Never Assume

You know what they say when you assume, right?  When you look or behave in a certain way, people assume things about you.  I was reminded of this gem recently, and it along with today’s events have called to the front why assumptions aren’t bullet-proof.

Ed Card

This still makes me laugh every time I see it. At least this hair style would cover the stupid spider bite on my forehead!

I was in graduate school here.  My bachelor’s degree had already been conferred, so while college degrees do not automatically equal brains, there’s something to be said about graduating from college with honors.   The proliferation of online parchment factories, Writeaway U “institutions,” have allowed some less-worthy scholars to earn big letters to attach to their signatures.  Whatevs.  My point is that assuming something based on appearance alone can lead one down a path of faulty reasoning.  The day this particular photo was taken was the day of a radio contest victory.  I won the opportunity to hang out with and interview Billy Squier at his in-store appearance and signing.  As she approached the signing table, a fangirl asked if I was his tour manager.  I replied that I was not; I was just a graduate student who won a radio contest.  The comeback rocker stopped mid-sentence, turned to look at me and asked, “YOU’RE IN GRADUATE SCHOOL?”  He didn’t yell as the all caps thing may lead you to believe, but his tone of incredulity was 100% real.  I stated that I was studying speech-language pathology at conservative Marquette University, and he just stared blankly at me.  Obviously I still recall the exchange, so it left an impression.  And obviously I didn’t exactly fit right in at Marquette University, but I was a lark, and they liked me OK.  Plus I did well academically, much to the surprise of many a PhD.

Back in the day (see photo above), my friends and I used to go to hair band concerts all the time, and guys made assumptions about us.  We were slutty (we were not), we were dumb (we were not), we would give them rides home (what the huh?).  After a time, Mary Kay and I made it our practice to ask guys if they knew what the Pythagorean Theorem was.  It was random as anything, but we laughed about it because we thought we were pretty cute and clever about this.  If they could provide “A squared plus B squared equals C squared,” we’d continue to chat.  If not, we had a silly conversation and moved on.  No one thinks you’re a cerebral, capable person when your hair looks like mine did, and yes, I may be a little bit responsible for a small tear in the ozone.  Ah, I miss the ’80s.  But I was none of the things people assumed I was.

When it comes to major purchases, my husband and I are a riot to shop with, we are like a comedy team.  When he’s lipping off, I assure sales people that he’s just being sassy, and I’ll shush him.  He’ll shake his head at me as I so richly deserve, and we’ll eventually come to consensus on the best tile or coffee table or French Door fridge model.  Sales people like us and we laugh a lot.  We are nice and we are approachable, and we will probably spend too much money because we suck at money, but don’t assume we’re suckers, people.  Yesterday my husband and I completed our appliance purchase for our new kitchen remodel.  I didn’t want a new dishwasher because the old one works just fine, Tom, and the shelf slider can be repaired in $75 or less, but I acquiesced.

We paid the balance on the fridge, range and (unnecessary) dishwasher with a check from our home equity credit line.  After handing him the check, the salesman provided me an invoice which promptly found its way into my purse.  En route to the bank this morning, I took a peek at said invoice and found a line item for $299 for some extended warranty we neither discussed nor want.  Instantly I go into beast mode, which I sometimes often do when I feel wronged financially.  I don’t have the kind of cashola to blow it off, so I pay attention when it comes to cash.  I call the appliance vendor, and of course, my sales guy was off today.  Mike wasn’t real interested in hearing my tale and referred me to corporate customer service.  Bastard even gave me the wrong number.  OF COURSE corporate customer service doesn’t answer, so I call back the store and lo and behold, our sales guy answers the call.  He insists that the warranty was already on the order, and I say that I am looking at our original invoice and IT WAS NOT.  Again, not shouting, but I do adopt a certain tone when I’m the underdog.  Most people take the extended warranty, so he assumed we did too.

So sales guy says he’ll take it to corporate and make it right.  I declare my disinclination to pay interest for something I neither agreed to purchase nor want.  Hmmm, well, your check is on its way to the corporate office.  Yep.  Don’t care.  Fix it.  He assumed that issuing a refund would be OK.  Yeah.  It’s not enough.  I have little faith that this will be solved to my satisfaction today, but you know what?   I’m making an assumption based on previous experiences.  And by previous experiences I am of course referring to the joy of getting screwed by different suspect salespeople in my life.  I am so looking forward to being wrong.  I really am.

Humanity makes assumptions based on appearance all the time.  One has to look no further than today’s headlines to see living, breathing, and heartbreakingly dying proof of what assuming can do.  It’s so far beyond making an ass of  you and me.  But this is not a post about the tragic nature of current events.  Baseball parents have made assumptions on my little boy’s skillset because he’s a giant kid.  He’s got baseline skills, so it’s kind of OK, but he’s 10, so let’s not expect him to pitch a no-hitter or smack a line drive every time.  Random strangers assume my big kid is a basketball phenom because he’s 5′ 9″ already at age 12; he’s skinny now and lanky and looks the part, but his muscles are wasting away, weakening daily, so no, the NBA is not in his future.  I’m nice, and people assume I’m always nice, but screw me over and I become not so nice.  I’ve been screwed over too many times, and while I’ll remain polite, I do hold a grudge, just ask Wal-Mart (yeah, they’re corporate structure is crushed without my personal contribution to their world domination).  And I can also write a devastating letter to the home office or Better Business Bureau, so you better be prepared, appliance people, and you better not assume I won’t follow up.

Really, this was just an opportunity for me to give legitimacy to revisiting and reposting my amazing ’80s hair.  Victory goes to the smart girl on this one.  Yes, the smart girl.  The one who singlehandedly skyrocketed stock in Aqua Net White hairspray between 1986-1989.  The one who will receive a fair, appropriate outcome from the appliance vendor’s (hopefully not intentional) error of assumption.

13 thoughts on “Never Assume

  1. Grrr … now I’m mad at the appliance place! But, it sounds like you’re just the right person to make it right. In fact, I think I should hire you to help right the wrongs I encounter, since I’m horrible at that sort of thing.

    And, you’re right … I realize I make assumptions all the time and am often wrong because of them. Experience can be a helpful tool when moving forward in life, but it’s easy to fall into stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions. I think cultivating useful information from experience takes a little effort, but falling back on assumptions might be just easier sometimes. Not right, but easier. Well, at least for me … I can’t assume for anyone else, right? 🙂

    Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now there’s a great idea for a second career for me! Gotta get my business cards printed! I’m waiting to see if they’ll do right by us. Since my “assertive conversation,” they have said all the right things, and if they do what they say they will, I will be satisfied. I still wish one person would have admitted that they tried to pull as fast one or simply acknowledged the mistake. Good grief, how often do I make an error, acknowledge and apologize if required, and move on? There’s the honorable thing to do. Unrelated, we watched Fastball this weekend and I thought of you. Have you seen it?


  2. Soooo…..basically….you are a contest winner. Like a real one. Not a fake one like in Toledo. And yes…any excuse for that photo is a win for everyone. XOXO
    PS Do you want me to take care of the appliance people? I know a guy…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have won a few actual contests, as a matter of fact. When I was in college I won an $8K shopping spree! I think my allotment of dumb luck though is used up. Except in Toledo. We owned that place, sister! ❤️💛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All I can say, Wendy, is thank God we didn’t have iPhones back in the eighties, or there would be even more photographic evidence of our questionable fashion tastes! I loved the scene in the 21 Jump Street movie where Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise lay dying, and they confess to each other that all the “ridiculous outfits” they used to wear back in the day were just an attempt to mask their own insecurities!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m beyond thankful I came of age before the Internet. I’m reasonably certain I’d be one of those young people (damn I sound old by saying young in this context) I roll my eyes at now–I believe we call them oversharers. I’m one of the very few 80s survivors who still dreams of a big hair comeback. I could probably go the rest of my lifetime without doubling and tripling up on shoulder pads though. 😊


  4. I didn’t laugh at your hair because I like throw-back pictures. I did laugh reading your post. You have a way with words. I felt like a spider on the wall. Oops! You probably didn’t want to read a sentence mentioning a bug. Pardon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well thank you for saying I have a way with words–every so often I do pull one off. Though I’m not entirely sure I did here, I’ll take the compliment any day. I still keep hoping for the return of the 80s monster hair! 🙂 Although I’m not sure the ozone layer could handle it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Now where was your expert advice back in the 80s?? Not that I ever ran out of hairspray, because that was higher on my “needs” list than was Ramen noodles or Diet Coke!! Ah, the good old days. I want my MTV.

      Liked by 1 person

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