Never a boring day on the “job!” People on Quora and Reddit share when they were mistaken for employees while out and about. Content has been edited for clarity.
What Was The Manager Going To Do About It?
“On my way home from work one morning, I got a flat tire. I was tired and aggravated. The one thing I wanted to do was go to bed, but I needed a new tire. So I drove to the local Sears.
Now I work for a railroad. That day, I was wearing a work uniform that looked a lot like the ones the automotive employees wear. The only difference was mine had my company name on it.
So being tired and aggravated, I decide to have a smoke. Then my phone rang and I answered it. As I was having my smoke and on the phone with a friend, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was a lady rattling her keys in my face.
Lady: ‘Take my car around and start working on it.’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t work here. If you go inside, I am sure someone will help you.’
Lady: ‘Don’t lie to me. I see your shirt.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, I work for a railroad. A lot of blue-collar workers wear shirts like this. Mine has my company name on it.’
Lady: ‘Don’t lie to me. Do you want me to get your manager?’
Me: ‘Whatever floats your boat.’
My friend was on the line the whole time. He was laughing really hard. So we made our plans for the night and then I put my phone away.
So a few minutes later, the manager of the service department came out with the lady.
Lady: ‘That is the person right there.’
Manager: ‘That person is a customer. Their shirt says what company they work for.’
Lady: ‘Quit lying to me. I know they work here. I want them fired.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, I DO NOT WORK HERE! I WORK FOR A RAILROAD. I WORKED LAST NIGHT, I AM TIRED, AGGRAVATED, AND NOW I AM MAD! LEAVE ME ALONE.’
She walked off in a huff. I had another smoke to calm down and a few minutes later the manager came out and told me my car is finished.
As I went back in to pay, the lady came back one last time. This time she had the General Manager. The GM explains to us what the lady said. Then I spoke up.
Me: ‘I was having a smoke. She walked up to me, rattling her keys in my face for me to work on her car. I explained to her twice I do not work here. The manager explained it to her. Honestly,, if she listened to me in the first place, her car would be worked on already and possibly be finished. I guess she is too stupid to realize this.’
The GM looked at her and then me. Then he kicked her out. Plus, he gave me a nice discount on the tires I bought. As for the lady, I saw her a few months later, in another store doing the exact same thing to somebody who did not work in that store. Knowing her MO, I waited for the person while she found a manager. When she came back, I explained to the manager what she did to me a few months previously. That time the police were called. Not by the manager but by her. Soon she was led out of the store. I haven’t seen her since.”
That Was A Nice Offer
“I live in a large city, over one million, and rather than buy wood for my bar-b-q and fireplace, I watch for tree removal and salvage local material. Our plant waste is removed one cubic yard per week, and therefore most homeowners are more than willing to allow others to salvage wood so it does not harm their grass. It is a win-win situation.
At a nearby home, a large tree had been removed which was conveniently on the road leading to my home. The tree was close to 80 feet tall and four-feet through at the largest point prior to removal. The branches were the size of normal trees, but it was rotten in the center. I received permission to take as much mood as I wanted. Every day I carried a maul, which is a sledgehammer-ax combination for splitting wood, and would immediately load split pieces.
During this work, a wild Karen stopped and asked if the wood was for sale. I advised it was free. Karen pulled over, exited the vehicle, inspected the pile, eventually admiring my truckload. She wanted me to remove the wood from my Xterra and put it in her vehicle. I said no, that would not do and once it was in my truck it wasn’t coming out, but I would begin splitting wood and help her load it… which apparently was not good enough. She tried to make me feel bad, but I advised providing any help is more than required. She resorted to rude comments, and I advised she could then split and load her own wood.
Thought that was the end when she left angrily, but no. Law enforcement arrived on the scene within 15 minutes having received a report, asking if I were making money.
To which I replied, ‘No, making chicken and ribs.’
The officers laughed at that. I explained Karen’s action’s and we laughed a bit more, and they asked when I would bar-b-q, and I said this weekend, just follow the good smells for a heaping plate.”
At Least He Made A New Friend
“So it was a Saturday and I needed some plumbing supplies. I was in one of the most intimidating aisles for a lot of people, it’s got all the copper, tap, and toilet fittings. I had got all the items I required, and I’d been there a good 20 minutes. I could see an older gent struggling and trying to work out what he needed. I caught his eye and he waves me over enthusiastically, I grabbed what he needed for a leaky cistern and instructed him how to install it. He thanked me and left. As I was about to leave, another old gent waves at me and asked me for help. I showed him a direct replacement for his tap washes, but then proceed to show him a ceramic fitting that basically makes sure he never has to replace washes again. He balked at the price but I convinced him to get it.
As I’m about to leave with the gent, a wild Karen appeared from behind me, silent as a mouse. But mousy she is not. She was screeching at me, ‘Oi you, I want these items.’
As I turned, she shoved a list in my face. Now if she had smiled at me and asked politely, I would have happily helped her.
But no. I smiled and politely declined.
‘Sorry, I don’t work here,’ I said, indicating my clothes. I had got a blue singlet on, blue cargo shorts (pockets full with plumbing products). Staff wear red and green. So I turned and proceeded to leave. Karen reached out her claw-like hand and tried to turn me towards her, but I slipped out of her grasp.
‘You helped him (indicating the old fella still standing next to me), you work here. Don’t lie to me,’ she screamed.
‘Ma’am, I don’t work here,’ I attempted my best withering gaze, ‘I’ll let the counter know you need help and they will send someone along.’
I made a hasty retreat with the old gent.
Karen was hot on my tail, screaming at the top of her lungs calling me a few names. I ignored her and I think this has infuriated her more. She tried a couple of times to get a hold of me but I’ve struggled it off, once of which she loses her footing and trips, this enables me to get the heck out of dodge. I could hear her lumbering along on my heels, screeching like a velociraptor.
A member of staff (Lets call her ‘S’) intercepted Karen and asked her to stop screaming. Karen pointed to me and started ranting about me, calling me names, and making up a story about me being rude and assaulting her. Clearly as soon as she says assault, the situation has now escalated and she’s in for a very big surprise.
S turned to me and rolled her eyes. She knew this was going to be a long one…. I did too. I turned to the old gent and told him to get in line because this was going to be awhile. He told me it’s fine, I’ll need a witness (my heart burst a little).
So security was called. I had a quick conversation with the manager and relayed the events that have unfolded. The old man relayed the same thing. I also indicated that there are multiple security cameras around the place. I ask the manager if she can remind Karen that there is multiple security cameras around…
Police get called anyway, and unlucky for her (no time to recant) there was already a patrol car in the parking lot (they just had lunch). They isolated us (me, old fella and Karen) and did a quick interview.
So I was chilling in the office (60ish minutes), officers came in and had reviewed the tapes and asked if I wanted to press any charges. I declined and they let me go, the manager was waiting for me and walked me to the checkout, let me know Karen was getting a lifetime ban (didn’t know they even did that). I pay for my plumbing supplies with a trade discount (yah?). As I was walking to the exit I saw the old fella sitting on the bench. He got up and asked me if I want a sausage. We had a good laugh over sausage with onions and a coke. I offer to come over and fit the tap washes for him and we organized a time for me to drop by.
As I was getting in my car, Karen emerged with the cops and the manager. She looked distressed, at least she’s not in cuffs. I know she did not have many options. So I drove by as she ‘talking’ to someone on the phone and rolled down my window, ‘Hey, see across the road the sign that says R—–, they are a trade plumbing supplies store. If you go there and don’t be a brat, they will have everything on your list.'”
They Were Wearing The Same Thing
“I went to this technology store in a mall, the workers in this store do not have a uniform. They have to keep up a fairly good appearance, clean shoes, no profanity and such on shirts and just presentable but otherwise just have a casual attire. The one thing to distinguish they work there is these bright, yellow, neon lanyards.
I went in the store by myself to look at the headphones, listen to the music playing on them to see if they’re a good fit and how they sound then delicately put them back. I was wearing a gray shirt and black pants, which just so happens to be the attire of someone else who’s working currently.
I was approached by this larger woman who gave me a stern look, I thought maybe she just wanted to test the headphones too and move to another shelf.
‘Excuse me?!’ she said.
I didn’t know she was talking to me so I kept looking at the current shelf til I got two hard taps on my shoulder
‘EXCUSE ME?!’ she yelled.”
‘Oh, I’m sorry. Am I in your way?’ I asked.
‘I need some assistance,’ she told me.
‘Assistance?’ I asked, confused.
‘YES!’ she screeched.
‘Did you need some help with some headphones?’ I inquired.
‘NO! I need to look at this camera in the display shelf,’ she told me.
I looked behind her and saw the display shelf.
‘You’ll need someone to open it up for you. There’s a worker over there,’ I said as I was trying to walk away.
I pointed at a worker standing next to the computers, chatting to a customer and resume browsing.
‘EXCUSE ME?! DO YOUR JOB!’ she roared.
‘My…job?’ I asked, totally lost.
‘YES, WHERE IS YOUR LANYARD?! DON’T YOU PEOPLE WEAR LANYARDS?! I SAW YOU EARLIER AND YOU WERE WEARING A LANYARD!’ she screeched.
Admittedly, I was kind of confused. I’m a cleaner at a hotel and the master key I use is on a lanyard which I never take off at work but I had travelled two hours away from home/the hotel to this mall.
‘Do…you know me?’ I asked in a small voice.
She went red, her eyes bulged so large I thought they were going to fall out.
‘WHY WOULD I KNOW YOU?! YOU WORK IN SOME COMPUTER STORE AND ARE WASTING MY TIME! GET YOUR LANYARD! WHERE IS IT?!’ she yelled.
Of course, this scene got the eyes and ears of other customers and a worker, a worker wearing a gray shirt, black pants and a lanyard.
‘Is everything okay over here?’ the worker said.
She turned and stopped, she turned back to me, face red and eyes bulging, back to the worker.
Let me tell you, the worker and I looked nothing alike. I was much shorter than him, and my hair is what I like to call a contained mess while his actually knew what a hairbrush was. We both were just wearing a similar outfit.
‘But…I…’ she stammered.
‘Do you need help with something?’ the worker asked.
She didn’t even reply, she just walked past me and left the store. The worker asked if everything was okay and I explained, we both had a laugh out of it and he rung me up and I left with my new headphones.”
Hard To Do A Job When You Don’t Work There
“So, there were about three carts in a parking space across from where I parked in the Walmart Parking lot, and I was loading my groceries in the trunk. Lady went to pull into the space with three carts and stopped, honked. Waited. Honked again.
Then got out and shouted at me, ‘Why won’t you just do your job. Get these carts out of the way!’
As she was moving them violently, I told her, ‘I don’t work here.’
She replied, ‘Couldn’t tell, how the heck should I know that? You should have done it anyway.’
I replied, ‘You should pucker up on my puckered parts because I don’t work here and I didn’t put the carts there. Find another spot instead of cussing out a stranger.’
She replied, ‘I’m going to talk to management.’
I replied, ‘Be my guest.’
Have never laughed harder than when I drove past the entrance to see the woman standing there with someone who appeared to be a manager, pointing angrily at me.”
Being Nice Goes A Long Way
“So this was back in August, I just moved to the city and had just started working at a bank. I didn’t have the company apparel yet but had a good amount of business clothes, plus I like dressing nice. I was done early that day and downtown was on the train ride home, I figured I’d stop to do some clothes shopping.
I was shopping around the store in the business attire section (in my business attire, one could guess why there would be confusion) and this lady (who only spoke Spanish) asked if I spoke Spanish and if I could help her. I said yes and asked what she needed.
Lady: ‘Sabes donde están las maletas?’ (Do you know where the suitcases are?)
Me: ‘Perdón señora, yo no trabajo aquí, pero creo que están en el primer piso.’ (Sorry ma’am, I don’t work here. But I think they’re on the first floor)
We both laughed and she commented on how nice my clothes looked, it made me blush a little (I’m self conscious), then she thanked me for helping her.
A few seconds later, another lady came up to me in a not-so-nice way, demanding I get her another coat with matching pants in such size, asking why we had suits mixed up, and specifically to get her a dressing room.
I explained to her, I didn’t know anything about suits, I just wear them, and I didn’t work there.
Mean Lady: ‘Of course you work here, why else would you be dressed like that?’
Me: ‘Because I like dressing nice, and frankly it’s none of your business.’
ML: ‘Well I saw you helping the other lady! Stop lying.’
Me: ‘Because she was nice, maybe you should try it every once in a while.’
At this point, one of the actual workers saw what was going on and intervened. We both happened to be in the changing room (different stalls) and she started going off on the phone about how a ‘rude employee’ refused to help her.
When I was done trying on new suits (I went with black this time), she was talking to the manager about me, and exclaimed, ‘That short one!’ when I walked by!
The manager was like, ‘Who is that dude?'”
Yeah, They Weren’t Talking To You
“Back in March, I’d just gotten off my late shift (the dealer I was with at the time was open till 7). On the way home I stopped at a store to get some groceries for dinner along with flowers for my dad and stuff to make a cake for my mum’s birthday. When I go shopping, I usually put in my Bluetooth earbuds as I don’t want to talk to people, and it helps deter those annoying cable/internet/power salespeople that roam the aisles of this store. My headphones at the time were a pair of Adidas Adistar by Monster. They were Bluetooth with a cord between the two and a little inline controller on the right side (this is relevant later).
Now I was in the store, it’s about 7.25pm, and I had my earbuds in. I was in the baking aisle looking for caster sugar and I noticed someone off to my right. I didn’t think anything of it, it’s a steady evening for them (this location is always busy). I finally settled on some sugar and went to reach for it when I felt a sharp pain in my ears, followed by someone yelling at me.
I turned and yelled ‘What the heck? and I was face to face with a woman maybe 40ish, about my height (5’10).
She was dressed quite smartly, high heel boots, leggings, an expensive looking coat, shoulder-length hair, earrings that look painfully heavy, yelling at me and holding my headphones. She had grabbed the controller and yanked them out as I couldn’t hear her talking at me. She started telling me off, it’s very unprofessional for me to be wearing headphones while working, how dare I talk to her like that, and she’s been trying to get my attention as she needed me to fetch her something. I snapped back I didn’t work and demanded my earbuds back. She responded I obviously do from how I’m dressed and I’m just lazy, then looked at my headphones in her hand with a smirk. She proceeded to throw them on the ground and start stomping on them! I was furious and start shouting at her, asking her what made her think I worked there.
At this point, a crowd had started to gather at either end of the aisle to see what all the commotion was. I guess an employee had heard something and called a manager or security, as someone in a white business shirt with a company lanyard around their neck came down the aisle to break us up and see what was happening. She immediately started going off at him about how lazy and unprofessional his employees are, and how she wanted to talk to corporate. He turned to me and starts to ask why I was ignoring her and wouldn’t help her, when he noticed my shirt.
‘You don’t work here, do you?’ he asked, as he was staring at me.
‘No, I work at (insert dealer name) up the road… I’m just here to pick up a few things and this psycho attacked me.’ I said.
He apologized and asked me if she hurt me, and I responded just my ears when she yanked the earbuds out and then stomped them. He turned to her, picks my headphones up and told her he does not approve of violence in his store and authorities are already on their way (police station is 1.5 miles from the store). He asked me to check my headphones to see if they work. Shocker, they don’t. When she yanked the controller it must have damaged the wires, as the right one cuts in and out. I say as much. We were then walked to the front of the store by Customer Service, and sure enough two officers were standing by the counter.
They took statements from both of us (her flailing her arms about as she gave hers). One of the officers then went with the store manager to review the cameras. The entire time we were waiting with the officer, she kept mouthing off how I’m going to get in so much trouble when she’s proven right and innocent, and she hoped that lead me off in cuffs. The officer with us just told her to be quiet till they were done.
The manager and officer come back out after a few minutes and the officer asked, ‘Would you like to press charges?’
She started going, ‘Yes, please officer, I don’t want someone like this out in public.’
His response, ‘I was actually talking to him,’ while gesturing to me. I said yes I would as my ears still hurt and she broke my earbuds. She was spluttering and coughing like my little classic car on a cold morning, whining she’s the victim. They ask me if I colud verify the amount the headphones cost when I bought them new as she’ll be required to reimburse me.
In the end, she had to give me the $100 the earbuds had cost me new, which went towards my new Klipsch McLaren Edition T5 earbuds, and they walked her out of the store. They gave me the flowers for my father’s grave site and a cake for my mum’s birthday as an apology. It didn’t end there though. She called the dealer I work at (because their name was embroidered on my shirt) to complain about me and the trouble I caused her. They called me into the owners’ office to tell me I caused a lot of drama over nothing and it made the dealer look bad and basically to not do it again (I wasn’t fired) But that dealer was a terrible place to work so I quit about five months later, and I’ve since changed dealerships to the Big Blue Oval.”
No One Noticed
“I played along with it while shopping for shoes. A lady asked me to measure her son’s feet and find the size shoe she was holding in her hand in the back. Her son was a younger teen who I noticed had big feet. Well, at least the beat-up shoes he was wearing. He sat down and I pulled them off. The ankle socks he was wearing were dingy and had a big hole near his right big toe and a similar hole near his left big toe. At least his toes were clean, pedicured and didn’t smell that bad.
I ended up peeling off his socks and measuring his bare feet. I had to take another measurement because from his big toe to his heel, I measured 14. Wow!
The shoe his mom wanted was out of stock, so instead just bought a pair of designer flops for his bare feet. I put his dingy shoes and socks in the box because he liked wearing the flops. I thanked her and said to pay upfront. I guess no one really found out.”
He Actually Did It
“I was at dinner in a decent restaurant in LA – I was wearing a suit but had taken my jacket off and wasn’t wearing a tie, so it was black shoes/pants and a white shirt. I went to the bathroom and was passing this table and this guy grabbed my arm as I was walking past and said, ‘Sorry, could you find out where our drink is – we asked you ages ago.’
At this point I hadn’t realized I resembled the staff in this place and was a bit shell-shocked, so I said ‘Sure,’ and went for a pee.
On my way back I thought I’d be a dutiful human being and go tell the barman, as it was on my way, that this guy hadn’t had his drink.
The barman slapped his forehead and said, ‘Hang on,’ and gave me a glass of white to take to him, which I did and apologized for the delay and the guy appreciated it too. Then I sat down and went on with my dinner.”
It Was Nice To Help Out The Woman
“I was at Target right after work. I had on a red polo and khakis and it had my company name embroidered on it that starts with a T. I was doing some networking stuff so I wasn’t wearing my normal dress clothes. I forget what I was buying but I had my cart full and my purse over my shoulder.
A woman asked me where the laundry detergent was. I am used to this, so I just told her it was down a few aisles. This woman lost her ever loving mind on me, saying I was a horrible employee, I should know where everything is in my store, I will never be paid above minimum wage because I am so dumb. She wanted my name, my supervisor’s name and the number to corporate.
It was after her rant that I politely informed her, ‘Ma’am, I don’t work here. I was just telling you where I saw it while shopping for my own stuff.’
She didn’t believe me and went to find a manager. I went to the checkout. I guess she found a manager and brought him to where I was checking out. Started demanding that he reprimand me.
He then informed her I didn’t in fact work there. She was flabbergasted and just walked away. No apology no nothing. The manager however did apologize to me. I told him no problem, not his fault. ‘You can’t fix stupid.'”