Caroline Vencil, a design coach who regularly posts to TikTok, shared a story about a frustrating phone call she had with an insurance company that many users in the comments section called sexist.
Caroline, who posts under the handle @carolinevencil, says that despite the fact she was the primary insurer (and breadwinner) of her household when she was on the phone with her insurance provider, the agent on the phone wouldn't speak with her.
In fact, they insisted on clearing things with her husband first before discussing any account details with her over the phone, as if she had to get "permission" from her man. While this is common practice when someone is calling and they aren't the main account holder, Caroline says she was. By these same rules, her husband would have to get permission from her to discuss the particulars of their policy.
"If you are the female primary breadwinner of your house, specifically if you are self-employed I need you to watch this cuz I got a question for you. It's also a rant. So I've been the primary breadwinner of my house for the past year and a half. A year and a half. Yes, the entire year and a half. I signed up for some new health insurance because we moved to a new state so I needed to get new health insurance."
"Obviously in filling out all of the paperwork I filled it out as the primary for the house, so it's under my name. My name. My phone number. My income. My everything. So can somebody please explain to me why I got a phone call to my phone from my new health insurance that I'm paying for, me, I'm paying for it, I got a phone call to my phone asking for my husband and they won't speak to me. They want to speak to my husband. Make it make sense."
Caroline clarified in the comments section too that the call wasn't a medical one either and that whoever was on the phone wanted to speak to her husband to discuss information directly pertaining to his own personal medical history. It was a "clerical call."
Caroline was visibly upset in the video, and there were tons of commenters who echoed her frustration and voiced their own patriarchal bureaucratic gripes.
"Just closed a bank acct I’ve had since PRIOR to marriage, bc bank was bought out by pnc who needs my husband’s permission to talk to me. About MY acct"
"Had that happen at a bank. I made the manager write me a check for the balance of our accounts and let him watch me walk across the st to a diff bank"
"Makes me want to fight. Like I’m not a whole person answering the phone. And the contact on the paperwork."
Caroline delineated how she handled the issue in a follow-up TikTok, where she added that his phone number wasn't even listed on the account paperwork.
"Nowhere did I say that he was the primary. Nowhere did I say that he was the primary contact, the person setting up the account, nothing. So they must have literally just seen a man's name and were like, 'he must be the primary,' and put him first."
"So anyway this poor person is like can we talk to your husband...no you cannot, I'm the primary. She puts me on hold to go tall to her supervisor, she comes back and is like, 'can he just get on the phone and tell us that it's OK to talk to you. I told her no, no it's not, I'm the primary."
Caroline then posted a third video in a response to a comment that accused her of practicing a "lack of logic." The TikToker pointed out that tons of other women experienced the same issue.
Urban.org reported that in 2021, "half of all households are now headed by women," so it shouldn't come as a surprise that a woman would be the primary account holder for an insurance plan, right?
Have you ever had to deal with this kind of bureaucratic tomfoolery over the phone?