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To blame my surname?

(46 Posts)
facepalming Mon 25-Jul-16 11:20:04

I have a very obviously Eastern European surname, although I am English.

I have recently started to send out email enquiries regards various services for our upcoming house renovation but I'm getting a distinct lack of replies. I've contacted all sorts from cleaners, to plumbers to builders etc

Am I being unreasonable to think this might be because of my surname? Or do tradesmen find it harder to pick up emails than phone calls? maybe they are all just overloaded with work?

MrPony Mon 25-Jul-16 11:20:48

I would blame the plumbers rather than your name.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 25-Jul-16 11:22:01

I think tradesmen always respond to calls more than emails. I've never had a good response to emails from people like plumbers, and I have a very English name. In my experience, few are used to manning their inbox, and most are out on jobs.

BerriesandLeaves Mon 25-Jul-16 11:22:59

I found tradesmen ignored emails but not phone calls recently.

Anonymouses Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:06

Tradesmen are notoriously bad at email and not much better at phone. If you are paranoid about it get a yahoo type email that's something like rebecca36748.

facepalming Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:18

Thanks all, good to know!! I'll start making calls instead

Anonymouses Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:37

I would bet it won't make a difference though

acasualobserver Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:41

When I wanted my garden landscaping I found it very hard to find someone who wanted to take my money ... I have a very English surname. However, that proves not very much - I suppose the only way you could find out if you are being discriminated against is by enquiring again using a different name.

WorraLiberty Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:42

Why would they care what your surname is? confused

I agree with others, just pick up the phone.

BalloonSlayer Mon 25-Jul-16 11:24:46

A friend of mine has an unusual Christian name that is hard to pronounce if you haven't encountered it before. She set up in business but had not one call until she changed her name on the website to something "easier" to say. I was really shocked! But then I always am shocked when people can't be bothered to pronounce or spell names properly.

Leggytadpole Mon 25-Jul-16 11:25:06

I've had the same experience recently and I've got a very English surname. It's like they don't want the work!

facepalming Mon 25-Jul-16 11:26:31

It's great to see that businesses like these are nice busy!

I'll try by phone and hopefully have more luck smile

facepalming Mon 25-Jul-16 11:28:00

Balloon slayer yes this was my thinking that perhaps people were nervous to try to pronounce the name or were put off the idea of struggling with an accent, but a reply on email would avoid that

thisisafakename Mon 25-Jul-16 11:32:54

Why would they care what your surname is? confused

Racism, xenophobia, prejudice, whatever? They have done various experiments where someone applies for a job twice, once with an English name, once with an African name. Qualifications are identical. The English sounding name does much better and is consistently shortlisted. There's no point pretending this sort of thing does not happen.

MoonStar07 Mon 25-Jul-16 11:33:28

We've done a huge house renovation and garden job. The best way to find people is by referral and call them. Both out builders and landscapers were referrals. Ups and downs with both but things we were well aware of. And I have a very distinctly international name and surname. PS these are tradespeople who are generally on site from 730am to 430pm. They use their phones and prefer to speak. They don't really get a chance to go on computers

Simmi1 Mon 25-Jul-16 11:33:54

I think it's the email. I'm yet to find a tradesperson good with emails 😆

Bobochic Mon 25-Jul-16 11:36:09

I've been doing renovations and maintenance on two properties this year. Referrals, in person visits and telephone calls are the best way to make initial contact. Email is for follow-up and billing.

SalemSaberhagen Mon 25-Jul-16 11:37:19

Come on worra, you know why it would make a difference to some people. You're feigning ignorance.

WorraLiberty Mon 25-Jul-16 11:37:21

thisisafakename, she's not applying for a job though.

I've had the misfortune to meet many racist people in my time, but none who would turn away work/money.

I admit it's not impossible though. Also, maybe an area dependent thing.

WorraLiberty Mon 25-Jul-16 11:38:13

I'm not 'feigning' anything Salem hmm

NeedACleverNN Mon 25-Jul-16 11:40:10

you could always experiment and try a common surname like Smith or Brown and see if you get a response then.

Most likely, emails can be forgotten about. Phone calls require more action

thisisafakename Mon 25-Jul-16 11:43:06

I've had the misfortune to meet many racist people in my time, but none who would turn away work/money

Oh, I think many would. One thing that springs to mind is that beauty salon that was in the news last year where apparently 'no Muslims are welcome'. I have also read reports of taxi cabs not stopping for black passengers etc. Or in the distant past, boarding houses not taking Irish, Blacks or whatever. I wouldn't be too naive about how deeply some people's racist beliefs go.

SalemSaberhagen Mon 25-Jul-16 11:43:39

So you genuinely cannot see why some people would judge people unfavourably based on a 'foreign' surname? Seriously? You even put in a confused face as if the idea was completely outlandish.

NeedACleverNN Mon 25-Jul-16 11:48:21

A friend of mine has a polish surname despite being born in the uk, lived here all her life and doesn't speak a word of polish.

Her grandad was from Poland and came over here when young.

She was gobsmacked by how many racist comments she received just after brexit was announced. All because of we surname

PastaLaFeasta Mon 25-Jul-16 11:48:22

A lot of the tradesmen, cleaners etc are eastern european where I live, or they will work closely with Eastern Europeans and probably wouldn't have negative views. I recently contacted three local builders for a job and the only response was from a Polish run company and they were pretty good - I just need to get another couple of quotes as they advised, which isn't easy when no one responds. Tradesmen can just be a bit crap at communication - no matter their nationality/background. Plus they can be very busy so don't need your job.

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