The following is an excerpt of a post I wanted to share with all of you:
An associate and I founded a start-up, we have our first customer, and we are on the search for more. Our business deals with mining and space industries. For now, we are a fairly rag-tag group of people. My business partner is a bit older and dresses a bit like a punk on the day-to-day, which is totally appropriate because he freelances and is not image-conscious.
Well, we were on our way to a conference to scout out possible competitors, see what's new in the industry and so on. It's my first time at any sort of conference, so I'm not sure what to expect. Upon our arrival to the center, we come across this older guy in a suit. We ask him if we are in the right place, which he affirms.
Then, as we were standing in line to buy a day pass, there was the same gentleman from earlier, and he was giving us a menacing look. I was dressed business-casual (jeans and a nice sweater) while my associate was in a t-shirt, cowboy hat, and a general no-fucks-given appearance. Heh. Which, again, is fine for freelancing. Anyway, the man comes up behind the lady issuing passes and says that my associate is not allowed in, likely due to his appearance.
When it was my turn to interact with the lady issuing the passes, she said that I was not allowed in if my business partner and I were associated. I could have easily lied and said, "No, I am not," but that probably would have backfired if the older guy from earlier saw me wandering around the place later. So, I said "Okay," and moved along. We were shooed out by another guy in a suit, who implied he would call security if we didn't leave.
Reflecting on all this, I am 1) completely astounded at myself for not foreseeing it, 2) completely infuriated by blatant classism, and most importantly 3) trying to figure out a way to get in tomorrow, even if it requires a suit, different pair of glasses, a haircut, and not coming in at the same time as my business partner. The way I figure, if at least one of us can get in, we may be able to find a new customer or two, which could make or break this business venture.