For decades the world of cars has been one of the most clichéd in terms of gender stereotyping — a bastion of male competence where women are perceived as helpless, dithering drivers, ripe to be overcharged, oversold, in short – ripped off – by unscrupulous mechanics. As we could see in last night’s episode of ABC’s The Lookout, not much has changed.
To prove the point, ABC sent mechanic Audra Fordin, one of our 1000 Stories participants who owns a car repair shop and founded Women Auto Know, undercover to a local garage.
For the segment, Audra was provided with two identical cars. She made sure everything in them – from air filters to oil levels – was in perfect condition. She intentionally damaged one four-dollar fuse controlling the windshield wipers and sent both cars in for repair at the same garage.
When the men drove in the Goodyear shop in Commack, NY, complaining their wipers weren’t working, their fuse was changed in a matter of minutes and they weren’t even charged for labor. But when two women drove in (one of them Audra) with the same complaint the story took a dramatic turn. Instead of just changing the fuse, the same mechanics tried to take advantage of them, telling them that their car was a hazard and could get impounded.
The women were charged $53.50 for the simple wiper repair, before assessing the cost of the additional services the mechanics offered.
Watch the clip below and let us know what you think.
After ABC’s The Lookout went undercover to Goodyear’s Commack, N.Y. location, the manager issued an apology and corrective actions. Read his response here.