This phenomenon has been happening to me since 7th grade. First it was in a sports store when I was only 13, wearing a Slipknot T-shirt, I think.
Sophomore year of High School, Im with Dad at "BigBlueStore" in Hammond,IN, trying to pick out art supplies. I was wearing the Bishop Noll Institute summer uniform. I could not help it that I was still wearing the yellow polo, navy blue shorts, and the high school ID tag. A customer asked me if I work there. She literally referred to me as "Ms W_______", even though I clearly was not wearing the signature blue vest.
Fast forward to may 2014 after I was honorably discharged from the Navy and working a nightshift at "Red and Khaki". (No, it's not open 24/7, I hate when people ask. It's like everyone is oblivious to the fact that trucks can make overnight deliveries to a store and a team of people still have to unload and stock everything.) Anyways, I was shopping at "Red and Khaki" in broad daylight on my day off that was not the same location I worked at. I was clearly not in uniform whatsoever, definitely not even the required nametag. Seriously, a purple T-shirt, jeans, and frizzy hair is not the dayside uniform. I had taken off my coat and pushed my cart to the side of the Cspotsave aisle. A sarcasticly political Mark Twain quote was clearly on my purple T-shirt. I was putting a product back because it looked broke. It caused me to re-arrange something in order to look for an unbroken product. And then I heard, "Excuse me. EXCUSE ME! Do you work here? I kindly explained to the lady that I work the nightshift at another location and that I had sought solace and escape in this specific store. "I understand" She responded.
It did not end after I moved. I was in a crafts store in October or November 2014. I figured customers are supposed to be more aware in a nice location near where I moved,but no. No, they simply feel more entitled, but they're not aware. I was putting back a jar of glaze or clay softener, whatever it was.....And I heard it again. "Do you work here?" I was NOT wearing the specialty store's logo vest. I was wearing a Blue plaid button-down over a pair of JEGGINGS!!!!!!
Dear Customers who are convinced that I work in whatever store you see me in despite my lack of uniform, YOU are the reason I now choose to wear Yoga Pants instead of jeans when I go shopping. YOU are the reason I choose not to style my hair sometimes. YOU are the reason I now fart more often even though I used to be much more considerate in public places. YOU are the reason I have thought about making an "I DON'T WORK HERE" I.D. Card and wearing it with an old lanyard every time I go shopping. YOU are also the reason a male manager looked at me weird when I stopped at a store in Wisconsin, simply because I was dressed the way I was because Im tired of being asked if I work there.
Seriously, if anyone ever asks me again if I "work here" at a place I clearly do not work at, I am going to actually screw with your "misguided belief" and point you to the wrong aisle, unless I have a chance to flash my "I DON'T WORK HERE" I.D. Card. Or maybe I'll just ask you to purchase my artwork from my online Etsy store, where I actually work at, that is, if I bothered to dress nice that day without JEGGINGS or YogaPants.