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  #1  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:15 PM
Kozmik Kozmik is offline
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mistaken for an employee

Yesterday was a rainy day so I went to the movie theater to see a film I intended to see while in its first run. While waiting in the lobby, an elderly women approached me and asked me, "Do you need special glasses to see IMAX?". I gestured to the IMAX entrance doors, and, in the most corporate voice I could come up with, said, "No glasses are necessary to view IMAX." She told who I assume to be her husband what I said and then they went into the IMAX screening. Before I went to my film's screening, I stopped at the concession stand. I told the concession worker about the encounter and she interrupted me saying, "But you need 3-D glasses for IMAX." Her co-worker interjected saying, "Not all IMAX movies are in 3-D." Dumb concession worker. Smart co-worker. I should have been hired. I guess the lady thought I worked there because I was standing alone, looked knowledgeable, and was wearing my work clothes.
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:20 PM
TravisFromOR TravisFromOR is offline
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUsUMrCV1GE I'm imagining something like this...
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2011, 10:25 PM
Silophant Silophant is offline
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This happened to me all the time when I worked at a movie theater, and went to other places in the mall, in my black polo and black pants, on break. I was usually mistaken for a Barnes and Noble employee, (understandable, since their uniform is just generic dressiness, and the customers usually couldn't see the movie logo on my back) or a Target employee (perplexing, since their uniform is red and khaki). Luckily, I was never asked a question I couldn't answer, so it all worked out well.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:33 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Originally Posted by Kozmik View Post
While waiting in the lobby, an elderly women approached me and asked me, "Do you need special glasses to see IMAX?". I gestured to the IMAX entrance doors, and, in the most corporate voice I could come up with, said, "No glasses are necessary to view IMAX."
Did she then slip you a sawbuck? You know, just for the effort?
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2011, 12:47 AM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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I used to have a bright red polo shirt. Once I was wearing that shirt when I was shopping at Target. A lot of people thought that I was an employee, and asked me where to find stuff. A few were even angry when I said I didn't know; I didn't work there.

Last edited by suranyi; 03-11-2011 at 12:47 AM..
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2011, 12:49 AM
TravisFromOR TravisFromOR is offline
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Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
I used to have a bright red polo shirt. Once I was wearing that shirt when I was shopping at Target. A lot of people thought that I was an employee, and asked me where to find stuff. A few were even angry when I said I didn't know; I didn't work there.
I get people who recognize me on my days off and ask where things are. OK, not bad, if I'm in the store I work at. This is at other friggin' stores. I tell them that I don't know, and get things along the lines of, "Well, that's not good customer service!!!"
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2011, 01:25 AM
TheChileanBlob TheChileanBlob is offline
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My daughters and I used to run one of those Santa photo sets in the mall. Our uniform, like most of the other mall employees, was black pants, white shirt, and a company apron. When we would walk through the mall on our breaks, no matter what store we happened to be in we would be mistaken for employees. I would help people whenever I could, since I was in the mall all the time and knew where a lot of stuff was.

We could have avoided the problem by removing our aprons, but they kept the kiosk people from accosting us.
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:32 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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I had a "mistaken for an employee" moment in New Orleans during the Katrina cleanup. A Lowe's store was the closest place to our worksites that we could go and use a bathroom, get cold drinks and wash up a bit during the 14-16 hour workdays. We of course wore workboots, safety vests, hard hats and all that stuff while out in the abandoned neighborhoods.

One day my coworker and I were making our daily visit to the Lowes, when a man approached (in the parking lot) and said "Do you work out here"? We both said "yes" (thinking he meant out HERE out here, as in NOLA), since the Lowe's was about the only place in our assigned area that had many people at that time. I should also mention that the Lowe's was severely understaffed and pretty much just had cashiers and some managers at this point. I should also mention that New Orleans was pretty much a SEA of safety vests and contractors of various stripe, there were more of us than there were of the actual citizens trying to rebuild and move back in.

"Well!" he huffs all snottily "you need to tell these people to stop parking in the handicapped spots then"!

We said "we don't work HERE". And the guy gets even madder "well why did you TELL me you did then"???? Ummmmm (looking around at the vast array of orange vests all around) "we thought you meant on the cleanup like everyone else in here"?

The guy huffs off. Weird....

Last edited by CanvasShoes; 03-11-2011 at 01:33 AM..
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2011, 01:36 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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Once, while reading a book in a bookstore in Sofia, Bulgaria, I had no fewer than THREE people come up to me to ask me where something was.

That should tell you a little about the level of customer service in Eastern Europe.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2011, 01:47 AM
multimediac17 multimediac17 is offline
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I buy a lot of CDs, and occasionally I'll buy lots in one go (not very often because I can't afford to do that, though if I was rich I'd totally do it all the time). Sometimes I'll be in a music store with a large pile, walking around and I'll have people come up to me and ask me where things are and can I help them find this particular CD. Sometimes I just point out where the section is but most of the time, if the question is too specific, I'll just say I don't work there and mention that employees have lanyards around their neck to seperate them from the customers.

Funnily enough I once went for a job interview at the store where this happens most, and I thought I aced it but I never heard back so I guess I didn't do quite as well as I thought. I still know all their genre sections off by heart!
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:40 AM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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Happens to me all the time. Most recently at the grocery store where I was scanning my groceries... in the self-checkout lane. When I finally realized this crazy lady was asking me a question and told her I didn't work there, she said "Oh I thought... because you were scanning stuff". Yeah lady, it's 2011. We've had self-checkout lanes for a while now.
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2011, 04:46 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Kyla View Post
Once, while reading a book in a bookstore in Sofia, Bulgaria, I had no fewer than THREE people come up to me to ask me where something was.

That should tell you a little about the level of customer service in Eastern Europe.
Or about whether it's normal to see customers reading books in bookstores there.
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  #13  
Old 03-11-2011, 05:32 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is online now
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Did she then slip you a sawbuck? You know, just for the effort?
She could at least have dug out an empty large popcorn bucket from the garbage so you could have the free refill. That's just common courtesy.
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  #14  
Old 03-11-2011, 05:51 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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You're lucky you weren't outside a brothel.
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  #15  
Old 03-11-2011, 06:22 AM
Miss Mapp Miss Mapp is offline
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When I went to Disney World with my family a couple of years ago, I was taken for a Disney employee twice. Not wearing a costume, just white shorts and a striped shirt--which I guess looks close enough to a staff uniform for some people. Or maybe I just have a "Disney" look.
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:14 AM
Ms Boods Ms Boods is offline
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Me, most recent: I was at the Johnson Victrola Museum last week to do some last minute photography for a presentation I'm giving this weekend; I know the museum and the history behind its artefacts probably unhealthily too well at the moment.

Anyway, was shooting the breeze with a brand-new docent who'd been told to count heads (he's still too new to lead a tour), and ended up fielding questions from visitors who were waiting for the next tour to begin -- and answering questions that even the site manager didn't know the answer to. It made me feel as if I don't get out much, but the field manager wants me to give a public talk at the Old State House this summer, so I guess there's an advantage to knowing my onions.

Partner: somewhere along the line, probably from a charity shop, he acquired a bright orange fleecey jacket, which we think may have been a Sainsbury supermarket cast-off. He likes to wear it to Tescos, Sainsbury's rival supermarket, because on the one hand, people ask him where the tinned beets are, and two, he gets glared at by Tesco's bods who think he's spying on the competitors.

I like it because it's very bright orange and makes him that much easier to find inside the house (he blends in well with the sofa.)
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  #17  
Old 03-11-2011, 07:25 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Years ago when I used to buy books in actual book shops I would often be accosted by other shoppers and asked where to find a particular book, or did I know the name of the book about.... Fortunately I read a lot and could usually help people out. I never bothered mentioning that I didn't work there. Sometimes I could point them to a better book than the one they wanted.

For some reason I also apparently look like I am Google Maps incarnate because people make a beeline to me for street directions. I am pretty poor at providing them, because I don't remember street names, but several people at work have noticed that lost people head straight to me for directions.
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:19 AM
ladyfoxfyre ladyfoxfyre is offline
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
For some reason I also apparently look like I am Google Maps incarnate because people make a beeline to me for street directions. I am pretty poor at providing them, because I don't remember street names, but several people at work have noticed that lost people head straight to me for directions.
Don't they see your user name?
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:34 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
I used to have a bright red polo shirt. Once I was wearing that shirt when I was shopping at Target. A lot of people thought that I was an employee, and asked me where to find stuff. A few were even angry when I said I didn't know; I didn't work there.
I used to have a red polo shirt!

I was wearing it the day I testified in front of a Board of Zoning Appeals. My dry lceaner (the only Hispanic-owned dry cleaner in the area) was fighting a challenge to his business from the Korean Dry Cleaners' Association. The Korean Dry Cleaners Association objected to the use of floor space at my guy's shop and were trying to force the Board to force him to close.

I was (I think) the only customer who volunteered to do this. And I wish I had worn something different because he brought his whole staff of thirty people to talk about how important their jobs were... all wearing red polo shirts.

I began my testimony by emphasizing that while I was HIspanic, and was wearing a red polo shirt, those facts were entirely coincidental and I was there as a voter and customer. I still don't think they believed me.
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  #20  
Old 03-11-2011, 09:38 AM
toofs toofs is offline
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I have had a this happen a few times while in retail stores, usually Target. My standard answer is 'you'll find it on aisle 5, on the bottom shelf'.
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  #21  
Old 03-11-2011, 09:45 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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This happens to me at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.. all the time. I do wear a work shirt and/or jacket with my company logo but it doesn't resemble their uniforms.
I am (arguably) more knowledgeable than most of the staff and/or available, so I will occasionally stop and help out other customers. Unfortunately, sometimes this will cause people to assume I work there and a line-up ensues.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:27 AM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
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I used to work part time for a grocery store and was outside the store in one of their bright yellow raincoats when someone mistook me for a cop and tried to report a mugging.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:44 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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This time of year, I look for people who aren't wearing scarves up to their noses and boots. Other times, I look for women who aren't carrying purses. I know a lot of women don't carry purses at any time, but I figure I have a better shot of finding an employee who's locked up her purse in her desk drawer or the break room. I don't get that -- people walk to a woman "Do you work here?" "Yes, I always stock shelves with my handbag over my arm."
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:52 AM
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
For some reason I also apparently look like I am Google Maps incarnate because people make a beeline to me for street directions. I am pretty poor at providing them, because I don't remember street names, but several people at work have noticed that lost people head straight to me for directions.
Funny you should mention this because I was going to respond that while I don't remember ever being mistaken for an employee at a store, I am frequently mistaken for a local when I am out of town. I'll be walking down the street and someone will come up and ask "Do you know how to get to..." and I'll just shrug and say "I'm not from around here." But for some reason it happens a LOT. I guess I just look like I know where I'm going.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:09 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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It happens to me in retail stores all the time - the last one was when I had my jacket on and my headphones in my ears. Yes, Sears encourages its employees to wear their jackets and work with iPods on on the retail floor - I had a hard time not saying to the person, "Seriously?" It's actually happening less as I get older, which is appreciated. I guess I'm moving out of "retail employee" age.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:54 PM
Morelin Morelin is offline
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I've been asked for information a few times, both at stores I've worked at, and for directions and I have a theory.

Everyone who has worked in retail(or with the public in general) acquires a certain air or 'look' that attracts customers. Unfortunately, it also attracts anyone else looking for information, and you(generic) wind up looking the the person to ask.
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  #27  
Old 03-11-2011, 02:52 PM
MacCat MacCat is offline
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Don't they see your user name?
Ha!
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:16 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Morelin View Post
I've been asked for information a few times, both at stores I've worked at, and for directions and I have a theory.

Everyone who has worked in retail(or with the public in general) acquires a certain air or 'look' that attracts customers. Unfortunately, it also attracts anyone else looking for information, and you(generic) wind up looking the the person to ask.
I figured it was my scowling and looking miserable.
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  #29  
Old 03-11-2011, 03:29 PM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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One time I'm at home depot and happened to be wearing my favored Orange Crush tshirt.

Wound up helping some guy load stuff into his car before realizing he thought I worked there.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:33 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
Funny you should mention this because I was going to respond that while I don't remember ever being mistaken for an employee at a store, I am frequently mistaken for a local when I am out of town. I'll be walking down the street and someone will come up and ask "Do you know how to get to..." and I'll just shrug and say "I'm not from around here." But for some reason it happens a LOT. I guess I just look like I know where I'm going.
This happens to me most of the time I go into Boston. The funny thing is, I only know where a few things happen to be, and it took me a long time to learn how to properly navigate the subway. I did discover that there's a way to keep people from asking you where things are, though: wear your camera!
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  #31  
Old 03-11-2011, 04:04 PM
limegreen limegreen is offline
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Apparently you all have the invisible "ask me" sign tattooed on your forehead that I was also born with. Old people, especially loony old people, can see these invisible tattoos and will hunt me down wherever I go to ask me where things are or to help them find something in a store.
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  #32  
Old 03-11-2011, 05:06 PM
Faelyn Faelyn is offline
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I've had alot of times where I'm buying something that I'm not sure of, (ex: what's the difference in these two products? will one look/work better?) and there won't be an employee around anywhere. As most of the times my questions are kitchen/cooking related, I just find the closest grandmotherly type and say, "I'm sorry, I know you don't work here, but you sure do look like you know your way around a kitchen! Can I ask you something?" in my most sweetest, honey-dripping way possible, and they never refuse No gentlewoman can refuse my good ole southern charm when I chose to use it!
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:43 PM
Fair Rarity Fair Rarity is offline
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I'm usually not surly to people, but I was asked once where something was in a store in which I was just a customer, had never worked, etc., and I snapped "I don't fucking work here." One of my last previous jobs had been in retail, so that was a lot of pent up "I hate customers" anger. I still feel kinda bad about it.
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  #34  
Old 03-11-2011, 11:20 PM
Balance Balance is offline
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I don't get this as often as some of you, but I did get mistaken for an employee a couple of times in one day last year. It was November 1st, and both occasions were in Halloween stores, where I was bargain-hunting. (The day after Halloween is a LARP prop-master's Black Friday.)

I figure my all-black outfit had something to do with it, but you can make of it what you will.
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  #35  
Old 03-11-2011, 11:58 PM
dwc1970 dwc1970 is offline
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Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
I used to have a bright red polo shirt. Once I was wearing that shirt when I was shopping at Target. A lot of people thought that I was an employee, and asked me where to find stuff. A few were even angry when I said I didn't know; I didn't work there.
This is when you go along with it and send them to some random location in the store (where it probably won't be located). Be rude back; I mean, hey, it's not like they can fire you when you don't even work there. It might teach these idiots to listen next time someone says they don't work there.
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  #36  
Old 03-12-2011, 04:59 AM
Baker Baker is offline
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There's a grocery store I shop at a lot as it's right on my way home from work, and the closest to my house. The shirt I used to have to wear at work was almost exactly the same style as the store's shirt. I'd get asked all the time where stuff was and if I knew I'd tell them. If I didn't I'd say I didn't work there. At least nobody ever was upset at the latter statement.
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  #37  
Old 03-12-2011, 05:03 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Originally Posted by limegreen View Post
Apparently you all have the invisible "ask me" sign tattooed on your forehead that I was also born with. Old people, especially loony old people, can see these invisible tattoos and will hunt me down wherever I go to ask me where things are or to help them find something in a store.
A woman I work with complains about that. She says whenever she sees an old loony on the street she tries to avoid catching their eye, but never can.
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  #38  
Old 03-12-2011, 05:51 AM
rekkah rekkah is offline
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This Improv Everywhere Mission is quite an amusing take on the confusion of being dressed like a retail worker while not actually working.
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  #39  
Old 03-12-2011, 05:59 AM
A. Gwilliam A. Gwilliam is offline
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When I worked in an office off London's Oxford Street, I used to get this all the time during the summer months when I went into a shop for something during my lunchbreak. The curse of wearing a standard office uniform!

The oddest experience was when looking for something in a menswear department. A tourist came up to me, wanting my assistance. What was odd about it was that he addressed me in Spanish, and expected me to speak the language. What made him think that shop staff in London can all speak Spanish?! (Bizarrely, this approach of his worked at least on this occasion, since I could speak Spanish... )

I've also had it in Sainsbury's in the past (before they switched to burgundy uniforms), and also in Wilkinson's; these two because I have a red jacket (coat).

The most recent time in Wilko's I was wearing my front-of-house theatre uniform, which includes a red waistcoat, so it was kinda understandable.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:47 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Worked for a month at a hot wing place called Wing Zone. Uniform was khaki slacks and a red polo shirt with a hat. My usual routine was to stop at HEB (where the uniform was khaki slacks and a red polo shirt) on the way to or from work to grab something to eat and drink. On occasion, folks would ask me where something was, thinking I worked there. Since I lived about a block from the HEB and shopped there all the time, I would say "I don't work here, but..." and point them in the right direction.

Same thing would happen with my dad at Home Depot, even though he never dressed anything like the people who work there. I suspect he just spent so much time browsing at Home Depot that people just assumed he was a manager there or something. Incidentally, he claimed that he was just price checking to make sure they weren't selling stuff for less than what the store he worked at sold them for. Gotta stay competitive.
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  #41  
Old 03-12-2011, 11:19 AM
Huerta88 Huerta88 is offline
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IME khaki pants are a real risk factor. In a former workplace that made a transition to casual Friday, the unimaginative male choice of choice seemed to be tan pants and blue oxford or polo shirt. The standard workplace taunt (assuming you weren't wearing that and spotted someone who was) quickly became "Welcome to Blockbuster, may I help you find something?"

I am also (weirdly) occasionally (including last night) mistaken for an undercover cop/detective.
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  #42  
Old 03-12-2011, 11:40 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
This time of year, I look for people who aren't wearing scarves up to their noses and boots. Other times, I look for women who aren't carrying purses. I know a lot of women don't carry purses at any time, but I figure I have a better shot of finding an employee who's locked up her purse in her desk drawer or the break room. I don't get that -- people walk to a woman "Do you work here?" "Yes, I always stock shelves with my handbag over my arm."
That's what I find weird about that. Customers are usually carrying things or looking at items. I don't think I've ever been mistaken for an employee, and my guess would be it's clear since I'm walking around with a purse and am flipping through the clothing rack for my size. I guess if you're by yourself and kind of standing around, as opposed to walking about the way a shopper would, it might look like you work there, but not if you're dressed casually, and especially not if you're carrying a purse.
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  #43  
Old 03-12-2011, 12:16 PM
faithfool faithfool is online now
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This has happened to my husband if he wears his navy blue Izod and khaki pants to Wal*Mart.
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  #44  
Old 03-12-2011, 02:07 PM
Marc Xenos Marc Xenos is offline
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You're lucky you weren't outside a brothel.
WOW! I coulda had a V8!!!
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  #45  
Old 03-12-2011, 02:14 PM
Marc Xenos Marc Xenos is offline
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One time I worked for a company that bore the founder's name (i.e. The John Doe Company), although the founder was long-deceased. On one particular summer day, I was sitting in the passenger seat of the company van (with the name emblazoned across the side) when some old codger shuffled up and "You be sure to do a good job, because John's up there in Heaven keeping an eye on you."

To which, I looked the old geezer in the eye and responded, "Why would I care? This is a stolen vehicle."

The look on the old guy's face was priceless as he tried to digest that piece of information, while my co-worker in the driver seat was nearly contorting himself to keep from laughing out loud. (Obviously, I had no worries about keeping my job.)
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:06 PM
Kozmik Kozmik is offline
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Did she then slip you a sawbuck? You know, just for the effort?
No.
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  #47  
Old 03-12-2011, 10:33 PM
flatlined flatlined is offline
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Many years ago, I was admin for someone who owned a lot of Dice stores. I wore a white shirt with the Dice logo over my left booby.

One day, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. My habit is to grab a cart from the parking lot and push it in. While I was going into the store, an evil lady tried to grab it from me. I told her to go get her own, the rest of the carts were only a few feet away. She bitched me out about customer service and then called my boss.

As I recall, he was very entertained with that conversation.
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  #48  
Old 03-13-2011, 06:34 PM
MareIt MareIt is online now
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The accounting department at my job has an employee of the month wall. The Target Employee of the Month club. They've been taking pictures of people who wore khakis and a red polo to work and then put up their mug shot as the Employee of the Month. September (I think it was September) the Employee of the month turned out to be our CFO...
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  #49  
Old 03-14-2011, 08:22 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
I've been mistaken for working at Walmart. Any time I was with the family, and they had to go to Walmart, I would go in and hang out in the electronics section. Since I wasn't buying anything, I had no cart or anything. I also tended to wear collared shirts. Furthermore, a lot of my friends would prefer to ask me rather than an employee. The questions were usually along the line of what they needed, rather than the location of anything.

I always just thought it funny that people would come into Walmart not knowing what piece of electronics they needed.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:20 AM
installLSC installLSC is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Back in '97 I was asked by a woman looking for a Puff Daddy single in Sam Goody's. I couldn't find it either until I took a quick glance at the copy of the Billboard charts on the wall. "Oh that's why it's not there; it's only available as a maxi-single and those are in a different section". I even told her she might want to wait until the album came out next month, but she bought the single anyway.
A few years ago I overheard a woman asking a Borders employee for help with the song "The In Crowd". I quickly determined she wanted the Ramsey Lewis version and helped her select a CD. I wonder if it's a coincidence both places ended up in bankruptcy.

Last edited by installLSC; 03-15-2011 at 12:22 AM.. Reason: forgot to finish off a sentance
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