None of my “I don’t work here” stories have satisfying endings or anything like that so I figured I’d just bundle them into one post and hope it makes for an interesting read.
**Story 1**The first one happened when I was managing a little mom and pop hobby shop while I was in college. We were located in a shopping plaza between a paint store and a discount store. My store didn’t have a uniform and since I often worked with lithium grease and dirty tires (I was also the RC tech) I just wore old T-shirts to work.The discount store’s uniform was a red t-shirt with the store’s name on it. On this particular day I went shopping at the discount store for some new bedding after work. I was wearing a dirty, blue t-shirt and jeans with my keys clipped to the belt loop, carrying my messenger bag (for school) and had a hand basket hanging off my arm as I rifled through bed sheet sets. That’s when I first encountered the Clueless Shopper (CS) coming around from the next aisle.
CS: “Is this all you have?”Me: *not paying attention because why would I?*
CS: “Excuse me?! Do you have any more of these pillows in the back? There’s only one here!”
Me: *looking around before realizing she was talking to me* “I don’t know, I don’t work here. You could ask at the counter.”
CS: “You don’t work here?”
Me: “No, I don’t.”
CS: “Well-,” she paused for a bit as if thinking of what to say, “you shouldn’t wear your keys like that. You make people think you work here.”
I didn’t say anything else to her and just kept browsing sheet sets but I could see her standing there for a little bit, staring at me before walking away, presumably, to find an employee. **I don’t know, do only retail staff use carabiners for their keys?**
The second happened under sadder circumstances. My grandmother got set up with hospice care in 2017 and this place was lovely to her and to us. When walking in, there was a security/check in desk, past that was beautiful indoor patio with a fountain in the center surrounded by plants, on the other side of the patio was the nurses station with the family room next to it (behind this station is where the rooms were located). The family room walls were all glass, there was a couch and TV, bathroom, a mini kitchen with a mini breakfast bar and a fridge. Since we were a big family most of us stayed in the family room while others took shifts in grandma’s room. Families were welcome to make coffee or bring in food and keep it in the fridge for their loved ones, etc. That’s where I was: I was sipping on my cup of coffee and eating tamales at the breakfast bar with a cousin on either side of me when I looked up and saw her, the Clueless Griever. She locked eyes with me through the glass wall, across the patio, as she was making her way in from the check-in station. I was not in the mood so I made sure to look away and not look back at her, but that didn’t stop her. She skipped the nurses station and came into the family room, right up to me.
CG: “Can you heat up my coffee here?”
CG: “I have a coffee in the car, can you heat it up?”
I looked around at my cousins, thinking maybe I snapped and was imagining this ludicrous experience. They were staring right back at me, confused as heck.
Me: “I don’t understand what you want from me?”
CG: *aggravated* “I bought a coffee at McDonald’s this morning and it’s cold now. If I bring it in can *you* heat if up for me *here*?”
Realizing she thought I was a server or something (but how??) – still grieving but not wanting to hurt her feelings in case she was grieving, too, I said:
Me: “Yes, they have a microwave here,” while pointing at it, “you can use that to heat it up.”
I then walked away and sat on the couch next to my aunts, still sipping on my own coffee. I could see her staring at me out of the corner of my eye before she awkwardly made her way out of the building. She did come back in to reheat her coffee and I was careful not to make eye contact again. I was in my pajamas for that one.
Last year my boyfriend’s truck was giving us a lot of trouble so we found ourselves in an auto parts store one day. I had just gotten off work and was still in uniform: red t-shirt, khaki pants, Disney smile. The uniform of this particular parts store, however, was black slacks and a gray polo shirt – nothing even close to mine. My boyfriend had found what he was looking for and we joined the line of about 8 people. The store is tiny so it looks like a lot of people and the person at the single open register is getting some detailed service. My boyfriend and I don’t mind waiting but we can tell some of the people ahead of us are getting impatient. We were at the back of the line so I took the opportunity to get in some cuddle time and clung to his arm as we stood there, waiting. That’s when he walked in, the Clueless Guy. The Clueless Guy walked in, grabbed something from one of the displays near the door and looked over to the line. I made the mistake of making eye contact, but I should have been safe, right? A girl clinging to the arm of a guy at the back of the line wearing red and khaki should be safe from the cluelessness, right? Wrong. CG walked right on over to me:
CG: “Can you open another register?”
CG: “The line is long, can you open another register?”
I thought, maybe, he was asking if another register was open and I was just misunderstanding him because… WTF?
Me: “This line is for the only register open right now, they only have one open.”
CG: *impatient* “You can’t open another register?”
Me: “No? We don’t work here.”
That was when he looked at my boyfriend, back to me, saw the arm clinging, passed his eyes over the line, said nothing, put whatever it was back on the display and left.
Sometimes I think there might be something wrong with me, but my boyfriend assures me there’s something wrong with *them.* God, I hope he’s right.