Monthly Archives: November 2009

Why yes, my name *is* Kim and I’m a guy. Thank you for assuming

I have just had reason to send the following to Woolworth’s complaint inbox:

I have been a customer many times at the Mount Edgecombe Woolworths Food store, as it is conveniently close and normally well stocked. However, I have just been extremely insulted at the till point by the cashier, and I find myself quite angry about it. When I gave the cashier my credit card, he looked at the name on it and asked me if it was my wife's card. My name is Kim, which I'll agree is more commonly a woman's name, but it has served me just fine as a man's name all my life. I was very insulted that he would make presumptions about my name being unsuitable for a man. I told him in no uncertain terms that it certainly wasn't and frankly I was insulted by the question.

I then spoke to a supervisor after paying (the manager was apparently in a meeting) to tell her how annoyed I was, and she apologised. She also however told me that "they need to check signatures and so forth". As the cashier hadn't yet asked for my signature or even swiped the card, this explanation is garbage. The cashier quite simply looked at my name and assumed it couldn't be my card because it wasn't a masculine enough name, which is very rude.

I understand that Woolworths is perfectly within its rights to ask for ID when paying with a card - but then ask me for ID, don't just make assumptions about my name. That kind of behaviour is just plain disrespectful to a customer. If I had been a woman, and the cashier had asked me it was my husbands card I could quite easily be complaining of sexism - and as it is the behaviour was no less insulting.

Consider me decidedly unimpressed. It happens fairly often that people assume I’m a she, but normally over the phone or before they meet me – and not normally from a business perspective. Very unprofessional, and extremely irritating.

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Setting permanent environment variables on Windows via command line

Some of our internal tools at work require a number of environment variables to be set to a variety of different options, depending on the project. This can be done with set, but that only changes the value for the life of the command shell you run set in. If stand-alone apps require those environment variables, they need to be set for the system. I used to be resigned to doing this by going to the System settings (via Control Panel or a right-click on My Computer and selecting Properties), selecting Advanced Options and clicking the Environment Variables button. The variables can then either be edited one by one in a tedious multi-dialog process, or new ones added in an equally tedious process. This is especially irritating if, like me, you would prefer to use the keyboard for most tasks.

But now the drudgery has been lifted – I have found setenv.exe! This terrific little tool allows user and system env variables to be set at the command line – so setting or altering the variables now becomes a sequence of commands like

setenv.exe -m NAME VALUE

I have no idea who wrote this tool, but whoever you are, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

EDIT: I know who wrote it now – many thanks to Vincent Fatica.

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