Sometimes you can walk into a store and coincidentally be wearing an outfit that looks really similar to the store's uniform. No worries, some people may mistake you for an employee, but they usually realize their mistake quickly and all is good. This is how it happens for most people, but sometimes that rare snowflake comes along who just cannot fathom that you aren't an actual employee no matter how many times you tell them. The people in the following stories had that exact experience and the outcome blew their mind. Points have been edited for clarity.
"I attend a university where they have this shuttle system in place during the weekends. 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and then 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. You get on, tell the driver where you want to go and what time you want to be picked up from there and it's all good. It's absolutely free so quite a few students take this shuttle so they can go to the grocery store or to a local restaurant with friends without having to pay for gas. I think the city foots the bill for this because tuition isn't high enough to cover the shuttle.
Aside from attending classes at the university, I also work there. I work in the cafeteria. The uniform we have to wear is dark pants, a royal blue shirt that pertains to the university, and any hat or hairnet.
This all is important to mention because the story takes place immediately after I left the dinner shift on a Friday night. I got on the shuttle, still in uniform and asked to go to Walmart for 20 minutes. I needed a few items and a friend gave me some money to get them something while I was there, since they had to work late.
Once at Walmart, I grabbed a handbasket and began shopping.
Not even five minutes in, I heard a lady sighing in annoyance. I was too tired from class and work to think properly, so I thought she was just trying to get something from the shelf I was standing in front of. I moved out of the way but otherwise paid her no mind. Not even a glance was made in her direction. I just wanted to grab my items and leave. This was a wrong move, as I soon found out because she decided that I had disrespected not only her but her entire family of past and future.
She tapped on my shoulder rather forcefully (I think I even had a bruise there for a week) while clearing her throat in the most 'ahem' sarcastic way. I looked up to see this woman in her mid-forties that was the epitome of a 'let me talk to your manager' customer. She had the haircut and jewelry. Everything.
I said, 'Can I help you?'
The lady said, 'Well it's about time you do your job!'
I answer, 'I'm sorry, what?'
I say, 'Oh, are you as deaf as you are stupid? I've been trying to get your attention for hours!'
This is a good time to mention that I have a habit of tuning people out when I go to the store, other than the bare minimum of autopiloting when I need to avoid bumping into someone. The fact that I was tired strengthened this, and I'm sure I only knew she was there because she essentially harmed me.
Aside from this, not only was my shirt the wrong shade of blue, but my hair was dyed blue at the time. I was part of a fundraiser. Dyed hair is against most retail dress codes. I didn't look like any employees.
I said, 'Ma'am, I don't work here.'
The lady said, "You most definitely do!'
I respond, 'Why would you think that?"
'Your shirt says crew on the back and you walk around like you know every inch of this store!'
'Well I've been here a lot and I usually get the same things, so I know where I'm going. I still don't work here. My shirt even says Quarterdeck.' I point to it which she huffs at.
'Then you work at Subway, but you still work here!' There's a small Subway at the front of the store, but they have vastly different uniforms. Not to mention they actually say Subway.
At this point, I just want her to get as far away from me as possible. Again, I'm tired and I want to buy my things and leave. Instead of trying to argue with her, I put on the most retail smile I can manage (I've worked retail before so I'm trained for this) and make my voice just as sweet. I play along. 'You're right, I keep forgetting that we're connected. That's my mistake, and I'm extremely grateful you pointed that out. I promise I'll work on it. What are you looking for and I will try my best to help you find it!' I'm being overly perky as a mix of overcompensating for my exhaustion and being extremely sarcastic.
'There you go, I knew you could do it. You just need some sense beat into you.' She actually said that. I had to keep from taking a step back.
She was looking for a specific brand of dog food that I happened to know this Walmart did not carry. I only knew because my mom asked me to look at a price while I was there one day. Obviously, this lady wouldn't believe me, so I came up with a different idea: Aisle 12-B.
All sections stopped at or before the aisle number reached 10, so the fact that I told her to go to Aisle 12, much less Aisle 12-B, was the funniest thing to me at the time. It's still pretty funny now. 'Oh, that would be in Aisle 12-B, since I believe we just got some in stock. You can get there by going all the way down there and turning left. You'll see it immediately!'
She left, somewhat satisfied, and I returned to my shopping. Had I known that she would have released the storm of storms, I'd have left immediately.
Nearly 40 customers asked for help that day. I tried to reexplain at first, but none of them were having any part of reality apparently. I helped the few who were extremely nice and acted as though they legitimately didn't want to bother me, but everyone else got Aisle 12-B. The location changed based where I was at the time, because 'all the way down there' was just whichever end of the store was furthest away from me. Cereal? Aisle 12-B. Garden equipment? Aisle 12-B. Rat poison? Aisle 12-B.
By the time I was checking out, I was so done. I went through self-scan to avoid any more interaction, and I probably was the fastest to check out. Before I could leave the store, though, I had one more hurdle.
The manager stopped me as I headed for the exit and to get back on the shuttle. Enough people must have complained to get her on my tail because she looked positively livid. 'You don't need to bother coming in for your next shift. You're being let go for not being a team player and for misleading customers.'
I only looked at her with a look that probably expressed how dead inside I was at that point. 'I don't work here...' I tried one more time, hoping it wasn't said in vain, but all hope was gone from my voice. 'I have never worked here.' I just wanted to go home, make some mac and cheese, and fall asleep before I finish the bowl.
The manager looked at me, studying as her angered expression softened. 'Oh, so that's why you don't look familiar.'
My friend received their items and a story they ended up passing around until my entire dorm had heard it."
"So I went to Aldi today on my lunch break from work. I was shopping for ingredients to make hard apple cider. I found the only apple juice Aldi sold without preservatives and loaded up my cart with a dozen half gallon bottles and kept them in their cardboard boxes so they would be easier to transport. There were a few other items I needed to pick up so I pushed my cart through the store shopping for them. A woman noticed the boxes of apple juice in my cart and asked where I had found them. I had nothing better to do, so I walked her over to the apple juice display where she thanked me. Another woman immediately came up to me and asked, 'You used to have these candy apples in the store but I can't find them. Where are they?'
I had no idea where they were so I said, 'I'm sorry, I don't know. I don't work here.'
Her eyes narrowed and she responded, 'What do you mean you don't work here? I just saw you help that other person.'
Now, I am in a t-shirt and corduroy pants and don't look at all as if I would be working at this store. I could tell that this was not going to go well no matter what I said, but I attempted to be polite, 'I'm sorry, ma'am. She asked me where I had found this apple juice so I showed her. I don't actually work here.'
'What do you mean you don't work here?!' She said.
I respond, 'I don't work here. I am a customer, like you.'
'Just tell me where the candy apples are!' She shrieks.
At this point, it was getting weird. 'I really don't know where the candy apples are. I don't work here.'
'You don't know where anything is in this store?!'
'I know where the apple juice is,' I said.
'WHERE ARE THE CANDY APPLES?!' She said.
I answer, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry I can't help you. I really don't work here.'
She yells. 'WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?'
'It means that I don't work at this store. I don't know where the candy apples are. I am a customer like you.'
'THEN WHY ARE YOU STOCKING THE SHELVES?!' She indicated the boxes in my cart filled with apple juice.
I answer, "I am shopping. I am going to buy what is in my cart...'
'NOBODY NEEDS THAT MUCH JUICE! YOU WORK HERE AND YOU NEED TO TELL ME WHERE THE CANDY APPLES ARE!' At this point, everyone around us had stopped and are staring.
An Aldi shelf stocker came over and said, 'Ma'am, the candy apples were a seasonal item and I'm afraid we are sold out.'
The woman glared at the Aldi employee, and then me and said, indicating me, 'WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME THAT?!'
He said, 'He doesn't work here, ma'am.'
The woman then roared in exasperation, pushed her cart into an aisle display of canned food, knocking it over and screamed, 'WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! I AM NEVER COMING BACK!'
She stormed out of the store, fuming. The employee gave me with a confused look, which I returned, then I proceeded to check out. I loaded the juice into the trunk of my car and hopped in the driver seat. I checked my mirrors before backing out and noticed that the candy apple lady was in the SUV to my left, sitting in her driver seat, sobbing.
I rolled down my window and waved to get her attention. She noticed me, waited about 15 seconds, then rolled down her window.
'Are you OK, ma'am?' I asked.
Through sobs and tears, she said, 'I said I would bring candy apples to my grandson's party.'
I asked her when the party was to take place and she told me 'tonight.' I told her that I had seen kits to make candy apples over at Safeway and that if she made them now they should be ready by the time of the party.
Her eyes lit up and she looked at me. 'Thank you.'
'You're welcome.' I said and went back to work."
"The town I lived in wasn't huge and at the time only had one gas station. I got a job there at the ripe old age of 15 and worked there for two years. Eventually, another gas station opened up across the road and I got a job there.
It was after I quit and I knew all the employees at the store, I would always get gas and grab a nice ice cold chocolate milk from there rather than my store. When I got to the fridge with my milk I was dismayed to find that there was no more. But seeing as I spent the entirety of my working time at the same store I knew that they kept the stock in the back of the walk-in fridge behind some boxes.
This fridge was also where all the adult beverages were so when a customer, noticed that I knew what I was doing assumed I worked there. That seemed fair considering she had probably seen me there on many occasions, and I usually have no problem helping people. Oh if I had known that how good a day this would turn out to be.
'HEY KID!' She yelled. Knowing that there wasn't anybody else in this tight fridge I turned around from fumbling about in the boxes. She continued, 'Yeah you, go put this at the cash.'
Even if I did work there I wouldn't have done it but I figured I'd gently remind them I am an actual person. 'Sorry, I don't work here anymore. Plus miss, that was really rude.'
I'm going to have to assume that I triggered something for her because she lost her mind, screaming about how she had seen me here before and she knew I worked here. I tried to get a word in edgewise but was unable to and with her between the door and myself, I figured I might as well try and ignore her and find my chocolatey goodness.
The lady yelled, 'LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! YOU UNGRATEFUL CHILD!'
I spoke back, 'Look, it seems like you're having a bad day so I'm going to let all that slide and just remind you that I no longer work here.'
With a huff, she turned around and walked out but not before she threw out one last insult. 'Your mother must have been incompetent to have raised such a selfish boy.
I had been having a good day up until that point because my usual self is a vindictive little jerk who normally would have screamed right back at her. That changed when she insulted my mother.
I found my drink and went to the registers. These machines were ancient and took about 15 minutes to boot up and glitches frequently.
Karma strikes quick and without mercy, for when I got to the cash they were having some technical problem with it and the screen was frozen/glitched/karma.
Knowing there was nobody in the store except for myself, the rude lady and my buddy who just started working there about 3 months prior, I was in no rush to help. When my friend finally got fed up with trying the usual debug procedure he looked up and asked for my help. When working there I was the go-to person and I still frequently got calls from the management asking if I could pop by and fix something for them in exchange for some free candy. Win-win.
I glanced over at the screen and immediately recognized the problem and knew that it was a simple fix, all he had to do was click two buttons at the same time.
If you had thought that lady had gotten quieter as this whole process was going on you were wrong. She must have seen the recognition on my face when I saw it because she started howling at me to fix it so she could get out of there.
Seeing my chance for revenge I struck. 'Apologize.'
Stunned, she said, 'What did you say to me?'
I answered, 'I would like you to apologize to me and I'll fix the problem.'
'You little jerk. Fix it right now or I'll have you fired!' She threatened.
I countered, 'I'd like to remind you that I don't work here and I still expect an apology.'
I assume she was running late because after another two or three minutes of back and forth she finally relented. 'I'm sorry... Now, will you fix the machine?'
Normally I would have accepted it but I still had another 30 minutes to kill before I started work at the gas station across the road so I figured I'd push it. 'Sorry for what?'
More incoherent yelling from this lady and my friend tries to stifle his laughter. I said, 'I didn't hear an apology in there.'
The rude lady said, 'I'm sorry... for being rude... even though you were being a brat.'
I stared at her, just thinking, she was so close, so so close, she could have been free to enjoy her purchases and free to annoy anybody else that crossed her path, but alas it was not meant to be. I said, 'Nah. I don't accept, have a nice day.'
She had a dumb look on her face before it turned into a scowl and she started screaming again. 'I swear I'm never coming back to this gas station ever again! The employees here are (expletive),' as she stormed out.
Now, most people would be content with that, I, however, was not. I quickly hit the buttons fixing the machine and ran out yelling a quick goodbye and telling him I'm paying for this tomorrow.
See she swore the one thing I knew she wouldn't be able to keep, she swore she was never coming back to that gas station. Which could only mean she had one place to go for her stuff - across the road, to the gas station I work at. The place where I'm the number one employee and where the owner would back me up if he were there and if he wasn't I was in charge.
I ran over to my job and told the cashier to take a break, sit back, and enjoy the show. By the time I got there she had already rushed to the fridge to get her drinks and when she got out she was greeted by the sight of me grinning from ear to ear behind the register.
Cut to 15 minutes of swearing later and she leaves again, sans purchases. My coworker stood there slack-jawed wondering how I was able to stand that verbal tirade and even more confused as to why I kept on laughing even more as she went on."
"My local grocery store has a three-level subterranean parking structure. There are signs everywhere reminding employees that they must park on the third (lowest) level.
I usually park on the second floor down because there are more spots open closer to the elevator. They rotate a security guard to act as a parking attendant and wander around the parking structure. Today it was someone I didn't recognize.
I park my car on the second level like I always do, I get out and am immediately scolded, 'EMPLOYEES THIRD FLOOR!' Somehow this guy got it in his head that I worked at the grocery store. I wasn't wearing anything remotely close to the all-black uniform. I tried to explain but he wasn't having it. He said I'll be towed out of the garage if I didn't move immediately. I told him he'd probably regret that.
Sure enough, when I return from doing my shopping my car is gone. Knowing exactly what happened, I go back into the store and quietly ask for a manager as I think 'my car may have been stolen'.
While my groceries are melting, they bring in the building manager and he asks if I've called the police. I ask to see if there's anything on tape just to be sure before we get authorities involved. He agrees and sure enough, we watch the guard call in a tow truck.
Building manager lets out an, 'Oh no,' and calls the store's head manager. The head manager comes in and the three of us watch the tape again. The head manager apologizes profusely and tells me he will make this right.
The guard is called in and asked to explain himself. He couldn't articulate why he thought I was an employee and STARTED CRYING. He is fired on the spot.
The manager personally drives me to the impound lot and pays to get my car out. He asks me to meet him back at the store as he wants to make everything right.
We get back and he refunds my purchase while letting me keep the stuff I had in my cart. I got to replace whatever had thawed or melted. After more apologies and thanks for my patience, I'm given a credit voucher for $300 for my 'time and trouble.'"
"I was in Canadian Tire. I was wearing jeans and an old red polo shirt. The employees there wear black pants and a red polo with a triangle and maple leaf logo on the chest. I was getting wipers for my car.
They have this touch screen thing there where you select the vehicle and it tells you the specific sizes you need for each wiper and brand. I was fiddling with the screen and going through the different sizes and makes of wipers and reading reviews on each one. I hear someone behind me say excuse me. I think she wants to use the screen to figure out what wiper to buy, so I move to the section that has the wiper brand I'm interested in and start looking for the size I need.
My assumption was wrong. She followed me to where I was now poking through the very badly stocked wipers. She said, 'Why did you walk away from me, that's very rude.' I didn't even know she was talking to me at this point. So I kept looking at wipers. She continued, 'This is unbelievable! I'm talking to you.'
I finally click in that I'm the one she's talking to. So I stupidly turned to face her while gripping a 28-inch wiper like a toddler holds a crayon and said, 'You talking to me?'
She said, 'Yeah you. I need to know what size wiper to get for my Mercedes.'
"That's what the screen is for,' I said as I gestured towards it with the wiper in my hand and went back to searching for the second elusive 28 incher.
'You are terrible at your job, this isn't proper customer service," She said all huffy.
I answer, 'Umm, I don't work here. I'm gonna go back to this now.'
'I want to speak to your manager right now. This isn't how you treat customers. Ignoring me and refusing to help me, it's disgraceful.' At this point she kind of stomps off, but only a few aisles away and the aisles in the automotive department aren't full height ones, they are like chest height so you can see right across the whole department. She just does a few laps of the aisles around where I am, she's looking all over the place for a manager but not going far, I think so she doesn't lose sight of me.
'Still don't work here. So it's going to be hard to find that manager... and you're not listening to me. Okay...' I said to her and trail off as she's obviously not caring at all. I went back to my wipers.
While she's on her walk I find my wiper and start to head towards the checkouts. She chases me down and gets in front of me, trying to stop my escape before a manager gets there.
'No! You're not allowed to leave until I speak to your manager about you!' She said
I've had enough of this buffoon. I pull out my phone and call my manager. I'm self-employed, so I call the one person in my life who could reasonably be called my manager. The wife.
I said, 'I'll call her for you, you aren't going to be able to find her here.'
I put it on speaker phone so the crazy lady can hear. As the phone rings she's giving me this superior smirk like I'm about to get my butt chewed out.
My wife picks up and I said, 'Hey, how's the trip going?' (She's on a business trip).
My wife said, 'Great, been having some excellent meetings with the L3's (VP level people). What's up?'
'I'm picking up some wipers.' I said.
She said, '...And you're so jazzed about them that you needed to call me in the middle of the day?'
The rude lady is getting really frustrated at this point, I'm obviously not getting to the 'me getting fired' fast enough for her. I said, 'Nope, got a lady here at Canadian Tire who wants to talk to my manager. I kind of thought you're the closest thing to that. Want to talk to her?'
My wife responded, 'What the heck?! Am I on speaker phone?'
'Oh yeah, the rude lady can hear you, how else is she supposed to talk to my manager? Say hi to the lady.' The lady had finally started to realize that I don't have a store logo on my shirt and that maybe I'm not an employee.
My wife said, "You're such a jerk. I'm sorry ma'am, my husband is an idiot. But he doesn't work there.'
I start to laugh at this point. 'It's cool, hun. She probably doesn't realize I'm laughing at her.' I say through my laughter while the lady makes some kind of appalled noise from the back of her throat and stalks off.
I managed to get my wipers and leave the store after that without any further incident. My wife thinks I was mean to her. I say I was fighting stupidity with stupidity."
"I work as a substitute teacher at various local high schools, I am 24 but obviously look younger according to this teacher. A teacher saw me and said, 'Why aren't you in uniform? Also, no phones during school!' I thought he was talking to a student so I ignored him.'Excuse me, don't ignore me,' he said as he snatched my phone out of my hand.
I said, 'What the heck? Give that back! I'm not a student."'
The teacher continued, 'That's detention for swearing at a teacher, you will get your phone back at the end of the day, now you will come down to the office and tell the principal about how disrespectful you are being.'
By this point, I thought it would be funnier to let him complain to the principal who I play netball with and watch his reaction. He was raging. Saying I deserved to be suspended and that students always had their phones out yadda, yadda. The principle and I were just trying not to laugh before she told him I was a teacher too. I said, 'Now give me my phone back. Don't you have a class to teach? Because I do.'
I have never seen anyone go so red."