This is my new strategy for white people who ask "Do you work here?"
I can’t tell you how many nice (and not-so-nice) white women have walked up to me in a store to ask me where something is, how much something costs, or to otherwise find out information she should be getting from an employee who MUST BE ME because I am a brown person nearby on the salesfloor. Nevermind whether I have on an overcoat, I’m wearing headphones, or I have a complete lack of nametag, apron, or company t-shirt, I still get asked all the time “Do you work here?”
Before, my standard response was to pause for just enough beats to make her uncomfortable and then say, “No I don’t. What about me made you think I work here? And please be specific.” Face crack. Every single time.
Thanks to a friend’s comment thread on the Internet, I have a new tactic.
Pretend you do work there!! It’s brilliant. Observe.
White Woman: How much is this shirt?
Me: The sign is right there. Can you not read it?
White Woman: I was just making sure to see if it was on sale. No need to be rude.
Me: No need to be stupid. The sign has the price. The tag has the same price. Therefore, that’s the price. Why are you bothering me with this?
White Woman: Well I never! I need to speak to the manager!
Me: Fine, so do I. I don’t even like this store.
[we march to customer service]
White Woman: I’d like you to fire this employee immediately. He was SO RUDE and I’m going to take my business elsewhere unless he is fired right now!
Manager: I don’t think –
White Woman: [”I was told by Applecare” voice] YOU DON’T THINK!? I’M CALLING CORPORATE!
Me: And say what? That a perfect stranger with no nametag, apron, company ID, or any other sign of being an employee was mean to you in a store? Susan I don’t even work here. I just felt like making you look like the ass you clearly are. Have a nice day.
Like…I’m finna go shopping RIGHT NOW just to test it out. I’ma put on my big obnoxious hipster headphones just so there’s no reason whatsoever someone would think I’d be on the clock, and I’ma casually walk through a store and just wait. And I happen to be wearing black jeans and a black jacket, which is the unofficial NYC uniform of fast-fashion retail. And H&M is like three blocks away too…