"I Swear I Don't Work Here": People Who Were Mistaken For Employees Share What Happened

"You think I work here... but I don't..."

These Redditors tried to explain themselves, but the customers wouldn't take no for an answer!

[Source listed at the end of the article.]

A while ago while I was on my break from the retail store that I work at. I was shopping in the electronics store directly next to the store I work at. I was wearing the store uniform, which is a very distinctive red and khaki with a jacket on top, as well as my name tag which very clearly states what store I work at. Anyways, enter Angry Mom and her 4 kids.

I hear this piercing whistle from behind me a few times so I looked over my shoulder because dang it was loud. And this lady is barreling towards me with her kids in tow. As I turned to her to see what all the hustle and whistling was about she grabbed my wrist and knocked my phone out of my hand. I then look down and can see glass shards everywhere as the phone is smashed. So I give her a No you didn't look to which she responded by screaming that employees should not be texting while working and that I should be ashamed of keeping her waiting because I was texting.

I then turned away and she kicked my ankle like really hard as I walked away. I tripped, sprained my ankle, face-planted and nailed my shoulder on the shelving. Her kids started laughing and pointing. About this point was when an employee arrived and was able to help me up and see if I was ok.

Now she finally thinks for a second and a whole new look came over her face as she realized that I dont work at this store in the first place. Then another new look as I told the employee to call the police. She started pleading with me that it was just a mistake and that she was just having a bad day.

Long story short: she was arrested on assault charges and eventually had to first replace my phone. Second, she was required to do 350 hours of community service. Third, I was awarded a decent sum of money as compensation. So it turned out okay, and I got a good story out of it.


This happened yesterday. I was in Canadian Tire, for all of you non-Canadians It's like a mix between a WalMart, a home depot, a bass pro shops, and an auto shop. I was wearing jeans and an old red polo shirt. The employees there wear black pants and a red polo with a triangle and maple leaf logo on the chest.

I was getting wipers for my car because mine aren't clearing the rain off my window anymore, when I hear someone behind me say "excuse me." I think she wants to use the screen to figure out what wiper to buy, so I move to the section that has the wiper brand I'm interested in and start looking for the size I need.

I'm poking through the wipers when I hear, "Why did you walk away from me, that's very rude." I didn't even know she was talking to me at this point. So I kept looking at wipers. 

"This is unbelievable! I'm talking to you."

I finally click in that I'm the one she's talking to. So I turn to face her, "You talking to me?"

HER: "Yeah you. I need to know what size wiper to get for my Mercedes."

ME: "That's what the screen is for." I said as I gesture towards it with the wiper in my hand and go back to searching.

HER: "You are terrible at your job, this isn't proper customer service." 

ME: " Umm, I don't work here. I'm gonna go back to this now."

HER: "I want to speak to your manager right now. This isn't how you treat customers. Ignoring me and refusing to help me, its disgraceful." At this point she kind of stomps off, but only a few aisles away. She just does a few laps of the aisles around where I am, she's looking all over the place for a manager but not going far, I think so she doesn't lose sight of me.

I'm going to check out at the cashier when she steps in front of me.

HER: "No! You're not allowed to leave until I speak to your manager about you!"

I've had enough, so I pull out my phone and call my manager. I'm self-employed, so I call the one person in my life who could reasonably be called my manager. My wife, henceforth referred to as BOSS. I put it on speaker phone so this woman can hear.

ME: "Hey, how's the trip going? (She's on a business trip) Hey, there's a lady here that wants to speak to my boss, can you talk to her?"

HER: "What? Honey, what are you talking about, am I on speaker phone?"

I watch the lady's face change as it dawns on her that I don't have a store logo on my shirt, and that maybe I'm not an employee.

I managed to get my wipers and leave the store after that without any further incident. My wife thinks I was mean to her. I say I was just fighting ridiculousness with more ridiculousness.


So I went to the grocery store today on my lunch break from work. I was shopping for ingredients to make hard apple cider. I found the only apple juice without preservatives and loaded up my cart with a dozen half gallon bottles and kept them in their cardboard boxes so they would be easier to transport. A woman noticed the boxes of apple juice in my cart and asked where I had found them. I walked her over to the apple juice display where she thanked me. Another woman immediately came up to me and asked,

"You used to have these candy apples in the store but I can't find them. Where are they?"

I had no idea where they were so I said, "I'm sorry, I don't know - I don't work here."

Her eyes narrowed and she responded, "What do you mean you don't work here? I just saw you help that other person."

Now, I am in a t-shirt and corduroy pants and don't look at all as if I would be working at this store. I could tell that this was not going to go well no matter what I said, but I attempted to be polite, "I'm sorry, ma'am. She asked me where I had found this apple juice so I showed her. I don't actually work here."

"What do you mean you don't work here?!"

"I don't work here. I am a customer, like you."

"Just tell me where the candy apples are!"

At this point it was getting weird. "I really don't know where the candy apples are. I don't work here."


"It means that I don't work at this store. I don't know where the candy apples are. I am a customer like you."

"THEN WHY ARE YOU STOCKING THE SHELVES?!" She indicated the boxes in my cart filled with apple juice."

"I am shopping I am going to buy what is in my cart..."

"NOBODY NEEDS THAT MUCH JUICE! YOU WORK HERE AND YOU NEED TO TELL ME WHERE THE CANDY APPLES ARE!" At this point everyone around us had stopped and were staring.

A store shelf stocker came over and said, "Ma'am, the candy apples were a seasonal item and I'm afraid we are sold out."

The woman glared at the employee, and then me and said, "WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME THAT?!"

"He doesn't work here, Ma'am."

The woman then roared in exasperation, pushed her cart into an aisle display of canned food, knocking it over and screamed, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!! I AM NEVER COMING BACK!"

She stormed out of the store, fuming. The employee gave me with a WTF look, which I returned, then I proceeded to checkout.


My local grocery store has a three-level subterranean parking structure. There are signs everywhere reminding employees that they must park on the third (lowest) level.

I usually park on the second floor down because there are more spots open closer to the elevator.

I park my car on the second level like I always do, I get out and am immediately scolded, "EMPLOYEES THIRD FLOOR!"

Somehow this security guard got it in his head that I worked at the grocery store. I wasn't wearing anything remotely close to the all black uniform.

I tried to explain but he wasn't having it. He said I'll be towed out of the garage if I didn't move immediately. I told him he'd probably regret that.

Sure enough, when I return from doing my shopping my car is gone. Knowing exactly what happened, I go back into the store and quietly ask for a manger as I think 'my car may have been stolen'.

While my groceries are melting, they bring in the building manager and he asks if I've called the police. I ask to see if there's anything on tape just to be sure before we get authorities involved. He agrees and sure enough we watch the guard call in a tow truck.

Building manager lets out an "oh crap" and calls the store's head manger. Head manager comes in and the three of us watch the tape again. Head manager apologizes profusely and tells me he will make this right.

Guard is called in and asked to explain himself. He couldn't articulate why he thought I was an employee and STARTED CRYING. He is fired on the spot.

The manager personally drives me to the impound lot and pays to get my car out. He asks me to meet him back at the store as he wants to make everything right.

We get back and he refunds my purchase while letting me keep the stuff I had in my cart, AND I got to replace whatever had thawed or melted. After more apologies and thanks for my patience, I'm given a credit voucher for $300 for my "time and trouble."


So, this happened about 4 years ago.

On lunch from work, I went to a clothing store in the UK. I was casually browsing the shirts and completely in a world of my own.

I must have been looking around the same area for a few minutes when I felt a presence to the right of me. Now, this isn't unusual, busy store, middle of lunch time and a fairly tight space between the clothes rails.

I get fed up of looking at the shirts, and turn to walk away, only to hear:


I turn to see the man that was stood close to me with a look of sheer terror in his eyes, staring at me for a moment in disbelief. This confused me, a lot.

I was about to ask if everything was okay and this guy's terror turns to a relieved laugh. Covering his face and turning quite red at the scene he'd just made in a busy store, he said:

"I thought you were a mannequin."


This happened maybe a year ago. 

I attend a university where they have this shuttle system in place during the weekends. I work in the cafeteria at the university, and the uniform we have to wear is dark pants , a royal blue shirt that pertains to the university, and any hat or hair-net.

This all is important to mention because the story takes place immediately after I left the dinner shift on a Friday night. I needed a few items so I headed to the very large store location near my house, of a very large retail store chain. I grabbed a cart and began shopping.

Not even five minutes in, I heard a lady sighing in annoyance. I was too tired from class and work to think properly, so I didn't even look over. I just wanted to grab my items and leave.

This was a wrong move, as I soon found out, because she decided that I had disrespected not only her, but her entire family of past and future.

She tapped on my shoulder rather forcefully (I think I even had a bruise there for a week) while clearing her throat in the most "a-hem" sarcastic way. I looked up to see this very angry woman giving me a death stare.

M: "Can I help you?" Woman: "Well it's about time you do your job! I've been trying to get your attention for hours!"

Things escalate from there, as of course she insists I must be an employee even though I say I'm not. Instead of trying to argue with her, I put on the most retail smile I can manage (I've worked retail before so I'm trained for this), and make my voice just as tooth-rottingly sweet. 

She's looking for a specific brand of dog food, so I tell her a far-away aisle: "Aisle 12-B."

She left, somewhat satisfied, and I returned to my shopping. 

Nearly 40 customers asked for help that day. I tried to reexplain at first, but none of them were having any part of reality apparently. I told all of them, whatever they asked for, "Aisle 12-B."

The manager stopped me as I headed for the exit and to get back on the shuttle. Enough people must have complained to get her on my tail, because she looked positively livid.

"You don't need to bother coming in for your next shift. You're being let go for not being a team player and for misleading customers."

I only looked at her with a look that probably expressed how dead inside I was at that point. "I don't work here..." 

The manager looked at me, studying as her angered expression softened. "Oh, so that's why you don't look familiar." She just watched me, still confused, as I walked through the automatic doors and into the night, finally free.


Today my family and I went out for lunch at your local super-casual-dining-restaurant-chain. This is one of those places where you order at the counter, and collect your own food to take back to your table. No servers whatsoever.

So I went to pick up my family's order (five of us eating, so it was a pretty big tray), and was headed back to my table when I feel a hand close around my arm, that of some very entitled burger-loving man. I turn around to politely ask him to please get off me when he reaches out and takes a burger off of my tray. The following conversation occurred with him shoving bite after bite into his mouth, and talking with a wide open mouth of half-chewed food. Ick.

MAN: Finally, I'm starving, we've been waiting ages! Service is horrible here.

ME: (dumbfounded) Um, that's not yours...

MAN: It's fine. The kitchen can make a new one, I've been waiting forever. Bring the rest of my food now.

ME: Sir, that's my food. You just stole my food.


ME: Sir, I don't work here. I'm a customer, trying to enjoy my lunch, which is made a lot harder considering it's now in your mouth.

At this point the yelling sort of turned incoherent, and an employee turned up, replaced my lunch (plus some free potato wedges for the trouble) and told the EBM that he would be paying for the extra burger before kicking him out.


Different type of story but the same idea.

I was walking to work around 8:30am in a small eastern US town. Relaxed dress code at work so I was wearing jeans and some random t-shirt, had my purse and a plastic bag with my lunch, and was smoking a cigarette. I was 25 at the time, small frame so I was regularly mistaken for being younger.

As I'm passing a bakery, 20-30 high school kids come out and start walking right ahead of me. Since I'm smoking and the wind is blowing forward, I decide to wait for traffic to cross the road to get away from the students. Mrs. Teacher lady must have smelled the smoke and looked back to see me stopped, waiting to cross the road.

She basically explodes. "I can't believe you would try to pull that! You know how I feel about smoking and on a field trip none the less! When we get back to school you're going straight to detention!" So now I'm confused, a few students turn to look at me then they're confused, and apparently the teacher is confused as to why I'm smoking.

"Uhm. I'm not in your class." Traffic opens up and I attempt to cross, she stops me.

"That's not the point! Smoking is against school rules no matter what homeroom you're in!"

"No, like, I don't go to your school at all. I'm 25. I'm going to work."

Silence. Amazingly hilarious awkward silence. Finally a student pipes up, "Yeah, no, I've never seen that girl before." A few others agree. Teacher still doesn't speak.

"I'm, uhm, I'm gonna cross the road now."

Teacher like half nods and mumbles yeah, a few students snicker and laugh. I give them the peace sign because I'm still half awake and hadn't processed what just happened.


At a local big box hardware/plumbing/gardening/etc store, lets call it Blowes, picking up a few bags of topsoil for my garden. As I'm loading the back of my truck, some woman drives up to the loading area and tells me "as soon as your done with that one i need you to load up my order." She then shoves a receipt at me and gets back into her SUV where she promptly gets on her phone and starts chatting away.

While I'm working I can hear her on the phone. "Ugh this store hires the laziest people", "The kid they have doing the loading is so slow," so on and so forth.

I finish my load and get in my car. Before leaving the parking lot I make sure to pull past her window and wave her goodbye. Her shocked expression was priceless.


I'm in a book shop, the children's department no less when suddenly the stroller beside me begins to get pushed away. I turn to see a lady, who is neither my wife or anyone I know, pushing my daughter away from me.

I ran for the stroller, grabbing one of the bars and yanking it from her fingers. I pushed her into a nearby shelf slightly by her arm, glaring at her more intensely than I have anyone. People around are staring at me in shock, likely thinking I've just taken this woman's toddler by force.

"Ma'am, what exactly do you THINK you're doing?!?" I asked her tensely, my one hand still held out in front of her chest to keep her as far away from my child as possible. I'm a very docile man, but that was way past my line of being non-confrontational.

She looks up at me alarmed. "I was just trying to find the kid's parents! Do you think you could help me look?"

"I most certainly will if you touch my daughter again. What is wrong with you?!? What possessed you in that moment to think that was the right thing to do?" I told her, spitting through my teeth. From the stress of me yelling and the situation in general, my daughter began to cry.

The lady also began to cry. "I dooon't knoooow. I thought you wooorked here. I'm so sooorry." She sobbed out, and I finally put my hand down as she ran off out of the store.

I pulled my daughter from the stroller, picked a book, paid for it, and left. It's not my problem some lady decided to get grabby with my kid's safety. On the way out, pushing the stroller with a hand holding a shopping bag and comforting my daughter with the other, I saw her again sitting on the ground and crying while talking on the phone. I honestly felt a little bad, but really, you don't grab a stroller without being absolutely sure that child is lost. You just don't.


I work at a chain restaurant in Southern Minnesota. I live half an hour away from the restaurant so sometimes when I am scheduled for a double, I kill time in town between shifts instead of driving all the way home. There arent many places to hang out, so I often end up eating very slowly at a restaurant, a very large fast food chain, down the road while staring wistfully out the window evaluating my life.

The uniform I wear at the restaurant (all black) is similar to that of the fast food chain. Today I was enjoying some chicken nuggets when I noticed an older woman glaring at me a couple booths away. I thought it was weird, but went about my business eating. Suddenly, she approached me and sneered with disdain they let YOU eat out here with actual customers?

At first, I had no idea what she was talking about so I just sort of stared at her in shock. Then she added why dont YOU go eat in the back? Finally, it dawned on me that she thought I worked there so I said with an awkward laugh that I actually work at the restaurant down the street, and sort of gestured in the direction of the restaurant. I thought the matter was settled, but I was very wrong. Well, you still shouldnt be eating out here then! Its unprofessional!, she practically spat at me and stalked off.

I just sat there in silence and am still sort of in shock about it. I mean, what was that?!


Kind of a flipped story here. I work at a pet store: blue shirt, khakis, and have had several stories especially since we are next to a large retail chain with a very similar uniform.

While walking in a department store, I hear "Excuse me.." I turn and before I even get a word out, she actually reads my shirt and tag and says "Oh wait, you're the dog trainer at [pet store]. I'm sorry to bother you! Though I keep meaning to talk to you because I'm having some problems with my puppy, oh, but you're not working, don't worry I'll just call the store. Ok sorry! Bye!" 

And then she was gone before I could say a word, leaving me both equally confused and grateful. She actually did call the store and signed up for a training class, too.


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You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or so the saying goes.

The same can be said for your interactions with cops, most of whom are perfectly happy to let minor infractions slide––When was the last time you were actually ticketed for jaywalking?––provided you're not a total Karen should you interact them.

Your local police officer likely doesn't care about jaywalking or the fact that you went five miles over the speed limit unless you give him a reason to, as we learned when Redditor Takdel asked police officers: "What stupid law have you enforced just because someone was an a-hole?"

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