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Don’t you just love being a cliche?

Submitted by on Friday, 15 May 2009 One Comment
The salesman where I bought my Blackberry cost himself a bit of extra commission last week when he included a hot pink cover in the pile of accessories he was pushing on me.

Even Big Guy knew better.

"Take that back. She doesn't like pink," he said.

The salesman immediately entered my Hall of Fame for Ham-Fisted Efforts.

He joined a former roommate's boyfriend who kept patiently explaining the shotgun formation as we watched a bowl game. By the second quarter, I was ready to use a shotgun on him.

And the car dealer I smoked after he made the mistake of ignoring me and haggling with Dad.

And Dell Computers. Er, make that Della.

Yes, the little ladies have to have their own special place on the Dell Web site. A place filled with pictures of woman, all of whom look to be in their late 20s or early 30s and only one of whom can settle for a plain black laptop. She's the one wearing a suit jacket while working at home. I'm feeling really under dressed now.

The splash page - yes, Dell, I know what that is - features links to products, green tips, tech tips and, my favorite, a featured artist. Plus an offer to "protect your investment with a stylish sleeve." Would that be cap, three quarters or dolman?

The tech tips are anything but, offering pointers such as "get organized," "get smarter" and "get moving."

It's better than the original version, though, which included hints on ways a laptop can change your life, from helping you find recipes to helping you track your calorie intake.

The heck of it is, I almost bought a Dell Mini netbook recently, and not because it's cute and small enough to fit in my purse. I was interested because they're cheap and I thought at first the only reason I wanted a laptop was to blog while on vacation.

But then I thought about my 4-year-old desktop - a Dell - and realized I should upgrade in preparation for the inevitable day when my main computer fries.

I edit images and video and wanted more firepower than the Mini - despite what one of the spokesmodels claims, a gig of RAM isn't enough to do the job comfortably. It's not even enough to comfortably run Windows Vista, though the Mini ships with XP - that's one of the few points in Dell's favor.

And the Mini's 40 gig hard drive? That's barely enough to hold all my recipes.

I tried customizing the Mini but couldn't come close to what I needed, even though it does look pretty in pink. So I went for a full-sized laptop and went with another company when Dell couldn't guarantee it could ship that customization in time.

You can't easily get to the full-size laptops from Della. Sorry, girls! You'll have to take what you can get in our little girly tech ghetto.

Except I don't like it in the ghetto. I've fought the cliche for too long - as a sportswriter, as an online editor and as a working mom - to embrace it at this point in life.

Yes, I subscribe to Martha Stewart's daily newsletters. But I receive even more from CNet. I visit Baby Center and Slashdot. Bakespace and the Economic Policy Institute.

Are you getting it now, Dell? I'm not a one-dimensional cliche who's interested in pretty sleeves and featured artists.

I'm a mother, a highly skilled professional and an amateur geek. One who, by the way, makes the tech purchases for the household. And if you think I'm hostile to a pink netbook, you can only imagine the ribbing my husband would get from fellow soldiers.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • Vanilla Cokehead said:

    Well put, Debra. Gotta love when people can’t move past narrow gender stereotypes. Just after I graduated from college 20 years ago, I worked as an office temp and I bristled at some of the gender bias I encountered in the materials some temp agencies used to assess office skills – it was very clear they assumed every office worker was a business suited female.

    It also drove me nuts during middle school when the music teacher assumed that since I was male I HAD to sing bass in choir. The hormonal changes of the tween years came to me a little late and she got peeved with me when I couldn’t sing as low as she expected ALL boys to sing…