The way they’ve always treated women used to be plain discrimination. Now it’s just plain dumb. When will they learn the caveman approach is bad for business?
By Becky Quick, contributor
FORTUNE — When I waited tables as a teenager, I learned one lesson very quickly: Treat every person in a dinner party equally, because you never know who’s picking up the bill — and therefore determining your tip. It’s the most basic of business survival tips, but one that few car salesmen in this country seem to have learned. And if you doubt me on this point, try walking into a car dealership seven months pregnant with your husband and two kids, and see who the salesman approaches first.
As the birth of our third child approached, my husband and I decided we needed a bigger car. It was to be my primary car, and after doing my research, all I wanted to do before plunking down my money was test-drive the Town & Country, the Odyssey, and the Sienna minivans. But getting someone to take $40,000 from you can be tougher than you might think, as I learned at one Chrysler, one Honda, and three Toyota (TM) dealerships. [read]