Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Would Help You Find Something, If I Worked Here

“Can I set this here?”
“... I don't see why not.” I respond as a random person starts unloading a cart of random crap onto a counter. “You do realize, I don't work here, right?”

And so ends my journey to Value Village.

Cat wearing Target uniform
You'll note my cat has on a red shirt and a name
tag with her name on it. Odds are, she works at Target.
It seems like ever since I started working at Target nearly four years ago that everyone assumes I am some omnipotent retail deity who works in all, knows in all. Recently, I've been asked to help people in Best Buy, Old Navy, the library, the library (twice), Portugal and a 9-year-old girls dream about Justin Bieber (no, I do not have an extra backstage pass, they're ALL MINE!). I have worked in none of these place, except for that part about Portugal, but alas I failed at that because Eu não falo Português.

Making the Value Village questioning even weirder is I do not look like an employee there. For those that don't know, Value Village exists in some sort of weird middleground. It's not a Goodwill store, and it claims to not be a for-profit store, it's just some store. One that kind of exists. As a result, there isn't really a dress code for the employees. And as a result of that, someone who's wearing khakis probably doesn't work there. And I was wearing khakis, because I was on my way to actual work.
Yes, I do work in a retail store, but that doesn't mean I work in every single retail store/public municipality in existence. One thing this background does let me do is intuitively know where I need to go without having to bother the employees. I'd much rather listen to my MP3 player than talk with someone who's being paid to be there. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, in all of these run-ins, I'm almost always listening to music, earbuds firmly in the canal. Why these questioners think a store would allow that, I have no idea.

Since I'm showing this indifference to the employees and I seem to have my head on straight, people must automatically assume I'm working there. Even if I'm dressed like a hobo. An upscale hobo, but a hobo nonetheless.

Cute Cat in Captain Crunch
Note the lack of uniform on my other cat. Odds are he
doesn't work at Target. Jury is still out on if he works for
Captain Crunch.
I suppose part of the problem lies with me. The first time I was at an IKEA, not only was I incredibly lost in the labyrinthine maze of the store, I felt a bizarre desire to go up and help people at random. I figured I was confused, other people must be confused, and my retail background would let me know. But they actually wouldn't IKEA is a maze and a fortress from which there is no escape. If I had given into my whims and they asked me where the spatulas that are also meatballs were located, I wouldn't have had any clue. Hell, the IKEA workers probably wouldn't have known either. That is, if that person in the black pants and yellow shirts actually works there.

When I see people walking around my Target wearing red and khaki, a little song plays in my head. It goes like this “Bad choice of clothing / Bad choice of clothing.” I also synchronize a clap with the lyrics. Many people won't ask actual employees questions, but they'll zero in on these bad accessorizers to ask something this red-and-khaki-er wouldn't know.

Here's a surefire way to tell if a person actually does work at the store where you're shopping. They'll be wearing the store uniform, a nametag, they might have equipment, they're offering to help and odds are they're pilfering out large amounts of rutabagas in their pants pocket. At least that's what the guy I asked at Value Village claimed.

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