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I Don’t Work Here, Repeatedly Does Not Work Here

, | Right | January 11, 2017

(I’m in town for a business meeting and I pop into an electronics store across the street from the hotel I’m staying in. I’m not wearing store colors or even the khakis and polo uniform, but I am dressed in business attire. I’m standing in the aisle looking at picking up a new video card when a woman approaches me with her young teen sons in tow.)

Mother: “Sir… Sir, can you tell me if this video card will be good enough to handle my son’s new game?”

Son: “It’s [Game].”

(I look around and, realizing that all the staff in the area are busy, I go ahead and take a look at the video card.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, if I remember the game’s requirements right, this video card will certainly do the trick, but I seem to have noticed that they have this one—” *I pick another one off the shelf* “–that is better and because it’s on sale, cheaper.”

(As she goes about her way, a second customer steps up to me.)

Other Customer: “Sir, I need help finding more RAM.”

(Seeing once again there is nobody around to help…)

Me: “Well, do you know what kind of RAM you’ll need?”

Other Customer: “Umm… no? Is there more than one kind?”

Me: “Yes and while they do carry RAM here, unless you know the model of your computer or better yet, motherboard, there’s no way to be sure you’re getting the right stuff.”

(She promises me she’ll get the computer’s model and come back later. This happens a couple more times and as I have literally nothing better to do and the store seems unusually busy, I go ahead and help them, never ONCE claiming to work there. This keeps on until a fifth person steps up at the same time a manager steps up to me.)

Customer: “So… I noticed you said ‘they.’ You don’t actually work here do you?”

(The manager speaks up before I can say anything.)

Manager: “No, he doesn’t but I feel like I should be slapping a polo on this guy. [Employee] over there will be happy to help you though.”

Manager: *to me* “So… you need a job?”

Me: “Hah, no, I’m only in town for business, I’m just looking at video cards to kill time.”

Manager: “Well, lemme know if you pick one out; we’ll give you the employee discount for today.”

(We both had a good chuckle about that but when I checked out, true to his word, the guy stopped the sales clerk to make sure I got the employee discount.)


I Don’t Work Here Does Not Work Here

, | Right | November 23, 2016

(I’m shopping at a store where the employees wear red and khaki. I am wearing a black tee shirt, blue jeans, and pushing a cart.)

Woman: “Excuse me! Excuse me! Can I ask you something?”

(Since there is no one else around I push my cart over to her. She’s in the hosiery section, and she’s opened two boxes of pantyhose and has a one leg of each color on a different arm.)

Me: “Yes?”

Woman: “Which one is lighter, do you think?”

Me: “The one on the right.”

Woman: “It still looks too dark though, doesn’t it? I mean, for my skin tone?”

Me: “No, I honestly don’t think so. It will look lighter when it’s on your leg. I think it’s fine.”

Woman: “Do they make this in a lighter shade?”

Me: “I honestly don’t know. I’ve never bought that brand before.”

Woman: *getting exasperated* “Well, can you find out?”

Me: “No, I can’t. Maybe if you asked someone who actually works here.”

Woman: *eye wide* “You don’t work here?”

Me: *sweeping my arm to indicate my attire and cart* “No, I sure don’t.”

Woman: “Well, why did you come over when I asked for help then?!”

Me: “Um… because I’m nice?

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 22

, | Right | October 4, 2016

(When I was twelve years old, I was about 5’2” or 5’3” – about 155 or 160 cm for you non-Americans. Not the tallest girl in my class, but taller than average for my age. One day, my mother takes me and my younger sister shopping. While she is in the fitting room with my sister, she tells me to wait just outside the door. Bored, and seeing that a display table of shirts is a stirred up mess, I start folding shirts.)

Customer: “Hey! I’m talking to you!”

(I realize a woman I’d heard and tuned out is looking at me.)

Me: “Me?”

Customer: “Yes, you! Where are your capris?”

Me: “Uh, I… I don’t…”

Customer: “Don’t give me that. I know you sell them! They’re in your flyer.”

Me: “I don’t know.”

(The woman steps into my personal space and raises her voice, berating me about a sale being advertised. I am frozen, wide-eyed, and speechless. A sales associate on the other side of the store starts toward us, but my mom comes out of the fitting room first.)

Mom: “You don’t talk to her like that!”

Customer: “She was being rude to me!”

Mom: “I don’t care! You don’t talk to her like that; you don’t need to talk to her at all!”

Employee: *finally arriving* “Ladies, how can I help you?”

Customer: “Are you the manager? This girl ignored me and then refused to help me!”

(I am wearing a girly-girl sundress, while the store uniform is a polo shirt and khaki pants.)

Employee: “She doesn’t work here, but I can help you.”

Customer: “But she WAS working!”

Mom: *catching on* “She’s twelve!

Customer: “Then WHY was she FOLDING SHIRTS?!”

Employee: “Just to be nice. Ma’am, what do you need? How can I help you?”

(The employee guided her away from us, while the customer threw a parting shot over her shoulder that I shouldn’t fold shirts if I didn’t work there.)

Mom: *loud enough for her to hear, and earning a dirty look* “Next time a strange adult yells at you, you run away from them and you find me.”

(Later, the employee came back and made a point of thanking me for being helpful – even though I later saw her refolding the shirts more neatly. And for a few years it was a running joke in my family to ask me WHY I was FOLDING the laundry.)


I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 21

, | Right | September 12, 2016

(I work for a small department store chain as a store manager. One night after closing my store, I head out to the local [Big Chain Store] to pick up some things, and I find myself heading in the direction of the pet department. As I near, a lady comes out and grabs my arm, stopping me.)

Woman: “I need help in pets, and there’s no one here.”

Me: “Probably someone over in toys. Just go ask them.”

Woman: “I need HELP.”

Me: “Then ask someone.”

Woman: “What’s your name?”

Me: “None of your business.”

(With that I walk off, leaving the lady fuming and angry. A bit later I am talking to a manager. As I’m doing this, I see the lady come out. She spots me and her face lights up full of anger.)

Woman: “I’m going to get you fired!”

(Turning to the manager she starts ranting on how she asked me for help, and various things, adding that I was rude, and she was going to call [Big Chain Store]’s help line if the manager didn’t fire me on the spot.)

Manager: “Uh… I can’t fire him.”

Woman: “Why the f*** not?” *starts dialing*

(I reach up to my company’s badge, pull it off and extend it in front of the lady’s face.)

Me: “Because I don’t work here. I, like you, am a customer. I’m not bound to help you, and you shouldn’t just assume that everyone in a shirt and tie is a manager.”

(The woman stares at the badge, and then looks to me, before looking back at the manager.)

Woman: “I’m still going to complain.”

Manager: “Yeah, see how well that works out for you. ‘Oh, yes, I was at [Big Chain Store] and asked a customer to help me, and they told me they wouldn’t help me. So I’m complaining about rude customers like myself.’”

(She caved at that point and sulked away.)


I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 20

, | Right | July 7, 2016

(My boyfriend and I are at a shoe store finding new sneakers for me. He is a police officer and is wearing one of his many shirts from the department.)

Me: “So anyway, what color looks better? The blue or the green?”

Boyfriend: “I like the blue.”

Customer: *seeming to randomly shout at us* “I NEED THESE IN A 7½!”

(We both look at a blonde-haired female pointing at the newest shoes.)

Boyfriend: “What?”

Customer: “Are you deaf? I WANT A 7½!”

Boyfriend: “What?”


Boyfriend: “Are you serious?”

Customer: “OH, MY GOD! ARE YOU A F****** DUMB A**? GET ME MY SHOES!”

Boyfriend: *pointing at his obviously police related shirt* “You seriously think I work here?”


Me: “Then why are you here?”

(By this point two sales associates have shown up and are trying to figure out what to say.)

Sales Associate: *wearing a very obviously different shirt than my boyfriend* “What’s the problem?”

Boyfriend: “She—“


Sales Associate: “He doesn’t even work here. Can I get something for you?”


Me: “We tried, but I didn’t think you were as stupid as you really are. Apparently their shirts don’t tell you SOMETHING?”

Customer: “This is the worst service I’ve ever f****** had! F*** you guys.”

(The customer storms out.)

Me: “Soooooo…”

Boyfriend: “So, yes, sir. I’d still like to buy these shoes for my girlfriend.”