We've all been there. Strolling through a store, minding your own business, when some stranger pulls you aside to ask you where to find the dish soap. You look down and happen to notice that you're wearing the exact same colored shirt as all of this particular establishment's employees. Most often, we simply act embarrassed and give a quick "Oh, sorry, I don't actually work here," but sometimes these things don't play out so simply. Sometimes people end up in awkward situations that end up getting far more complicated than any trip to the store should ever be. Read on for stories of the people who just wanted a quick in and out shopping experience, and ended up getting a lot more than they bargained for.
1. Every Office Needs An Otis
A while back I was working in an office that allowed dogs. It was an open floor plan and since customers never came into the office, we kept the dog food and water bowls right by the front door, just because it was the most convenient space and no one else would see them but us who worked there. Of the six of us who worked in the main office area, I was the only one who didn’t have a dog and I always felt horribly left out.
To make matters worse, across the way was a doggie daycare. One day, a very frantic woman came in and she had an absolutely massive Basset Hound with her. Usually, the only people who came into the office were associates who had appointments with someone working there, but it was rare they brought their dogs. She ran up to me and said, “Do you work here?”
I said, “Yes, how can I help you?” And she said, “I wasn’t sure if you took walk ins but I read online I could just drop him off? I tried to call but no answer.” I didn’t know what she was talking about at that point and I said, “Come again? Who did you call exactly?” Thinking if I could just saddle her off to whoever she came to see, I wouldn’t have to decipher her problem.
She said, “Well it doesn’t matter now. Look, something urgent has come up and I really need to leave him here. Here’s his food he likes and I’ll be back in a few hours and—" At this point I wasn’t thinking of the doggie daycare. I thought maybe she was a friend of someone here. I said, “Well alright, can I get your name please?” And she said her name and then asked if I needed her to sign anything.
I was so confused at this point I just said, “Why would I need you to sign something?” And she left almost immediately. So I took Otis (the dog) to the back and showed him to my coworkers and no one knew the woman or dog. I was worried she wouldn’t come back, but at the same time, my wish for an office dog had been granted! And Otis was supremely chill.
All he did all day was lie around and drool onto his own ears. I just freshened him up every now and then, took him out every couple hours, and he was happy as a clam on a big cushy dog bed we thankfully had an extra of. He just loved attention from anywhere he could get it. At the end of the day the woman, thank God, came back. She said, “Thanks, you’re a lifesaver. How was he?”
I said, “He was a champ.” And was about to say “But why is he here” when she said, “That’s a relief. Most kennels say he gets anxious around other dogs. I heard you operated at a much higher capacity, I was thrilled to see you had so few clients in the room at one time. So, how much do I owe?” It honestly took me this long to realize what had happened.
She thought we were the dog daycare. Now, I probably should’ve corrected her. But I loved my day with the office dog and I did want to get paid for supervising this strange dog all day. I just threw out the number that sounded fair and appropriate “That’ll be $20.” I said. She replied “Reaalllly?!” In this very high tone, and I couldn’t tell if I’d overshot or undershot.
But she paid me and left. My coworkers were laughing hysterically when they realized what had happened and we thought it would just be a good story for the future. Wrong. The next week...she came back! She said we were so much more affordable and less overcrowded than her other place, and that she was happy to use us. I was glad for the company so just took him.
I didn’t think there was any way she couldn’t have at least some idea we weren’t a dog daycare. The whole ordeal was so strange I just figured, “don’t question a good thing.” I was much younger and dumber then. Not long after, Otis started getting dropped off two, sometimes even three or four days a week. I was in heaven. He was such a love. And he made fast friends with the delivery guys and visitors.
One day, we took our office Christmas card photo and Otis was over that day, so we included him. In a Santa hat. It was pretty great. But it turns out Otis’ owner was friends with one of our clients who I guess happened to have the card out on her table or was kind enough to display it alongside her other holiday cards. Because one day, Otis’ owner came in holding the card and walked up to me and said, “I can’t even believe I’m asking this but... is that my dog in this photo? This isn’t a dog daycare at all. This is just an office, isn’t it.” I froze in my tracks.
She said it with a note of surprise, as though she was looking around and putting it all together for the first time. No coincidence that this was the first time she wasn’t in some crazy rush either. She was like, “Then who are all these other dogs?!” And I explained. I was terrified she was going to demand her money back, or worse, take some sort of action against us for misrepresenting ourselves as a dog care business, or complain to corporate.
Instead, she basically said, “Why didn’t you ever say anything!” And I explained we just really liked having Otis around. She stopped for a minute and seemed to be thinking and said, “Is that right?” And I said yes and told the story of how I was the only one in the office without a dog so loved the company. She seemed a little flummoxed or hesitant, understandably, because the whole thing was so weird.
She turned to my coworker and asked if I was telling the whole truth. I don’t know why she thought my coworker, also a stranger to her, was any more trustworthy than me, but hey. Strange times. Coworker backed me up. So she said, “Well, I wish you’d said something sooner. Could’ve saved me a lot of embarrassment with my friend back there. Alright, I have to get going. See you at 4:00.” And she left Otis!
I couldn’t believe it! I said, “So he can stay?!” And she replied, “Where else could I find someone to watch him one on one all day for $20?” And off she went. Otis stayed my office dog until his family moved away, luckily right around the same time I took a new job.
2. I Like Typewriters
I was at a local thrift store looking at old typewriters with my sister. They were very very cheap and she's a writer, so I was buying her one. There was a fellow there who heard me ask out loud a question about how it works. He was a nice old guy who came over and showed me the inner workings of the unit for a solid 50-60 minutes.
He was very passionate about typewriters and had expert-level knowledge. After an hour of him showing me everything you could imagine with a typewriter and how they work, I asked a question about price. He responds with "Well, I don't know that because I don't work here. I just like typewriters."
3. The Chicken God
This has happened to me more than once. When I was a paramedic, I had just finished my shift and popped into the grocery store to grab something quick for dinner-breakfast. Apparently, an older woman’s eyesight was off that day because she thought I worked there. Grocery store employees don’t dress at all like a Paramedic, but whatever.
I helped her load a few frozen chickens into her shopping cart. She thanks me profusely and wanted to get my name so she could tell my manager what a great grocery store employee I am. So I gave her the name and number of my supervisor. Next Monday, my supervisor calls me into his office, and asked me to explain this voicemail:
“Hello, my name is Old Woman, I just wanted to say that you have one of the finest employees in the entire grocery store. He helped me load all the chickens I needed for my pot luck into my cart immediately and without hesitation, and he was so kind and generous with his time and blah blah blah.” His voicemail actually cut her off, the message was so long, so she called back and left a second voicemail just to finish her praise.
My supervisor just stared at me. I stared back. We never spoke of it again. I think he was of the opinion that I was moonlighting as some sort of grocery store chicken-loading Demigod.
4. My Manager Is At The Bar
I used to work in a bar that was about a five-minute walk from Tesco (a grocery store). Every Saturday afternoon the bar would hit a lull between four and five, so I'd get sent to Tesco to pick up fruit, mint, and juice for the night. And seemingly every Saturday, some customer in Tesco would come up to me as mistake me for the staff there. My work uniform didn't even look similar to the Tesco uniform, I never understood it.
The best case of mistaking me for somebody who worked in Tesco was this: a woman came up to me, while I had my hands full of cartons of juice. She started complaining about crappy service and unhelpful staff. I tried telling her that I didn't work there but she kept cutting me off. Eventually, she demanded to speak to my manager. I responded with "Oh you'll have to go to the bar around the corner to speak to the manager, that's where she is."
The woman looked shocked for a second. I couldn't believe what she said next: "Oh, well that explains why this place is run like a poor excuse for a circus. Your manager is off in a bar, drinking on the job! I should have guessed it." To which I responded "No, I work in that bar and was sent here for stock. If you want to speak to my manager, you can go to my workplace and talk to her."
She realized immediately the mistake she had made and became much nicer and very apologetic to me.
5. Maybe She Just Looks The Part
Being mistaken for staff at stores also happens to me often! Luckily, not a single one of the people asking me for help has been rude. I feel like you handled it way better than I would have, good on you. I have no idea what it is, though, maybe something about me just looks retail, but it has happened on multiple occasions, including, but not limited to, the following: while looking at my cell phone, carrying my purse, and wearing a winter coat over my clothes; while wearing a polka dot sundress; while pushing a cart wearing my dress clothes.
I mention these specifically because I feel like I should, in no way, have been mistaken for an employee in these instances. Every time, I was in a store that I knew pretty well so I just answered their questions and moved on. Maybe they didn't think I worked there at all, maybe I just have a face that says, "I am a polite citizen who familiarizes myself with the layouts of all neighborhood supermarkets, I will be happy to assist you."
6. Detention For You!
I've been mistaken as a student at every school I've visited as an education major. I even got written up by a hall monitor for being out of class without permission and sent to the principal's office.
7. A Fan Of The Virgin Uniform
When I was a teenager I worked in Virgin Records (renamed to Virgin Megastores in the UK now). I had finished my shift and I'd had a pretty bad day, so I was browsing to buy a couple of CDs to cheer myself up. A customer walked up to me and started asking questions. I'd dealt with customers all day, so I breezily replied: "Sorry, I don't work here."
That's when the customer responded: "But you're wearing a Virgin uniform." There was a super awkward pause during which I could easily have said I'm off duty and about to leave and recovered, but in a panic said "I just like to wear it" and walked out of the store. You know those moments when years later you recall an awkward encounter and just shudder?
That's the moment my brain always resorts to.
8. Helping Make Dreams Come True
Many years ago I worked as a Day Custodian at Disneyland, and it was a red-shirt day (which is/was the unofficial gay day at the park). There was this poor guy there with his two little girls, and he had on a white, short-sleeve button-up shirt, and very light-colored shorts, making him look like one of the day custodial staff.
Day Custodians wear white so that they'll be very visible in case any guest has questions. Well, this guy was getting stopped and questioned left and right. I was working the Main Street that day, and I must have seen him get stopped ten or 12 times in one pass up the street. I felt so bad for the guy that I took him to the Main St. Disney store and used my guest-help card to get him a new shirt, so he wouldn't get hassled.
He bought a red Mickey shirt... I don't think he realized what the shirts meant on that particular day, but he seemed very happy with his purchase, so I just smiled and told him to enjoy his day.
9. Close Enough
A few years ago, I worked at a PetCo that was right next to a Best Buy. We had the same blue shirt and khakis, just with different logos. I went over to pick up a game right after work and got sucked into a chat with a guy about picking out a laptop. After 10 minutes of going through the pros/cons of various brands, he decides he'd like to get one.
I was just like, "Cool, well good luck with that."
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10. Automated Groban Response
My ex-girlfriend worked in sales, and she worked all the time, so for a while there her brain was just wired for it. We were in a store on Sunset Blvd. and she's got her head buried in the racks of clothes not really paying attention to anything. Next thing you know, Josh Groban walks in, but she doesn't notice because she's too busy rooting around.
Eventually, they're standing pretty close together when she finally looks up and they make eye contact. She's so surprised to see Josh Groban that her brain immediately kicks into instinctual mode and she asks him, "Hi, can I help you with anything?" "Oh, no thanks, I'm just looking," Josh Groban tells her. Immediately, she realizes what she's done and then tries to correct it by freezing completely still for what seems like forever and then telling him, "I'm sorry, I don't actually work here."
He says "okay." It was one of the most amazing, awkward exchanges I've ever witnessed.
11. Hi Neighbor
When I was done working and had gotten back to my apartment, still in my mailman clothes, I was stopped by a woman asking me whether or not I had her package. I had to explain to her that I wasn't at work and that I had been her neighbor for the past two years.
12. Feeling Important At The Gym
I actually had this happen to me at the gym. I still don't get it. I'm visibly overweight and I had been lifting for only three months, topping at a 150lb squat. I'm not visibly muscular in the slightest. Well, at least I did feel important for five minutes.
13. Orange You Glad You Wore Orange Today
Made the mistake of wearing an orange t-shirt to Home Depot. I was approached four or five times walking back to the lumber section. The funny thing is the expression of confusion and denial on people's faces. I would say "Oh, I don't work here, just wore the wrong shirt today," and they would stare at me perplexed, wondering if I was messing with them.
14. There’s Always A Lesson
I was on my break and decided to walk down the mall to The Bon (Macy's now). I was wandering around seeing what the sales were when I was approached by one of those high and mighty, rich witches. She asked where something was, and I told her I did not work there. She got all huffy and stormed away. I went about my browsing.
A few minutes later here she comes again, this time with an actual store employee in tow saying, "That's her. That's the one that won't help me." The employee, actually a department manager, asked me why I was out of my department, and that I knew better that to not help a customer while approached. She then asked what department I was from. Finally, a chance to speak!
I replied, "I sell shoes a..," where I was promptly interrupted, and give another tongue lashing, all the while rich witch is sitting there with a smirk on her face. The manager told me to get to the office and wait for her. I turned on my heel and walked away towards the exit doors instead. She catches up to me and loudly demands to know if I wanted to be fired, or if I was going to get to the office.
I responded, "I am going to my office." She said there were no offices in that direction and demanded I turn in my name tag and gather my things. I took my name badge off, handed it to while saying, "I don't think my district manager is going to like you firing his top-selling store manager from Kinney Shoes."
She looked down at the name badge, and back up to me white as a sheet. Manager hands my badge back, mumbled an apology, and scurried away with her embarrassment and rich witch. There is a lesson in this. Take your name badge off when you are on break, and go to other stores.
15. Smart Enough For Petsmart
A couple of weeks ago I was at my local Petsmart chatting with the one guy there who really knows his stuff (I have a good deal of experience with aquariums but I like to run my ideas by other people before I try them out). We are talking, but a customer comes up so he breaks off to assist them. As I am standing there looking at the fish an old woman walks up to me and asks about what kind of bowl and food she should get for the goldfish her grandson brought home from the fair.
I start to tell her I don't work there but as I glance around the guy I was talking to and the other employee were still busy. So it went kinda like this: "Oh...uh...I don't really... You know, the thing is, goldfish actually need a fairly large aquarium, so you should either get at least a 30 gallon set up with this filter and such, or if you don't want to invest that much, I'm sure the store would be more than happy to take it off your hands. And if you'd like a more manageable fish, I would recommend a betta. Now here are some good setups for them...yadda yadda yadda..."
I finish helping the old woman, and immediately another customer (at this point I notice there is a mini rush as it is around five-ish and people are stopping by after work) comes up to me and asks a question about what fish would work well in her son's guppy tank. At this point I'm pretty much committed and I decide to help her too.
Eventually, after about 25 minutes and several more customers, the crowd thins out and I go back to my conversation with the employee. I ended up helping Petsmart sell several fish and one aquarium that day.
16. Turkish Bazaar Discount
I was in the grand bazaar in Istanbul...technically, a very busy store. I asked the shop owner something, and he just said, "give me a plastic bag," which I did (I understand Turkish). Then I helped him for a couple of minutes, putting things in bags. I was just trying to help, since he was really stressed out. It was only after about ten minutes that he realized I wasn't one of his employees. He apologized so many times, and then he gave me a discount.
17. Dr. PC
I'm a bit of a computer whisperer, think, Dr. House, but with dells instead of dudes. I'm getting rung up at the clothing store one day when the clerk starts button-mashing. I ask him what's up and he said the thing was being difficult. I take a quick look at the box and notice the Ethernet cable is unplugged and someone tripped over it, pulling it away from the cluster it was plugged into.
I climb underneath the table and am in the process of threading it back up to the box when a manager comes over and says “oh thank god you're here, one of the computers in the back won't start up.” Once I get rung up I drop my bag in the car and head to the manager's office, fix that PC, field a couple more questions on my way out from various employees, and as I'm going to leave, a guy goes “Hey can we get your card, corporate IT never responds to our emails.”
I say “I'm not corporate IT” and the look on the guy's face was priceless.
18. Nothing Is Cheaper Than Walmart
One time my best friend and I were in Walmart digging in the $5 movie bin. We're standing there looking through all these crappy movies hoping to find a gem when this random lady walks up and asks if we work there. I say, "No ma'am, I'm sorry we don't." And we continue digging through the bin. Well, that wasn't good enough for this lady.
She stands there and asks us something about finding volleyball equipment. I forget exactly what she was looking for specifically. I ask if she looked through the sporting goods, which she was standing right in front of, and she says, "Well yes, of course, but I didn't see it. I thought you all would know where it would be."
At this point my friend and I are both a little frustrated with the situation. So I tell her that we have no idea where else the volleyball equipment would be at in this store. I ask her if she had gone to this Sporting Goods store. This is when everything went completely haywire. She raises her voice and starts yelling about how she wasn't going to spend that much money and ranting and raving about the cost difference and this and that.
My friend and I just looked at each other and walked away.
19. Touring Normandy
I was in Normandy, France at one of the Landing beaches, and some American tourists thought I was a tour guide. Me being the kind of person I am, went along with it and started teaching them about the beaches' history. And telling them good places to visit, I had only been there for an hour, but I did know the history rather well.
I continued talking them through the landing and taking questions, then the tour guide turned up. I just laughed and walked away, they thanked me in a confused manner. I don't think it dawned on them at that precise moment that I was a random man and not a tour guide.
20. Your Own Fault No Matter What
I was at the PX trying to pick out a rotisserie chicken for dinner when a guy came up to me and began asking where a couple of items were located in the store. Knowing that new people were always incoming, I told him what aisle some of the items were in, but then said I was sorry for not knowing where one or two of them were located.
He then got mad at me and said I should know the layout of where I work, and he was about to walk away angrily when I stopped him. I let him know that the people who work at the store where a certain uniform, and as I wasn't wearing one, I obviously didn't work there. He still seemed mad, and said "Well, if you didn't look like a stock clerk, you wouldn't have had to deal with me asking you questions!" and then he walked off.
21. The Uniform Says It All
Finally! A place to share my stories. When I was younger, around 14, I used to go shopping with my mother, as I'm sure lots of people do. She told me to wait outside a store while she quickly went in and I coincidentally was wearing a similar outfit to the store clerks (blue top, grey pants/jeans). An older woman walked toward me and practically yelled out that she had gone online, and found a product that she wanted, and demanded that I take her to it.
I politely said that I didn't work there, and that was the end of it, right? Wrong. She claimed that I "had to work there!" I was "wearing the uniform." I tried to argue otherwise but she just insisted that I work there and that she'll tell "my manager." Eventually, my mum returned and we both left, but I still fill with rage at the thought of this woman.
22. The Blind Leading The Blind
My brother was at Best Buy, and was mistaken for an employee because he was wearing a blue shirt. The first time someone asked him where something was, he politely told them he didn't work there but he did tell them where the product was. The SECOND time this happened, he thought he'd have some fun and pretty much had this guy following him all around the store looking for something my brother had no clue where it was.
The guy eventually asked "Do you even work here?" my brother simply replied, "Nope." The guy stormed out of the store so fast, my brother just went back to what he was doing.
23. Fun At The Zoo
A little backstory first: When I was about 11 years old I went with my family to the Philadelphia Zoo. It was about 80 degrees out and little me decided to wear a hoodie for some reason. Of course, I get too hot and need to take it off, but I forgot to wear a shirt underneath. So my parents bought me a shirt that said "Philadelphia Zoo" on it.
So my family and I are walking around the gift shop right before we are about to leave. Little me is checking out some sweet stuffed animals when a middle-aged woman comes up to me and taps me on the shoulder. "Excuse me," she says "where can I find sunscreen?" I was kind of confused when she asked me, but I was happy to help since she asked politely.
I quickly looked around and saw some non-souvenirs behind the counter "Uhhh, I'm, um, guessing you can find it at the counter over there." I said. Then this woman gave me a look like she wasn't sure if I was intelligent or not. "So you're just guessing?" She says. The way she said it made me realize something was off, but I didn't make the connection.
Remember, I am 11 gosh-darn years old. "Yeeaah, I mean, there are batteries and stuff back there so there should be sunscreen." Then she gave me a quick smile and said: "Ok, thank you for your help!" I didn't have a clue what had happened until I told my dad what happened as we were leaving. He started laughing and pointed out I was wearing the Philadelphia Zoo shirt and this woman thought I had worked there.
24. Taking The Chance To Talk About Star Wars
I was browsing movies at HMV when a lady came up to me and asked if I had Star Wars on Blu-ray. I was like, "Yeah, of course, they're my favorites" then she asks where they are...I replied, "Umm, at my house." That's when I realized she thought I worked there and wasn't just wanting to talk about Star Wars.
25. Confusing The Stereotype
At a coffee shop I used to camp at, they kept the keys to the bathroom right near the bathroom door. People would sometimes miss them, try the door, and think the bathroom was occupied. When I noticed that happen I would try to get their attention and point them to the keys. One time a woman tries the door and I can't catch her eye until she's walked back across the shop; at that point, I do catch her eye and point to the bathroom, point to the key, and make a key-turning motion.
This had worked in the past with other patrons, but this woman looks at me furiously. I don't know why, so I repeat the process. She yells, "I don't work here." At which point I realize that she thinks that I'm telling her to go clean the bathroom.
26. Best Buys Best Employee
I spent fifteen minutes helping an old couple pick out a laptop in Best Buy one time. I'm walking through the store to grab a cable we needed at work for a quick repair and this man and his wife are huddled together like Hansel and Gretel and the lady asks me "Can you please help us?" I asked them some questions about their usage and steered them toward an appropriate machine.
We discussed general maintenance and best practices. I advised them on free software to remove the preinstalled bloatware and perform antivirus duties. Once they had a grasp on it and had taken notes, I excused myself and went to get the cable. After I make my purchase and I'm heading out, I see the old couple talking to the manager and they crow "There he is!"
I hadn't even realized I was wearing a blue polo shirt and they had thought I was an employee. They had been upfront telling the smiling manager about the wonderful young man who helped them and how this had been a great experience after going to three other stores. The manager's face fell and he said: "He doesn't work here."
27. Offering the Beverage Regardless
I was at dinner in a decent restaurant in LA—I was wearing a suit but had taken my jacket off and wasn't wearing a tie so it was black shoes/pants and a white shirt. I went to the bathroom and was passing this table and this guy grabbed my arm as I was walking past and said: "Sorry, could you find out where our beverage is—we asked you ages ago."
At this point, I hadn't realized I resembled the staff in this place and was a bit shell-shocked, so I said "Sure" and went in the bathroom. On my way back I thought I'd be a dutiful human being and go tell the barman, as it was on my way, that this guy hadn't had his beverage. The barman slapped his forehead and said "hang on" and gave me a glass of white to take to him, which I did and apologized for the delay and the guy appreciated it too.
Then I sat down and went on with my dinner.
28. But Wait, What About Those Shoes?!
While at my aunt's funeral, I was wearing my black suit and my hair was looking presentable, but my shoes were two different sizes and brands. Apparently, I looked like I worked at the funeral home. Probably because I was standing off to the side, because I only knew three out of the 50 people there. Anyway, I was asked at least twice if I worked there/where is this, but that's not even the worst part.
The people asking the questions were family members I had never met. They thought it was funny after I told them. I still don't know who they are.
29. Another Night At The Foxxes Den
Oh, I've got a good one from a few weekends ago. My girlfriend went out for a ladies' night with some friends. Of course, they just happened to wander into a male adult club. Whatever. I wasn't mad. She's a big girl, she can spend her money however she wants. But she was hammered, and I had to pick her up, because she missed the last bus home.
I roll up to the front door and she's not there, where she said she was going to be. I talk to security for a bit, explain what's happening, describe the group of girls. The security guy says they're inside by the stage having a great time, and I can go get her if I want. As I'm walking across the area, this tiny lady comes over to me. Kinda cute, but clearly just absolutely three sheets to the wind. I couldn't believe what happened next.
She grabbed my hand and tried to drag me over to where she was for a private performance. I just stood there, telling her over and over again that I'm not a dancer. Now, I'm not crazy strong, but I am a beginner-level Ironman competitor. This lady just won't take no for an answer, then she literally starts climbing me.
I'm a bit over six foot tall, and this lady was probably around 4'6" tall, and is now climbing me like a jungle gym. Security finally intervenes at this point to pull her off me. The girlfriend finally staggers over, with all her friends wooing at me. She tells me she saw the whole thing and thought it was adorable how flustered I was while trying to deal with the Asian lady.
30. Pants Full Of Hats
I work at a KFC near a large shopping center, so after a shift, I decided to go shopping. Any shop I went into that is known for red colors, I was asked to help multiple people. Come on, can you not see the hat and the flour all over my pants?
31. Getting Him Back On The Spot
I was filling my truck with gas at the station when I was about 21, when this jerk in his 40s pulls up, waits about a minute before saying, "So, do you only do one darn vehicle at a time, c'mon fill'er the heck up." I proceed to apologize and started filling his Cummings diesel with gasoline. He ended up trying to call the authorities, but they couldn't do anything, as I played stupid.
32. A Lifetime Of Confusement
Around Christmastime, I was on my lunch hour (in my uniform) picking up some Christmas stuff. I was in a card shop and this man in his 60s hit me over the head with a wrapping paper roll "as a joke" before apologizing profusely upon realizing I was a customer there. Having said that, I don't know why that would ever be considered a thing to do to someone who you don't know, whether they work there or not.
I never resolved it, I was 16 and awkward.
33. It’s Going To Be A Great Party Without You
I work for one company that has three offices in various parts of the country. For a client event, we were bussed out to a countryside retreat so that we could act as hosts—mostly we'd be there to set things up, stop them from getting inebriated, and make sure they didn't run off with the silverware. As the only person going from my office, I got there three hours before the event is due to start and wander into the room we booked, which was filled with cardboard boxes and props being set up.
I was wearing my pre-event "let's hang some decorations" outfit and of course, I ask where they want me to start. Someone comes over to me oozing with enthusiasm but guiding me to the door; she tells me all about dinner later on, about the hotel we're at, how nice it would be to take a long walk in the grounds or maybe hang out in the lounge for a few hours.
I'm a little confused because they seem to be trying to get rid of me, and I keep going "Yeah, but, surely there's loads of work I can help with?" It's only ten minutes later when I'm clearly not leaving that she asks if I've brought a plus one. That when I realized she thought I was a stray, early, jogging pants-clad client.
34. Standing In The Wrong Spot
Mine isn't exactly "working" in the traditional sense. Once while I was in college I was meeting a friend for lunch at Chipotle after class. Because of the way you order at Chipotle, I figured it would be better to just wait outside for him to get there. His class ended up running a little long so I was just standing outside for a good 15 or 20 minutes.
Eventually, this sketchy looking fellow comes up to me from the bus stop across the street and asks, "Hey man, you got any bags I can get off you?" At first, I thought that was a strange question, then I processed that he was looking for unlawful substances. I just said "Sorry man, I can't help you," and he went on his way. That was a strange experience, to say the least.
35. Mouthwash Mission
I was walking from the pharmacy in the back of the store towards the front. An old guy stops and asks "Where do you stock the mouthwash." I was about to say "I don't work here." Then I figured: It's Walgreens. It's like seven short aisles. I could find mouthwash. "Come with me." We found the mouthwash. I'm also awesome helping old ladies get products off the top shelf.
36. Doing A Good Deed
Once I was at Walmart pretty late at night, around 11. I think I was looking for cold medicine or something like that. Anyway, a woman who looks to be in her late 30s (I'm 20) comes up to me and shows me her child's school supply list, asking if I can help her find some portfolio folder or something. I was about to tell her that I didn't work there when I saw her daughter, who looked to be around seven or eight, in one of the aisles peeking out and looking tired and a little nervous.
I know how Walmart can be in terms of finding an employee to help you, so I decided to just stick around and helped them find everything on the list. I realized that neither of them spoke very much English, which made some of the items on the lists confusing. It took a good 20 minutes but they were both really grateful and nice.
I guess it's not really an awkward story, but still a story!
37. Saving A Christmas
A couple years ago I was in the electronics department of Walmart helping my Mom find a decent Blu-ray player to give to my grandma as a gift. When I was standing there looking at the options this older woman asked me if I could help her find an MP3 player that she could buy for her daughter. It was around Christmastime.
I told her that I didn't work there, and she said: "Ah, well you young guys know everything about these anyway." My mother and I laughed and I changed her mind from getting a no-name like a two gig MP3 player to getting an actual iPod, and I think I saved one kid from being kind of disappointed on Christmas.
38. Underestimating People’s Ability To Feel Like A Jerk
I work as a mechanic and part of my job is to collect parts if our suppliers are busy. I was sent down to a wrecking yard to pick up a second-hand transmission and because I was in my work overalls some guy asked me pretty rudely where all the rims are kept. I just rolled with it and said something pretty vague along the lines of "Not exactly sure, out by the front fence I think."
My answer clearly wasn't specific enough, because I heard him mumble under his "how hard can your job be." He must have felt like such a jerk when he joined the line-up right as I was paying for the trans and leaving.
39. Queuing Up For The Math Man
This is what being able to multiply numbers in your head gets you. My grams and I were at Kmart getting grass seed in the Garden department, and she tells me that one of the bags she got wasn't the right type of seed. Of course, I take it back and start looking for the right one. I stopped to check to make sure I was getting the right one, and suddenly, I hear,
"How much lawn does that bag of seed cover?" Without thinking, I multiply the dimensions on the bag in my head and rattle off the answer. Then I hear, "Well if my yard is X ft. By Y ft., will that bag cover it?" I do the mental math and turn to her to let her know that yes, the seed would cover her lawn, and I notice another woman standing behind us.
The new woman says, "Oh, I had a question, but I'll wait until you're done helping her." I just gave a casual laugh, grabbed the bag of seed I needed, and kindly inform her that I didn't work there. The funny thing was, I was wearing a yellow shirt and shorts. Not really Kmart uniform...
40. Stand-In Manager
I was doing training for a job in Costa coffee in a busy train station. Around 12:00 it gets pretty clustered with people due to trains leaving and entering the station. Anyway, I was dressed in the company uniform and the manager gave me his apron to wear while he went off to do other business. Meanwhile, there's me standing there behind the till at Costa coffee wearing a manager's uniform.
People rushing in and out but wanted me to take their order and make their beverage before their train departed. I just stood there dressed in manager's clothing with a badge that says manager on it; trying to tell people that "Sorry, I don't work here." I got a lot of people angry with me in such a short time, and he was gone for a while.
41. Hearing Problems
I was at a local computer & game store and this elderly gentleman asked me where they put the controllers for PS3. I told him sorry, I don't work here, so I don't really know. He goes "Seriously why do you even work here if you don't know where anything is, dumbass." 10/10 would go to that store again.
42. A Good Time To Quit
So I'm trying on a pair of jeans at Hollister and it's a big sale so it's a crowded, smelly, teenage angst mess in the place. I exit the changing room and there are a ton of people waiting, and it's not a big changing room so it's super crowded. Worker is MIA so I go over to the shelf thing they put the clothes on you don't want and it's a MESS.
The thing was stacked high with clothes, stuff was falling off onto the floor and everywhere. I felt bad so that I attempted to tidy a bit but it's too far gone, and not my job, so I just fold the jeans I don't want and go to leave the dressing room when a grade-A jerk of a mother appears with her mini-me carrying 10+ jeans.
This woman starts angrily going on and on about how her daughter isn't a two or a four, and asking why don't they make a size three, and how come these jeans are ripped. This woman isn't giving me a chance to breathe, let alone reply, but I clearly know she has mistaken me for an employee. I am a young, tan, somewhat surfer-y type.
I just keep letting her rant not really listening to her, waiting to explain myself when she starts picking me apart. She starts saying they should higher workers who have brains that know how to actually help customers and don't just stand there to "look pretty." She finally gives me a chance to speak, but instead of telling her I don't work there I pretended I was super offended and said: "I quit!"
Her daughter looked all embarrassed and people were watching and you could tell she looked kind of bad so she started to apologize and I was just like "No really, I quit, you can work here and you won't have to worry about looking pretty." I just walked away.
43. The Wrong Place To Wear A Red Polo
I was at Target right after work. I had on a red polo and khakis and it had my company name embroidered on it that starts with a T. I was doing some networking stuff so I wasn't wearing my normal dress clothes. I forget what I was buying but I had my cart full and my purse over my shoulder. A woman asked me where the laundry detergent was.
I am used to this, so I just told her that I think it is down a few aisles. This woman lost her ever-loving mind on me saying that I was a horrible employee, I should know where everything is in my store, I will never be paid above minimum wage because I am so dumb. She wanted my name, my supervisor's name, and the number to corporate.
It was after her rant that I politely informed her "Ma'am, I don't work here. I was just telling you where I saw it while shopping for my own stuff." She didn't believe me and went to find a manager. I went to the checkout. I guess she found a manager and brought him to where I was checking out. She started demanding that he reprimand me.
He then informed her that I didn't, in fact, work there. She was flabbergasted and just walked away. No apology no nothing. The manager, however, did apologize to me. I told him no problem, not his fault. "You can't fix stupid." I no longer wear red polos to Target.
44. The Walmart Experience
I was wandering through a Walmart between doctor appointments and happened to walk by the display of digital voice recorders. An elderly gentleman was looking at them, but had no idea which one to buy. He buttonholed me and started asking questions. I don't know why; I was dressed quite unlike a Walmart employee at the time.
But, I played along, read the labels on the packaging, and broke the features down by what he seemed to be interested in. He finally decided on one and thanked me, and I went on my way. It actually felt kind of cool.