If someone approached you in the store and asked for your help without realizing you don’t work there, would your first instinct be to tell them you aren’t an employee or help them anyway? To some, being mistaken for an employee can be quite embarrassing, but for others, they see the innocent mistake as an opportunity to have a little fun with their new role. These people recall the silly moments another customer thought they were actually employees and how they handled it.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
“I Should Be First!”
“The funniest time I was mistaken for an employee was when this one lady thought I was a sales agent on the floor. She asked me about some random product on the shelf and looked at me expectantly for an answer.
I actually knew the product well because I worked for the company that manufactured it. So, I gave her the requisite information and went about doing my own shopping.
After getting ready to check out, I casually waited for the next available sales clerk. The same lady I helped ended up in the queue behind me.
Here’s where it go really interesting.
The lady suddenly seemed to be in a hurry and wanted to get ahead of me, but the clerk already started scanning my items. That’s when she started acting extremely rude and said, ‘Staff should allow customers to be served first!’
The poor clerk didn’t understand what was going on. The irate woman repeated herself several times before she demanded the clerk to ring up immediately. The cashier turned to her and motioned to me.
‘Ma’am, he was here first. This is a customer just like you, so please be patient.’
‘Why don’t you call your manager, then?’ The woman wasn’t having it. I stayed quite the entire time, holding back a chuckle. Part of me wanted to end it but thought it would be a better effect to let the interaction run its course.
The woman kept getting louder as the clerk ignored her.
‘This is so rude and unacceptable!’ The woman screeched. ‘Get the manager right now!’
After hearing the commotion, a manager came over. Once he inquired about the situation the woman complained about how I as a staff member shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead of customers in line.
The manager looked at me with a straight face before returning his gaze to the woman.
‘He doesn’t work here,’ the manager began.
‘But he helped me when I asked about this product!’ The woman was flabbergasted.
When the manager shot me a helpless look, I finally decided to step up. Once I revealed to the woman that I wasn’t an employee, she fell silent. She never apologized. I finished paying for my things and watched other customers still standing in line giggling on the way out.”
Authority of The Fanny Pack
“Many years ago, my husband and I were at a local amusement park with our kids. It was a very busy Saturday afternoon and it started raining, so everyone crammed into the arcade.
I had our youngest child in a baby stroller and had just stepped away from the token machine to put the tokens in my fanny pack.
Out of nowhere, some woman started waving a twenty-dollar bill in my face and asked me for change. I told her I didn’t have change for a twenty, but if she asked someone who worked there, they would be glad to help her.
That was when the random woman started arguing with me. She said, ‘Of course, you work here! You just don’t want to do your job!’
I tried explaining I did not work there and pointed out how I was not dressed anything like an employee, and how I was there with my baby in a stroller.
The woman ignored everything I said and argued that because I had a ‘change thing on’ I obviously worked there. The ‘change thing’ was the fanny pack I was wearing to hold tokens.
‘I will have you fired for this!’ The woman declared before storming off. I was stunned but shrugged it off so I could go back to enjoying the day with my kids.
A few moments later, I heard the same woman’s voice yelling somewhere in the distance. I looked around and sure enough, I could see her over at the cash register screaming and pointing at me.
The place was way too crowded and noisy to hear exactly what was being said, but the look on the teenager’s face manning the counter said it all.
I wouldn’t doubt it if she demanded to see someone over him and demand that he be fired for not firing me.
What a day that was!”
I Don’t Work Here, Lady!
“On my way home from work one morning, I got a flat tire. I remember being so exhausted from work, but knew I needed a new tire right away, so I drove to the nearest Sears Automotive Center.
On that particular day, I was wearing a work uniform that looked a lot like the ones the automotive employees were wearing. The only difference was that mine had the railroad company name I worked for on it.
After checking in my car, I was feeling a little aggravated so I decided to have a smoke. I stepped outside and took a few drags before my phone started ringing. I answered it and started having a conversation when suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder.
‘Hold on, man,’ I said casually before turning around. Standing behind me was a lady with an annoyed look on her face. Then without warning, she held up a set of keys and started rattling them in my face.
‘You need to take my car around and start working on it,’ the lady demanded.
I was stunned, but looked her dead in the eye and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t work here. If you go inside I am sure someone will help you.’
That’s when the lady smacked her lips and rolled her eyes at me. ‘Don’t lie to me. I see your shirt!’
‘Ma’am, I work for a railroad.’ I pointed to the company name clearly displayed on my shirt. ‘A lot of blue-collar workers wear shirts like this. You can even see this shirt has my company name on it.’
The lady shook her head and raised her voice. ‘Don’t lie to me. Do you want me to get your manager?’
Once she started raising her voice, I immediately wanted nothing to do with her. ‘Whatever floats your boat.’
My friend was on the phone listening to me the whole time. When I placed the phone back on my ear, he was laughing so hard he was wheezing. I told him I had to go and hung up.
A few minutes later the manager of the service department came out of the building with the same lady that thought I was an employee.
She was in the middle of complaining as they walked up. ‘Yes, that is the person right there! He’s refusing to do his job.’
The manager took one glance at me and then turned to the woman with an annoyed look. ‘That person is a customer. Their shirt says what company they work for.’
Again, the lady raised her voice. ‘Quit lying to me. I know that man works here and I want them fired.’
Before the manager could respond, I snapped. ‘Ma’am, I DO NOT WORK HERE! I WORK FOR A RAILROAD. I WORKED ALL NIGHT AND I AM VERY TIRED AND AGGRAVATED. NOW I AM PISSED OFF! LEAVE ME ALONE.’
The lady winced and then scrambled off in a huff. I ended up having another smoke to calm down. A few minutes later, the manager came out and told me my car was finished.
As I went back in to pay, the lady came back one last time. This time she had the General Manager. The GM inquired about what the lady said so I spoke up.
‘I was having a smoke when this crazy lady walked up to me, rattling her keys in my face for me to work on her car. I explained to her twice that I do not work here. Even the manager explained it to her. Honestly, if she listened to me in the first place, her car would be done already. I guess she is too stupid to understand the words being said to her.’
The GM looked at her and then at me. Then with only a two-second pause, he kicked her out. The GM also gave me a nice discount on the tires I bought. As for the lady, I saw her a few months later, in another store doing the exact same thing to somebody who did not work in that store.
Seeing how she seemed to like being a repeat offender, I waited with the person while she found a manager. When she came back I explained to the manager what she did to me a few months previously. That time the police were called. Not by the manager but by the crazy lady. Within moments, she was escorted out of the store.
I haven’t seen her since.”
Wear My Shoes For A Day
“One day while I was shopping for shoes, a lady asked me to measure her son’s feet.
Her son was a younger teen who right off the bat I noticed had big feet. The shoes he was wearing were pretty beat up. The mother was holding a display shoe and then proceeded to ask me if I could go find the correct size after I measure the boy’s feet. I decided to play along.
The boy sat down and I pulled off his shoes. The ankle socks he was wearing were dingy and had a big hole near his right big toe. Thankfully his toes were clean, pedicured and didn’t smell that bad.
I ended up peeling off his socks and measuring his bare feet. I had to take another measurement because from his big toe to his heel, I measured 14″ and just couldn’t believe it. After the second measurement, I announced his shoe size to the mother and watched as her eyes grew in amazement.
The shoe the mom wanted was apparently out of stock in his size. Instead, the mother bought a pair of designer flip-flops for the boy’s bare feet. I put his dingy shoes and socks in the box because he liked wearing his new flip-flops.
I thanked her and said to pay up front. I guess no one really found out.”