Sex/Gender?

Fairly infrequently, thank goodness, I come across a person that I find difficult to classify as either male or female. In this day and age, where individuals may get all up in arms if they are referred to by the wrong "pronoun," how do you determine which sex or gender to mark on the report? I have yet to come across a report with an "I can't tell" option, but I think that would be awesome!

My husband and I were discussing this the other day after I had discretely (I hope!) taken a photo of such a person and I asked him to tell me which gender the person was. He guessed the opposite gender than I had, so that was no help for the report. I justified my answer as male by thinking that it might be less offensive for a female to be called a male than it would be for a male to be inadvertently thought to be a female. Is that just my thinking, or do others think the same way? Is it sexist to feel that way? If they are wearing make-up, have earrings, and a softer voice, I would probably go with female, even if they have no breasts, short hair, masculine dress, and a nametag that says Sam. On the other hand, I have seen men with longer hair, earrings, and let's say a "fuller" chest, and had no doubt that they were male. I also look at faces to clue me in and how a person talks, but those aren't always helpful, either. What characteristics do you look for in order to make a determination?

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

Name tags, and so far, I have always been able to tell a male from a female, perhaps Transgender would be difficult, but jobs I do don't have any (so far).

Live consciously....
I did a shop a few years ago where I genuinely couldn't tell the associates gender,so I left that info out of the report not wanting to embarrass him/her if the report was passed along. The editor called me requesting the info and I pleaded ignorance. We decided not to remark on the issue, If pushed for an answer, the editor said to say "unknown". I was paid for the shop and nothing further came from the issue.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2019 11:26PM by bestofbothworlds.
Most of the ones I'm iffy about aren't wearing nametags. Or the nametag doesn't clarify the situation. Sam, Bobby, Chris, etc. could be either a male or female. Fortunately, I've only run across this maybe a dozen times in 11 years. But, I've had three in the last couple of months, so my average is rising fast.

Most of my shops have a Male or Female button to click; leaving it blank is not an option, as the report won't process without an answer. If there is the option of leaving a "private" message for the editor, I explain why I chose the answer I did, but if not, I don't want to embarrass myself (or the employee, if I guessed right), by mentioning it in the body of the report.

I will say, I've never had a report come back to me questioning my choice, so I'm either guessing right or the employee/manager didn't contest the point.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2019 11:38PM by Bec2117.
I have had once when I had to choose a gender and honestly could not tell. I did go to the name tag, but "Sam" wasn't very telling... I marked a choice as required and made a note to the editor.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
One shop I wasn't sure but based on mannerisms and shoes I decided employee was male. I was so surprised the business card was for Nancy that I blurted out " You are not Nancy!" " I hear that a lot". Feeling that I had insulted her I spun a story how she reminded me of someone named 'Nadine' and I was expecting that name on the card.

Recently I knew I would be asked for 'Race' on a report and was worried what if associate was bi-racial.
I have been running into issues when it comes to "race". Many employees in this area (who are not Caucasian, Asian, or African-American) are of Indian heritage, and the next biggest group seems to be of Middle-Eastern heritage. I know that people from India do not consider themselves to be Asian, and they certainly do not look like they are from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc. So, I have been selecting "Other". Today I had a teller who had what I know to be a Thai name but looked African-American. I went with appearance. Last week, a CSR told me that she grew up in Oklahoma and had Cherokee heritage. So, I selected "Other". Would she have been offended to be designated Caucasian? At the moment, I would be happy with two new choices: Middle-Eastern and Indian (which I would use to include people from Pakistan even though I know that is wrong). At least most MSCs now include an "Other" button choice for race.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@myst4au wrote:

I have been running into issues when it comes to "race". Many employees in this area (who are not Caucasian, Asian, or African-American) are of Indian heritage, and the next biggest group seems to be of Middle-Eastern heritage. I know that people from India do not consider themselves to be Asian, and they certainly do not look like they are from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc. So, I have been selecting "Other". Today I had a teller who had what I know to be a Thai name but looked African-American. I went with appearance. Last week, a CSR told me that she grew up in Oklahoma and had Cherokee heritage. So, I selected "Other". Would she have been offended to be designated Caucasian? At the moment, I would be happy with two new choices: Middle-Eastern and Indian (which I would use to include people from Pakistan even though I know that is wrong). At least most MSCs now include an "Other" button choice for race.

The 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census Bureau definition of the Asian race is: "people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent (for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam)"

I think that you are safe choosing Asian for people from India or Pakistan.
I have a lot of Indian students at my school. They consider themselves to be Asian.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I think there has been a radical change in this country to the perception of the race of people in India. India is now considered Asian but I am pretty sure that years ago when I was young they were not considered Asian. I remember thinking people from India were mostly Caucasian. However I think at that time "Asian" was also the FAR east and India is not that far.
I struggle with these questions, especially on the hamburger shop reports where no one wears name tags. Living in one of the top LGBT friendly cities, answering the sex question is more than occasionally challenging. I wish the companies would catch up with the times. The race question I always choose "other" unless I can reasonably make an educated guess. Many of the younger people I work with are proud of being bi or tri-racial and do not pigeonhole themselves into one category.
@wwin wrote:

Living in one of the top LGBT friendly cities, answering the sex question is more than occasionally challenging.

Really? I haven't seen the acronym LGBT in well over a year.

It was LGBTQ until last week for me, when Beyonce taught me that it was now LGBTQI.

I have 2 college students, so I am educated on this on what feels like a daily, if not hourly, basis.
You're right SoCalMama that's an outdated acronym. Maybe GSM would have been better but then some people think that is too inclusive. The college student in our house doesn't communicate with us unless it's a request for gas $ etc. It's nice to hear yours have actual conversations with you.
When I know the sub-region of origin I tend to use, e.g., South Asian, of SE Asian. The MSC whose clients want the most specific race/ethnicity information let the shoppers write in their answers, instead of using a list. So, we say things like, "possibly Middle Eastern, " or "ethnicity uncertain, medium brown skin tone, foreign accent." WE MUST get detailed descriptions because these are cash integrity shops and it is essential that the wrong associate not be suspected. (After all, the really bad actors may be wearing someone else's name tag, just because they know that MSers will be around.)

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
At a blood draw shop, the phlebotomist was named "Fred" or a similarly completely unfeminine name and was a woman. The editor asked about it, and I confirmed that Fred was female.
This question was asked awhile back and someone had what I thought was a great comment.
If you're unsure and there are two choices, choose male. The reasoning was that a female whose appearance was masculine was likely appearing that way by choice and was not likely to be offended, but a male who had an appearance more typically associated with females might not have made that choice. Not had a complaint yet since following that guideline.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
@Bec2117 wrote:

Most of the ones I'm iffy about aren't wearing nametags. Or the nametag doesn't clarify the situation. Sam, Bobby, Chris, etc. could be either a male or female. Fortunately, I've only run across this maybe a dozen times in 11 years. But, I've had three in the last couple of months, so my average is rising fast.

Most of my shops have a Male or Female button to click; leaving it blank is not an option, as the report won't process without an answer. If there is the option of leaving a "private" message for the editor, I explain why I chose the answer I did, but if not, I don't want to embarrass myself (or the employee, if I guessed right), by mentioning it in the body of the report.

I will say, I've never had a report come back to me questioning my choice, so I'm either guessing right or the employee/manager didn't contest the point.

We can only hope (yeah, sure) that the clients, or whoever writes the surveys, will add a "UNSURE" button.
I did a shop where I did the phone call before the shop. I had "Pat" as a female in the call part. When I showed up.....Pat was male....same voice....
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

Name tags, and so far, I have always been able to tell a male from a female, perhaps Transgender would be difficult, but jobs I do don't have any (so far).

The first time this happened to me, the name tag definitely did not help. They had a strange, sexless name. The report also said that they would see my description. I had to toss a coin and I guess I was correct, because I never heard from an editor.
@IvyJsoHappytostay wrote:

I did a shop where I did the phone call before the shop. I had "Pat" as a female in the call part. When I showed up.....Pat was male....same voice....

I did a shop today where the pre shop phone call was answered by Ivan. When I got there the cashier was definitely a male with a name tag that said NAN or so I thought. He was nice and friendly so I out right asked him if his name was Nan. He looked down at his tag and said he had lost his so his boss gave him someone else's and they had just whited out the old name and wrote in his name in ink.. So the person who wrote it put the I in Ivan right next to the V and the line for the I was connected to a V with a straight side to it. so it looked like it said NAN. He was good about the conversation. He found it funny in fact.
Brilliant!

I look for an Adam's apple and the masculine "V" shape that women don't have.

Men and women differ on a cellular level. That can't be changed with a paint job.

@French Farmer wrote:

I ask about tampons.

I get either a knowing look or embarrassed silence.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I was standing next to this woman. She had on a flowery dress, a hat, high heel shoes and a pink purse. I said, "Excuse ma'am, I was wondering....." and she shot me the dirtiest LOOK ever and said, "I'm NOT a woman! I am a MAN!" I turned every shade of pink there was and mumbled I was sorry and walked away...confuzzled...tongue sticking out smiley
This hasn't happened to me but I agree that a third option would be useful, particularly as I have come across people who identify as neither gender.
Introduce yourself with your pronouns! That way you can learn theirs.
"Hi! I'm Boscam, I use she/her."
They will tell you their name and their pronouns.
If they've never heard of the idea of telling someone what pronouns you use they won't include that part and that tells you something as well- i.e. they probably identify as male or female.
It can be scary to start doing this kind of thing I know, but I've found that not a single person has been offended when I do this. I try to include my pronouns when I introduce myself no matter the context. And many people are grateful that you are creating space for them to be seen and heard.
Plus, misgendering people sucks. I never, ever, ever want to do that a person.
Edit: I actually don't always do this when shopping as it can make me memorable depending on where I am.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2019 08:35PM by boscam.
And yes men and women have some biological differences. However, there are people who are born outside those categories. And lots of men and women have face shapes that don't match their gender, or differing body types.
But beyond that, I think our job as mystery shoppers is not to bring any political or social baggage that focuses on what's in people's pants (or skirts! or utili-kilts!). We are there to give honest assessments of how the interaction went as an average customer. Most people don't look obsessively for adam's apples, they just look at how the person presents to the world- that's what I think I should report on. Plus, if the employee sees a report and the purpose is to help them in their job, why make them feel bad about themselves?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2019 03:05PM by boscam.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login