had similar experiences with friends who just take whatever appliance (usually they just don't care as much as I do!) is available. I used to do this as well. Life was simpler then. As debrak says, it is shocking to hear how little time some folks put into the entire remodel, but those same people would probably be horrified by how much time I spent thinking about my remodels, and how much I still enjoy thinking about materials and appliances and layouts and design.

  • 11 years ago

    When I went appliance shopping I used a local store and went armed with all my research and information. I knew what I wanted and why and also knew what I didn't want and why. I think what happens with salespeople at the small and big box stores is that they listen to their sales reps and don't do their own research on their products. And of course the sales reps build up their own products and are dismissive of other products. eg - induction vs gas vs flattop cooktop. By the time I was finished choosing and discussing the store owner later offered me a job.

    When it comes to "little lady" syndrome, when we were down to making the final decision of choosing our GC and KD they were all asked whether or not they could work with me - not my DH but me. My DH has no interest in any of this stuff. A couple of them looked at me like I was nuts but the the one who said no problem got the job. And there never was a problem - I got all the e-mails, phone calls etc and I got asked for the decisions.

    I was told I didn't want granite but should get Silestone (or whatever) but no I wanted granite.

  • 11 years ago

    Ughh...the little lady stuff just KILLS me!!

    In the world according to THEM, i did not want....

    Wood floors
    Inset cabinets
    Painted cabinets
    Marble countertop
    Wood countertop
    36 inch range
    Built in refrigerator
    Lower drawers
    My hardware installed where I have it
    Stacked washer/ dryer

    I amsure there are more that I have blocked from memory, and that is ONLY in the kitchen, not bathrooms that we also remodeled!!


  • 11 years ago

    It's like color issues, gender issues, sexual discrimination, education prejudice issues, whatever. There are people who find those things everywhere, and people who just don't, even when they happen to be present.

    I really think that were some of these people to just (be taught how to) change their presentation from "You don't want ..." to "Have you considered...." the whole point would be moot.

    Over the past two years I've been blessed to find two people I trust. One is my Multi-Purpose Fred and the other, my electrician. The latter brought the former around. In between I've been screwed right and left, but that's another rant about not listening to myself.

    But even these very experienced, capable men have turned around and said, "Whaaaat!?" However, not only have they both done what I wanted -- and I listen to their input, they listen to my questions -- when all was said and done, they've both had occasion to say, "Oh, wow! I would never have thought of that." The electrician even admitted I'd given him a lot of ideas for his own home.

    Only once, in the very beginning, did my Multi-Purpose Fred ignore what I wanted, then asked me why. Even though I'd discussed it with him several times before hand. It was a particularly bad day after about 10 days of double shifts. I think my voice got deeper than Barry White when I looked at him and said, "Because I want it, that's why. If you can't do it get out of the way and I'll do it myself."

    At the end, he loved how my closet pocket doors worked and how I designed them.

    It wasn't a little lady thing, it was them not understanding what I wanted, and more importantly, how it was going to work in the end. Since they have become wise enough to recognize I know what I'm talking about, when they do offer advice or suggestions, I listen. They're also wise to the ways of Christine.

    Others I'm kicking to the curb from now on. Don't let me get started on a referred plumber. Unfortunately, it's a mess. He should probably have made the contract out to "Little Lady" at "I'm doing it my way" address.

    When you have an idea, as someone to tell how to make it work, not all the ways it won't. And get them to pare out the inconvenience to them, since you're paying for it in the first place.

  • 11 years ago

    I think most contractors have done this SO many times, they tend to speak in regard to the general populace that they have worked with. Most people (even many here) are really "into" trends so the contractors steer them toward the current fad or trend. I was told I didn't want several things but each one I calmly suggested that I may, indeed, not want that, but I must come to my own conclusion about it.

    In the end, I DID want some of the options and not so much others. I just don't like people assuming they know my preferences

  • 11 years ago

    A close cousin to this impertinence is "you will love...." or "you will not be sorry...". That kinda sends me, only sends me so much I turn into claybabe's SO and just think "Eh", and walk away. So ... the outrageous claim can't be so bad as to simply turn me off like "you will not be sorry...". That is, for me, I often entertain the notion that "I don't want....". Because of course sometimes, it's true. And if I'm asking, I don't know.

    Which is to say that against my better judgment, I agree a bit with akchicago and others above who say this is a little bit in the beholder. Something in the listener's demeanor brings on this kind of response. And I definitely notice that I get it more on some days than others, bolstering that theory.

    Bottom line is, you always have to sift through advice your own self. Even when a retailer or craftsman is obnoxious, they are sometimes right. Trick is to somehow stay true to yourself while evaluating the likelihood of their true knowledge. There are a whole bunch of things I listened to some jerk telling me "you don't want...", only I did. But from the other side of the decision-line, it's really hard to know.

    I think there's a massive amount of "emotional intelligence" necessary in this game. Which extends, even, to letting it go (somehow) when you choose wrong. But it is your choice at the end of the day. Completely independent of whether someone else seems to somehow think they absolutely know what you want.

    Flip slide is here, on this advice-experience forum, I (at least) try to give my evidence/data/experience but try to stay away from presuming I somehow know what the other wants. That's an easy trap to slip into too.

  • 11 years ago

    In my experience, people do indeed sometimes respond "you don't want X" after I say X -- no matter how big and scary I may have appeared to be.

    "you don't want" statements are an irritant. Definitely.

    Those who have taken many sales training courses may be able to frame it as something justifiable.

  • 11 years ago

    Not so much a "you don't want" but a "are you really sure" from the electrician when DH said he wanted the lights over the tub/shower combo offset a little toward the back wall. That we weren't blocking our own light while showering. Elec. accommodated us even though he thought it was a bit strange, but after it was done he saw the point, and I suspect he may suggest it to future customers. In the meantime our shower is light and bright!

    Like akchicago said above, I always consider the source. If I suspect its for their convenience rather than my satisfaction, then I question it. I'll politely give them the chance to explain their suggestions - but I do the research and ask questions. More then once its ended with a salesperson mumbling "we don't have anything like that" and walking away.

  • 11 years ago

    DD2 is remodeling her MBath.

    No one pulls the vanity away from the corner/wall.
    No one uses exposed shower sets, but I've installed them before.
    People are getting away from furniture style vanities.

    Tile guy:
    No one uses furniture style vanities any more.
    No one puts a shelf in a shower niche (for shampoo, etc)
    I hate Daltile hex and dot. It's cheap. It's crap made in Mexico.
    You're going to use (a non-white) grout? No one does that.
    Where is the shower valve? (not in wall, exposed) No one uses these.
    (When the niche looked like crap, and I had him rip it out) It's what you wanted. (Um, no.)
    No one uses marble tile on the back of shower niche (so no grout lines).
    No one uses marble on front of the shower curb.

  • 11 years ago

    Agree with above posters. The question, "Have you considered..." makes for a more pleasant interaction than, "You don't want..." or "You will LOVE..." or "You can't do...". I also agree that it is a two way street, and the first impression a clerk or Sub has of you may be as wrong or right as the first impression you have of the clerk or sub. A little respect for their side of the issue is always good, and truly if I always knew what I was talking about I would probably feel less threatened when a twit of a clerk seems snotty. And really, who can blame them when I show up just before closing, smelly and sweaty, in old stained clothing, with my long-expired-dye-job in dusty disarray, too tired to hear what I am asking much less accurately judge what they have just said. Of course, when I show up like this at my lumber yard they take great care of me, but not so much at the local high end appliance store or Nordstroms. The vagaries of human interactions are best undertaken when well rested and groomed or when in good company.
    Barring that, sometimes things get messy.

    And now I think I will shut my overactive mouth, and get into the garden.

  • 11 years ago

    No. No one ever gives me any advice.

    Not contractors. I wish they would!

    They do exactly what I tell them, nothing more or less.

    So many times I have thought "Why didn't that professional who should have known better given me a word of advice???"

    WHY don't people speak up and explain things!?

    I did have someone ask once, "Are you sure about "x"? (very quietly)

    I said yes, but did not know why he asked. Nor did he offer more information. LONG AFTER I realized what a big mistake I had made. And I remembered that little question.

    WHY didn't he tell me, "Hey, that's not a good idea because you'll regret it later"?

    I would LOVE to have someone say "Lady, BAD idea!"

    No one seems brave enough to suggest anything.

    I must intimidate people?

  • 11 years ago

    Well, 'ya scare me to death. Not.

    How interesting that they don't go the extra WORD, let alone step with you. I find that very passive aggressive. I wonder why?

    I have been buying 6x6s from a fence company. $8.00 each, no matter how long. I load them myself into my truck. I can take 12 at a time. I go home, unload, go back, load another 12. The sweatier I get, and the more into my trips I get, the more help I get. The next day or so, the guys who finally helped me load by the end of the previous day are there from the start.

    What is it about sweat and dirt? Or is it the DIY aspect they don't usually see with women?

    My neighbor just told me he had company in his yard the other day. One of the fellows was staring towards my house, but neighbor wasn't paying much attention. Finally, this guy chimed in with, "She's really strong." But God forbid they help the little lady... [LOL] Can't have it both ways, can we? I often tell people though, that if I can't get it in my truck I sure can't get it out. So thanks anyway.

    These lumber guys have asked me what I'm going to do with all these 6x6s. I try to explain, but they can't see it in their head. The ONLY way these go is vertically into the ground. Well, I'm ... going ... horizontally.

  • 11 years ago

    Whatever you say, biochem. I'm not arguing with you. ;-)

    Strangely enough, meek, retiring, reserved, and even ladylike are not usually words used about me. More likely mouthy, pushy, bossy, and (DH's favorite) obnoxious. And I didn't say that anyone called me little lady or actually patted me on the head or anything, I just can't imagine anyone ever saying to my broad-shouldered, muscular, bald DH "You don't want that" unless they had a very good reason.

    If I say, "what color switchplates do you think would work," then I'm looking for advice. If I say a simple declarative sentence about something that makes no real functional difference: "I'm going to have stainless switchplates," then I expect no back talk. I'm quite sure that in that particular case it was all about what he had available. Getting a different color required shopping, ordering and delays. Also, his reason "it's dated" particularly rankled. As I said elsewhere, dated, schmated, who cares as long as it's pretty.

    Certainly, if someone had a valid reason why I seemed to be making a bad choice, I would want them to speak up. (and yes, grammatically that "them" does not agree with the preceding clause. Linguist John McWhirter has made a convincing case that "you don't want to say 'him or her'.") "If you put this cabinet here, the handle will stick out and you won't be able to open the dishwasher" or "Did you know the Kitchenaid induction cooktop clicks and buzzes." That would be helpful; I would want someone to say that. But if the reasons are lame - no one does that, everyone else does this, I don't sell a lot of those so buy this instead - then it's darn annoying. And yes, as many of you have said, the wording counts.

    My GC was not condescending to me. He dealt only with me, and he said early on that he appreciated that I knew what I wanted so he didn't have to spend a lot of time explaining the various choices to me. He was personable and creative, if somewhat absentminded. I just wonder if this is more likely to happen to women. And certainly we all bring a different eye when we look at a situation. My generation of women was very definitely discriminated against. I would hope that younger women are not on the watch for sexism because they have not been treated to it as often.

  • 11 years ago

    lol Christine. But I just have to say ... you do scare me! In a good way ;)

    I live a couple blocks from a lumber yard. I still take as one of my prouder moments a memory from a dozen years ago when I got my desk. It's a huge hollow core door and I just set it on my head and walked home with it. Later that day when I returned for something else the guy there said "you're my hero"! OK, so that's probably sexist and condescending and sycophantic too. But it still makes me smile many, many years later.

    Biochem - I guess your point is you have to listen, even to twaddle, to hear when you might be about to make a mistake.

    It might be time for another thread titled My biggest mistakes or What happened when I ignored the cautionary advice...

  • 11 years ago

    I just wonder if this is more likely to happen to women. And certainly we all bring a different eye when we look at a situation. My generation of women was very definitely discriminated against. I would hope that younger women are not on the watch for sexism because they have not been treated to it as often.

    Yes. Yup. Indeed!

    I am amazed by the incremental changes that add up to Change. Sexism and racism are definitely less virulent than formerly. Still prevalent, morphed in ways that are not always acceptable or evident, but overall, definitely - ahem - emasculated.

  • 11 years ago

    My, my ... are you all as tough in person as in writing?

    Life happens, and people do in fact communicate differently, sometimes ineffectively, sometimes poorly and wrongly and ill-advisedly. But it is not the case that 100% of the time, no matter how poorly-conveyed, ill-presented ideas are wrong.

    Coachings matter. The trick is figuring out (a) how to avoid ill-presented advice and (b) how to recognize it.

  • 11 years ago

    Ah, I got "well, I guess I can do that if you REALLY want that [but you must be bat crazy if you do]".

    I did the polite nod, then followed up later with an email saying how I had thought about things and that I did, in fact, want things done the bat crazy way. I find people are less able to intimidate in writing.

  • 11 years ago

    Marcolo, you are right and you are too funny. And I agree: My gut tells me when someone is being helpful vs. being condescending.

    I get the little lady occasionally but we have other stereotyping I get tired of. It occurs more in appliance and other showrooms than the lumberyards or with contractors. Many sales people clearly categorize us as tirekickers. I've never done it, but I really want to say to them: "Umm, we dress neatly, we save up for things, and know what we want to spend. We have studied your products and have some questions. Can you perk up and quit acting like you got stuck with us?"

    My husband is more mellow about it than I am. He says it's the way the world works. Just be yourself and hopefully they come around.

  • 11 years ago

    CEFreeman is right: "I really think that were some of these people to just (be taught how to) change their presentation from "You don't want ..." to "Have you considered...." the whole point would be moot. "

    biochem101: "No. No one ever gives me any advice. Not contractors. I wish they would!"

    Consider giving them permission ... when discussing the project, ask them "do you see any problems with ___?"

    Marcolo - Exactly.

    My neighborhood contractor asks me what I want to do, then tells me what parts aren't feasible and why. We get along fine.

    I have had tradesmen bluntly tell me that "this way" was going to be a lot easier for them than the way I wanted something ... and we discussed which way the project should go. But they didn't just say, "Lady you don't want ___".

    Aliris ... yes, I am.

    If I want something done a certain way, or with a certain product, unless there is a legal or physical reason it can't be done, or it's technically possible only by throwing huge wads of money at it ... vendors and tradesmen only tell me a couple of times "you don't want that". Their replacement will do what I want.

    However, I'm also decisive, so a contractor isn't spinning his wheels waiting for me to decide on an alternative if something happens to the first-choice material.

    And I pay promptly with checks that don't bounce. :)

  • 11 years ago

    I have a pretty thick skin, but I did my homework, and knew what I wanted, or else knew exactly what kind of questions to ask about the issues that were yet to be resolved. I got a few "you don't want that" comments, and found them rather amusing.

    When auditioning GCs, one told me I didn't want a vent hood in my kitchen. He said ventilation was only necessary if you fried stuff, but one should avoid fried food entirely
    because it is unhealthy. Guess what? I hired someone else....

    My cabinet supplier also made me laugh. All his product comes unfinished, so any finish had to be custom ordered. When I picked a glazed blue, he looked at me aghast and bewildered. "Why do you want blue cabinets? Does anyone have blue cabinets??? He also tried to convince me that it was imperative, sort of decreed by law, that I must have crown molding at the top of my cabinets. My only objection was I had no room for it. I wasn't willing to sacrifice the storage space in 42" uppers and settle for 36"ones, just to have a crown. He insisted my kitchen would be ugly without it. Whatever....

  • 11 years ago

    For example, my knowledgable appliance salesperson told me "you don't want an OTR MW". I dismissed his advice, bought the OTR MW, and regretted it so much that I switched it out for a proper hood a month after installation. Or my cabinet guy told me "you don't want pull-out drawers, get actual drawers instead". I dismissed his opinion, got the pull-out drawers, and regretted it.

    Did you ask "Why"? Did you ask for their reasoning?

    If the salesman had said "You don't want an OTR microwave because ... the vent power isn't strong enough for a kitchen of your size, or because you're tall/short and the microwave will be hard to get to or block your view" ... would you have paused to think about it.

    If the cabinet guy had responded to "Why" with "Do you want to have to open a door or two doors all the way before you can open the drawer a couple of inches to grab the utensil that's right at the front when a pure drawer would be easier to use." How would you have reacted?

  • 11 years ago

    One of the funnier ones I just had was from my Mexican cabinet maker. I told him I wanted the double hinged corner instead of the angled single door and he point blank said "NO. You will hate it. I hate those kind so much. We don't even have those in Mexico". What does that even mean??!

    The one that bugs me though is the older cabinet shop owner does not agree with my color choices. I have a natural color floor and am getting walnut colored cabinets and DH and I both love the Cambria Parys counter with a blanco truffle sink. She has told me multiple times that I can't do the cool colors of the counter and sink with the warms of the floor and cabinets. Supposedly, it will be too jarring and everyone who enters the house will be uncomfortable and not know why. Uh huh. Of course, she then follows it with "it will look horrible, but we will do whatever you want".

    The worst though for me has been family members. Like my stubborn father in law insisting that we should do all pergo because we would hate real wood, or my mother wrinkling her nose at the natural floor with dark cabinets. At least most professionals will hold back a little - family not so much.

  • 11 years ago

    I get that little lady attitude sometimes, and then I go elsewhere. When we first got our pistol permits, one store we went to only addressed DH, even when I asked a question, DH got the answer. Haven't been back since. I also tend to disentangle myself from the you don't want this salespeople, if they don't engage in a level headed dialogue, and head over to the next aisle to whip out my smartphone. Then try so me one else or another store.

    I have definitely picked up a lot here, which makes shopping interesting. The last cabinet place I went thought I was a kitchen designer when I was describing the space and what I wanted to do, which was in the process of getting a quote from her colleague. When I went to look at Advantium ovens in person yesterday, I knew more than the salesperson even though he had the catalogue. But to the point about GW being different, totally agree. I went to look at floor tile for the third or fourth time and ran into someone purchasing the tile I used in the bathroom. I showed her the pics I had, which she loved. Turns out she was there with her GC and assistant picking everything out. They had just been in the next space over buying cabinets, in the process of buying tile and backsplash, and then headed over for counters. They had spent the morning doing a complete demo of her kitchen and were just then making decisions on what to buy. I nearly fell over when I heard that.

  • 11 years ago

    The original "almost-but-not-quite-hired" GC did that to us several times...mostly directed toward me because I was the one doing most of the talking about what we did and didn't want. He seemed to "forget" some of the things that I said we did or didn't want when it didn't quite suit him.

    For example - frameless cabinets. He "forgot" that when he quoted us. Know why he forgot? Because his cabinet maker doesn't do them that way. We were told that we didn't want frameless because they are inferior and cheap. huh. Interesting.

    He "forgot" that we wanted full overlay. As near as I can tell, it was because he was able to quote us lower $$$ and thought that would get him the job.

    The above things were the first two requirements out of my mouth when talking to any one about our kitchen.

    He said that I didn't want several other things as well, which I have now blocked from my mind. I just explained to him that, yes, indeed, after much careful consideration, I DO want things this way.

    In the end, it turned out that the "You don't want..." sentence wound up being completed with "him". ;-)

    And yes, I've heard several times as I've started going into this process that we are a rare breed...most people aren't nearly as involved in picking out things or having opinions on what they would like.

    I don't mind someone telling me reasons that I might want to consider something else. Just please do it in a way that helps me to understand why you are suggesting it rather than making it seem as if you are being condescending.

  • 11 years ago

    My favorite "little lady" story: When I bought my now-five-year old car, I went in and told the salesman that I wanted to test drive a certain model in a straight drive (NC talk for manual transmission). He talked and talked about why I really wanted an automatic transmission . . . Do I ever talk on the phone while I'm driving? Ever eat while I drive? Become distracted by the kids?

    Finally I told him that I have always driven straight drive cars, and I would be buying a straight drive car -- if he wouldn't let me test drive, someone else would be more accomodating.

    He threw his hands up and declared, "Okay, okay, I'll let you drive it. But you'll have to walk to the back lot with me to get the only one we have in stock. I can't drive a straight drive myself."

    What a loser!

    More to the point . . . I personally don't care if someone tells me, "You should consider ____" IF that comes along with an explaination about WHY I might not want it. For example, if you tell me that I don't want a tile countertop because the grout is going to be a pain to clean or because it might be "too much" with my tile floor and tile backsplash, I'll take that into consideration. On the other hand, if you tell me that I don't want a tile countertop because it's sooo out of style and I just don't have any taste -- assuming that I am sold on the idea -- I'm not going to listen.

  • 11 years ago

    Oh, don't get me started. I have long suffered the "little lady" treatment. Cue eye roll. Can't stand it. And like many of you, I research things to death and know more than the salesman and ask questions that leave a GC stumped. But first impressions seem to lead people the wrong way? While I may be toting kids and a stroller and have pretty nails ;-) ... once that crap starts, so does my venom. The worst? Most GCs and repairmen insist they must talk to the husband too (not just me). DH also gets annoyed when people do that. Like he has the time or cares to (I have full blessing to make all the decisions, and like any good partnership I consult him when I think he'll have an opinion). Oh, and how many times salesmen have called me "honey." Grrrr. They learn though. And they don't get my business ;-)

  • 11 years ago

    MrsPete: You drive standard? I am so impressed. I can't. But that car salesman was an idiot. He would have done better to say "You drive standard? I am so impressed! I can't. Yes, let's go for a test drive, but I'm afraid you'll have to drive."

    MrsJoe: "We don't even have those in Mexico?" If I understand that correctly, it is both hilarious and very sad.

    colorfast: The way the world works is not always the way it should work. I give your DH credit for being able to let it wash over him. It must be difficult to be tolerant of such stupidity. I don't know if I could be as wise as he.

  • 11 years ago

    Have I been told "You don't want..." during this reno? No, I haven't. One advantage of DIY!

  • 11 years ago

    Unfortunately this seems to be a common phrase in the building industry. I wanted to have some flooring feathered in where a plywood patch was laid. Once he started and realized it wasn't as easy as he thought it would be (which is why my 8-month-pregnant-at-the-time self didn't do it) he told me that I didn't really want that flooring. I should just cover up my 100+ year old floor with some laminate wood-look floors instead, because refinished fir flooring "would just never look as good" as laminate.

    "You don't want" translates into, "It is faster and cheaper for me if you don't want."

  • 11 years ago

    We just went through the process of hiring a countertop fabricator. We have known from the beginning of the kitchen remodel that we want soapstone. We went to four different fabricators. The first three, after hearing that we had decided on soapstone, spent at least the first 20 minutes telling us that we didn't really want soapstone and are we aware of all the problems with soapstone. Two of the fabricators informed us that we didn't want soapstone because it was so porous. We just sighed, nodded our heads and said, yes even with all it faults, please provide us with a quote.

    The fourth fabricator, after we announced we wanted soapstone and we paused waiting for the obligatory speech, proceeded to gather facts about our kitchen in order to give a quote. Both of us looked at each other wondering when the "speech" would come, but it never did. Afterwards, we asked the fabricator about it and he said that he thinks soapstone would fit our 1914 arts and crafts kitchen nicely and if he had the same kitchen he would also choose soapstone. So of course we are hiring him even though his quote is higher.

  • 11 years ago

    My experience was a bit different. I started with one KD and questioned her measurements and design- not once, twice, but thrice! Fired!!

    By this point, I thought I had it figured out and new KD listened to my ideas and then asked if she could share her ideas and plan that she drew. Guess what- I liked it and she had listened to what I wanted!

    Appliances- pretty much ignored DH and worked with me as I was asking the questions (DH didn't go to every store)

    My funny story was at the light store and mentioned that I was an over thinker on all parts of the kitchen. He politely said - you and 90% of A2! It worked as an ice breaker and we had lots of fun with lights!

    Now- I am slim and fit but not little and my extrovert personality might be more intimidating to the sales and contracters than the average person-LOL.

    I did listen to ideas from GC and others but held firm on other ideas. About 2-3 weeks and all done!

  • 11 years ago

    The words "you can't have upper cabs like that without doing a couple of glass doors!" After me saying "I do no want glass doors" about 3 times KD finally looks at DH and says to him, "Will you tell her she needs to have glass doors?" DH just said "it's her kit, if she doesn't want glass doors I am not going to say she has to have them". We finally left and guess what, within 5 years bought another house and did another kit. She lost both kitchens because of her attitude.

  • 11 years ago

    Oh yes I recognize this as well!
    "You don't want windows there you'll want the extra upper cabinet space. "
    "Those tiles are too dark - it's going to look like a cave."

    In these cases the GC did have the good grace to admit that he was wrong!

    More recently we had a ton of that sort of thing "I don't know why you bought THOSE tiles". (because we like them!).

    "that's going to look like crap" about a variety of things and other unhelpful comments.
    The new one is "that's not a big deal" about things that are a big deal to me.

    We have heard 'you don't want to do that' a couple of times from the electrician, but I trust him so definitely stop and think it through carefully. the source is important. I would listen very carefully to most people, but ultimately the decision is ours.

    For the record I am a very strong personality also and it doesn't stop them doing it to me!

  • 11 years ago

    I was actually excited to see the title of your post. We talk about this *all the time*! In fact, my husband and I have heard this so often it's become a family joke. "Please pass the mashed potatoes" I'll answer with "You don't want potatoes, you want asparagus" :-)
    For us it always seems the reasoning is 1)Going against a trend or 2)It will be harder for the person to do/they have no idea how to do that.

    And I just got this last week when window shopping. Window shopping for ~80 windows - not an insignificant job for the sales person who gets it. Here's how it went:

    "What type of hardware do you want?"
    "Antique Brass"
    "No, you don't want brass"
    "I'm pretty sure I just said I did"
    "No one does Brass. Everyone does Brushed Nickel or ORB"
    "I do brass"
    "Nobody does Brass, you don't want it"

    Eyeroll... so annoying. And my husband gets it too, for us it's not just a girl thing.

  • 11 years ago

    Countertop fabricators.

    Me: "Is it possible to do a positive reveal?" (I hadn't decided, just wanted to know if it was feasible)

    Them: "Oh, you won't like that"

    Me: "Please don't try and tell me what I do or don't like. You don't know me or what I like"

    It never hurts to firmly but politely throw it back at them, so they realise what a daft thing it is to say.

  • 11 years ago

    I told a tile guy that I wanted a 'meandering river' of blue/green pebble tile through the field of white pebble tile in my MB. He looked at me like I was somewhat mentally challenged and I detected a note of condescension as well.

    Found out he's been married and divorced 3 times. Probably his ex-wives got sick of being looked at like that.

    Too funny that his business is called "Creative Tile".

    Also too funny that his business won't be getting our business.

  • 11 years ago

    Yes, I had alot of that kitchen shopping. It seems like cabinet retailers are full of salesperson knows best and customer knows nothing types. Hated that, but was amazed how the tune changed after I replied to their follow up call or email to say that I would be purchasing elsewhere.

    One tile shop (closest to my house) was especially condescending to me when I stopped in their shop on three separate occassions. Oh well, plenty of other places to get my floor tile, counters, and backsplash. On one visit they were complaining how the Chinese manufacturers were going to put them out of business. All I can say is they weren't helping themselves.

  • 11 years ago

    OK, I didn't think it was unusual, I just didn't realize it was quite so universal. This is really eye-opening. If I had retail or service employees, I'd have them read these as a training exercise. Then they could see how important it is to phrase the statement differently.

    While it's annoying when it happens, reading them all in a row like this does make them seem funny.

    deedles: that meandering river of pebble tile sounds lovely

  • 11 years ago

    Family members who think they are professional decorators/electricians/installers/designers are the WORST.

    We just painted our kitchen cabinets white as part of a kitchen facelift. While in the planning stages:
    MIL: "Why WHITE? You don't want white. It gets dirty too easy."
    FIL: "Why would you PAINT... WOOD?! No, you don't want to do that."
    DH: "You don't want undercabinet lighting, it will be too bright in here."
    FIL (again): "You don't want counter stools, they don't even make them counter height anymore. Stools are only for tall bars - bar height." (really?)

    Oh, and on replacing the carpet in our family room with wood flooring, for some reason aallll the men in the family rallied and said, without a doubt, that I don't want that. Well, scuse me, but our three dogs, 1 cat, and DH's work boots swear that yes - I DO want that.

  • 11 years ago

    This is one of my pet peeves. We are interviewing contractors for our kitchen project right now. Some of them look at the plans, listen to what we have to say, and then raise a point or two like, have you thought about x? I am fine with that and happy to have someone point out things based on their experience that I may not have realized.

    Then there are the contractors that say things like, "Induction? You don't want induction. All the best chefs cook with gas." Grrr. These guys have probably never gotten near a cooktop in their lives other than to install one. That doesn't seem to stop them from giving their very definitive advice. Or the guy who said - "you have to do dark wood floors." Me - I don't want dark wood floors. I love how they look but they show too much dust and I know I won't be able to keep them clean. Him - oh, no, that's silly, you have to do dark wood floors, they will look great in your kitchen. Well, guys with an attitude like that will NEVER get my business.

    We have spoken to about six contractors, and with each contractor, I raised the issue of make up air requirements. Each and every one of them dismissed me and said something like "I've done lots of kitchens, never installed make up air, and never had a problem. Crack open a window when you use the hood on high." This makes me crazy. I wish at least one of them would listen to what we have to say and respond - well, I haven't done it before but I'll ask my HVAC guy what he thinks.

  • 11 years ago

    This is more along the lines of potential GC's not listening - and you know if they're not listening now...

    I had a potential new GC in here for my kitchen plan. I am *very clear* about what I want. Spend 45 minutes talking over the plan and giving him my rough drawings, etc. After all that time, his only question to me is this:

    GC: "So, that's one set of drawers?"
    Me: "No."
    GC: "Two?"
    Me: "No. As per the drawing ::taps drawing:: I want 5 drawer bases."
    GC: "Okay, so three."

    WTH? Why am I wasting my time? And why is he wasting his time? Either way, if you aren't listening to me before the first problem comes up, I know you aren't going to be listening to me when we have an issue to resolve.

    Look who's GC-ing her kitchen ::cough::

  • 11 years ago

    I've been told what I do and don't want by all sorts of salespeople for all sorts of reasons. It all depends on THEIR attitude (not so much how they phrase it), and on how they respond to my thanks, but no thanks.

    The KD we worked with through HD - yes, a big box - was wonderful. She kept 'telling me' I might want to consider realigning my kitchen sink. She had such a matter of fact - yet respectful - "but" to all my "no, because"'s I love those type of exchanges. She heard what I was after and worked to help me see the wisdom of her suggestion. Her idea won the day. Other issues we went with our 1st inclination.

    There is nothing worse than being on the receiving end of someone's arrogant "they know best" attitude, no matter how it is dressed up, and no matter their motivation. I get the OP's frustration. But engaging in focused, direct exchange of ideas...that's a different story. When I'm spending a boat-load of $, I appreciate that style of doing business.

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