Sexism in AAFES


I’ve thought about this post long and hard because I wasn’t sure what type of attention this may garner. Then again, my blog is so miniscual when you think about how big the world wide web is. So maybe it might not be as bad.

For Father’s day weekend, my husband switched shifts with his co-worker so he could have the whole weekend off. Ok, not that big of a deal because there will still be coverage and, lets face it, the US Air Force Academy Base Exchange is hardly ever busy. They can afford one of their three firearms employees to have the weekend off. Especially when its the day of the year to celebrate him being a FATHER. Anyway, the weekend comes up and he and his friend go up into the mountain to camp for the night. Everything was fine on every end… Or so we thought.

The next day, when he comes down from the mountain, he receives a text from his supervisor concerning the work schedule. They all knew he was off, so he wasn’t in an immediate rush to calling them back, so he waited until he got home and settled down after camping. He was able to speak to his co-worker, who told him that the store manager is demanding that he take leave for his time off because they were “expecting” a larger than normal crowd for the Father’s day weekend deals. Apparently, she wasn’t happy about him taking Father’s day weekend off…. But wait, why was he and his female co-worker able to switch shifts on Mother’s day weekend, and that was totally fine? In fact, he was the only one there because his co-worker and supervisor are mothers. What’s so different about this time compared to previous dates?

If it’s not blantantly obvious, let me point out that this deals with sexism. Usually, when you hear that word being tossed around, we always assume that its a woman dealing with this sort of workplace abuse. Clearly, sexism can happen to men, especially when the workplace is run mostly by women. Granted, a whole store run by women doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, but it is when they berate those below them and refuse to hire qualified men for management positions. At this point, it gives me the impression that the US Air Force Academy Base Exchange is aiming to become a “women’s only” establishment, and the men that work there are treated like dogs.

You may be thinking, “well, why don’t you message the store manager’s boss if things are so horrible?” There have been two incidences where my husband and myself have complained to upper management about the toxicity going on in that Base Exchange. When he initially tried reporting that the hard-lines manager was abusing her position by pulling him off the floor to do monotonous tasks she could easily do herself, human relations didn’t do anything to fix it. In fact, what they did do was forward the e-mail to the store manager who was already aware of the incident, but did NOTHING. She didn’t try to intervene, or at least alleviate the situation. The only person that manage to do something about it, was my husband’s supervisor who ensured that he wasn’t scheduled to work alone on the same days that the hard-lines manager will be working. When everything was all fine and dandy, and no one was wanting to bite each other’s heads off because of this schedule shift. The store manager had the audacity to say that they shouldn’t alter the schedule to “appease” certain people’s request… Yet, she still did nothing or provide any real solution to the problem.

Unlike my husband’s experience with complaining to upper management/human relations, my complaint was taken very well and changes did occur. My complaint only dealt with the fact that the store was reaching closing time and they only had one register open. If that or the growing line of customers didn’t seem so bad, the poor cashier was having problems with the cash register. I saw at least four or five fully-capable employees gather around the front as if to help their co-worker out, only to disband and look like they were busy with other tasks. I knew that there were problems with the new cash registers, but there wasn’t even an explanation on why things were taking so long and there was not help offered to the poor lady. So, I took it upon myself to complain about how the employees don’t even attempt to help each other out.

It didn’t take too long for my complaint to the district manager in becoming a policy of opening another register if there’s a growing line. As if this is a foreign concept to any retail store. However, my husband told me that the managers all speculate that it was due to “some grumpy old man.” EXCUSE ME. Why can’t it be a young, active duty female? It humors me how the management staff low key shows a bit of their sexist tendencies in every way, even through simple comments like that.

Sorry, for the long post. It just blows my mind that some women scream about equality among the genders, yet they feel the need to push down and berate men in this manner. Albeit, this may or may not be the exact attitude of the store manager at the US Air Force Academy Base Exchange, but its no wonder why men aren’t too enthused working under her. Why is it a hard concept of providing equal opportunity to men and women? Why is it so difficult for a man to be able to celebrate Father’s day with his family?


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