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Why Not Just Come Out And Say You Own The Staff At This Point… 

, , , , | Right | July 19, 2021

Some years ago, I worked in the public library in a small-ish town and, as I am somewhat distinctive looking, a lot of library users would recognise me in other settings and approach me to chat with me about the library or ask me where we had met. I had a few run-ins where people tried to return their library books to me while I was working out at the gym and such, but this was the most memorable experience.

I am browsing in a high street clothes shop when an older woman with an armful of clothes taps me, unnecessarily firmly, on the shoulder and waves a dress at me.

Woman: “Find me this in a size fourteen.”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t work here.”

I turn to walk away but she grabs my shoulder.

Woman: “Yes, you do! I recognise you! You’re from that book shop!”

Me: “I work in the library, but—”

Woman: *Yelling* “So find me this in a bloody size fourteen!”

Her shouting has attracted the attention of a couple of the actual employees of the shop, who approach us to see what’s wrong.

Staff Member: “Ma’am, please lower your voice. I can help you.”

Woman: “I don’t want you! I want this rude b**** to do it!”

Staff Member: “She doesn’t work here.”

Woman: “She works somewhere! That means she works for me!”

At this point, several people who were earwigging nearby burst out laughing, and the sound took some of the wind out of the woman’s sails. I seized the opportunity and fled to a different section of the store. As I was at the checkout, one of the staff members approached me and asked me about the incident. He told me that the woman had done the same thing before, when she’d targeted an older man who was a volunteer in the charity shop across the street.

I understand people occasionally making this mistake; surely it happens a lot. But acknowledging that I work somewhere else and still expecting me to serve her, as if all people who work in front line customer services are some sort of interchangeable mass? Crazy.

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