So I work a retail job now. Cashier, to be specific. You know what’s one of the worst things about it?
Whoever decided that colored polo shirts should be tucked into black dress pants and then firmly belted was off their rockers. That looks good on NO ONE. Maybe that was the reason they did it? So no one would stand out…?
Whatever the reason, it’s not flattering. That much is for sure. But apparently I’m not the only retail worker who suffers from this, because the basic polo shirt/dress pants uniform seems to be standard wherever you go.
Which brings me to the point I want to talk about.
Ever since I got my cashier job, everywhere I go people think that I work there. It’s the weirdest thing. Trust me, this NEVER happened before I got my job. Do I have some sort of retail vibe? A secret cashier symbol that I am unaware of? Why else would people ask me constantly “Do you work here?” when there are tons of other potential workers wandering the store?
The worst place for it is Michaels. I love Michaels, and I often stop there after work. The first time the question was posed to me, I almost can understand it because I was in the red shirt and all. That “retail look”. But still, the shirt DID say another store’s name and logo on it. I thought that would be enough to deter people from asking.
There I was, minding my own business, walking through the store just like anyone else. A young woman was walking the opposite way in the same hallway, her arms filled with stuff. She stops suddenly and holds something out towards me. I think it was a birdhouse or something.
“This is broken. Do you have another one?”
I blinked at her. No “Could you help me?” or even a “Do you work here?” No, she just wanted that birdhouse, baby! Obviously I didn’t take the house that she was holding out to me. I simply told her that I don’t work at the store.
“Oh,” she said, mumbling “sorry” as she quickly walked past me.
Not five minutes later… “Hey, do you know if you have any more of these?”
This time it was a totally different girl. I had to tell her, too, that I did not work there. I left the store feeling confused about whether or not my shirt had switched to saying “Michaels” when I wasn’t looking.
The next time I was in that same store, it happened again. This time, a middle aged woman yelled across the store, pointing at me.
“HEY! DO YOU WORK HERE?”
…Well, at least this one asked rather than just demanding that I help her.
Not too much later it was the glorious celebration of shopping, Black Friday. I went into one of my favorite stores, Rue 21, and started looking at their selection of shoes. Bear in mind, this time I was dressed in jeans and a hoodie. No way the retail vibe can get out this time, right?
“Hey, are ALL of these shoes included in the clearance sale, or just this one pair by the sign?”
Amazingly, I knew the answer to this lady’s question even though I was just an innocent shopper like she was. Wanna know how? I actually READ THE SIGN that was sitting right in front of her face, and which clearly said: “SHOES: HALF OFF.” Not “This shoe” or “Those shoes”. All shoes. So I told her that.
“Well, the sign says shoes half off, so I’m sure the sale extends to all of them. And by the way, I don’t work here.”
Another mumbling and walking away. I didn’t understand it because honestly, I had no name tag or retail uniform or anything. In all fairness, the employees there just wear nice, usually very stylish street clothes to work (lucky!) so maybe she thought I looked like one of them. In that case… thanks, I guess?
Next round! Barnes and Noble. Was wearing a Nightmare before Christmas hoodie over my work uniform and had my lanyard of keys around my neck. In the middle of browsing the Harry Potter section…
“Excuse me, do you work here?”
I just gave her a simple shake of the head. She stammered:
“Oh. Oh, okay. I just saw the… (gestures around her neck) …and I thought you… sorry.”
That night I complained to my friends about the retail curse, and they did point out that mostly retail people or workers of some sort are the ones who wear lanyards (Although I can’t see my “Brony” lanyard being a part of any uniform). But it was a true point.
So yesterday I had to go to Michaels again. And once again, it was after work. Before I went into the store, I checked myself to make sure that I had no tell-tale retail signs.
Abbey Dawn hoodie on and zipped all the way up to hide the polo? CHECK.
Lanyard placed into the pocket and not around the neck? CHECK.
I was feeling pretty confident in the ability to have a shopping trip as just that… a shopper. There was no way that anyone would be able to get me confused with a worker there, and ask me-
“Uhh, do you work here??”
This time it was a rather huffy looking young mother with her complaining daughter in tow. When I told her no, she sped off through the store, dragging her kid behind her.
Despite all my best efforts, the retail vibe had still pulled me into view once again.
The theory that I’m going with now is that I guess I’m just cursed.