This happened several weeks ago. I came home from work and wanted to strike something off of my to-do list in the garage. This required some specific types of screws so I planned to head to the hardware store. As I had just gotten home from work, my fiancee decided she wanted to come too.
For whatever reason, I live in a vast desert with respect to hardware stores. We tried one, and they actually didn’t have any hardware aside from pre-assembled packs meant to help you hang pictures. We tried another and found the specific type we needed only to discover the bin was empty. Now, 3 hardware stores and 1.5 hours into our adventure we ended up at a supply corporation for tractors.
I went immediately to the hardware isle and began searching. At this point my fiancee was no longer interested in making this a joint venture and wandered off to look at tractoring clothes.
After an unspecified amount of time I found exactly what I needed, emerged, and walked towards the tractor clothing section. She saw me coming and called out to me “did you find everything you need?” Her question was immediately answered. But not by me… Queue very uncomfortable looking young man. Maybe 20 years old. He had several examples of carpenter and Carhartt work pants slung over his arm. By the looks of him I’m assuming he was about to embark on a brand new adventure in manual labor and only owned clothing that was never meant to actually be washed.
“Well actually ma’am, I was wondering if you carried…” He started
Slightly surprised, my fiancee cuts him off, “Oh actually, I was asking him.” She clearly hadn’t caught what is happening. I shrug awkwardly as he tries to apologize. But she isn’t done…
“Do you need help with something?” See, she didn’t realize she had been mistaken for a worker based on her token “I work here” first question. This prompts the uncomfortable-looking young man to again launch into the spiel he had been rehearsing for an actual employee.
“Oh yes. I found these pants but I need them in size…”
“I could try to get someone for you…” She cuts him off again.
“Oh well, if you could just…”
After the third attempt I finally step in. “She actually doesn’t work here. We are here together and she was just asking if I was ready to leave…”
His face suddenly reflects his moment of realization. He mutters something including a “sorry” and quickly heads to the service counters. After we checked out I waited until we were in the parking lot before dropping the bomb: “you know he thought you worked there, right? You kept giving the poor guy an in to keep assuming you were an employee”
She had no idea… Whatever, he was pleasant. I feel a little sorry that we dragged out the awkwardness. I sure do hope what I assume is his new construction or landscaping job is working out for him (unless I totally misread the situation too and heavy duty reinforced pocket-saturated pants are just “in” right now)
P.s. if you look up synonyms for tractor it gives you stuff about caterpillars. Weird..