A common trait of employees is that they all wear the same uniform and nametags. This makes them easily identifiable to patrons that need their assistance. However, some inattentive people still have a difficult time differentiating between employees and customers just like themselves.
Let's take a look at some stories of people being mistaken for employees!
All posts have been edited for clarity.
Karens are everywhere. Content has been edited for clarity.
Rental Car Agency
“I own a gift shop in a hotel. This hotel has a car rental agency two doors down. This agency closes at six pm and this took place after seven pm.
‘Karen’ walked to my door, not through it. She was standing in the corridor and proceeded to ask, nicely enough, if I knew where a car rental agency was. I told her it was two doors down but the guys left already and that they close at six.
She huffed and went over there, I presumed to bang on the locked door until someone magically appeared.
She came back while I had a customer, a hotel guest, who was from out of town. I am also a local tour guide so I was talking to him about the community. I didn’t mind him at all, he was fun to talk with and liked my insider knowledge.
She demanded to know where to find another car rental place. She still hadn’t walked through my door. She barked at us that her company didn’t use the agency they put her in a hotel with. She didn’t like the other two big brand names in town and didn’t know much about number four.
I told her I didn’t rent cars because I live there. Obviously, because I was working.
The guest I was talking to told her if she couldn’t or wouldn’t use the big name rental agencies, then her best bet would be to search the internet what was around there. I piped in that I didn’t believe he had any others than the big four as were not an airport city or tourist destination.
She was dumbfounded by his suggestion and said her company would never pay for an off-brand rental company. He again suggested she just search it and contact her company to figure out her particular situation. He even tossed out the bright idea, that most hotel guests knew how to do, which was to just ask the front desk person and at the last resort ask for the yellow pages.
He got frustrated because he ended up literally explaining how to use her phone and how to search the internet. She huffed at him and me and said that we were useless and no help at all.
His last words to her were, ‘Who on Earth doesn’t know how to use the internet, I’m sixty years old and I know I can just talk to my phone to get my info.'”
Lost Cell Phone
“So I was in a big store in the resort with my parents that would be easy to get lost in. My parents were busy looking at things to buy while I just stood texting on my phone. We were out shopping that day so I had put make-up on instead of usually not wearing some because I felt bored.
So everything is fine until this American woman tapped me on the shoulders and said ‘Excuse me?’
I turned around in confusion. The woman looked rough like she just woke up from sleeping in the trash with a Karen haircut that looked like she did it herself. There were just split ends everywhere.
She said, ‘Hi, my son lost his phone in the store do you think you can look around for it?’
I said, ‘Oh sorry I don’t work here.’
My Scottish accent didn’t help the gear turn in her head that I wasn’t American like all the other staff.
She said, ‘Yeah you do, I saw you walking around with those customers over there!’
She pointed to my parents who I was walking around with until she tapped my shoulder. They had walked to the next aisle by then.
I said to her, ‘Those are my parents.’
I turned around back to my phone and walked off. She then grabbed me by the wrist so tight that it left a big red mark and said, ‘Oh don’t you dare walk away from me! I’ll call the manager and you’ll be fired and deported from wherever you came from!’ I live in Scotland. In the United Kingdom. A very successful country.
I know Tae Kwon Do, so I managed to get her hands off my wrist and create some space between us. She started yelling on the floor like she was in pain while her five-year-old looking son just stood there watching her.
My parents hadn’t realized I was gone and had gone to pay for their items. The woman checking them out looked over to the aisle and saw me standing there while a woman was crying in pain because I took her hands off my wrist, which was red from when she grabbed it. The woman checking out my parents came running over to see what happened. My parents also looked over, saw me, and came running over.
I told my parents what had happened while the woman proceeded to scream and roll on the floor with the cashier trying to help her up. My dad was not a happy person after that. He stopped the woman rolling on the floor, picked her right up, and said ‘Don’t you dare touch my daughter again!’
He then stopped grabbing her and walked off with my mom and me while the woman started to scream about my dad assaulting her by picking her up from the ground. Later that day in our hotel room, we got a knock at the door from security with the woman standing there with a firm grin on her face. The police officer had asked what happened and we started giving our side of the story. The woman went wild and started screaming again. When the security guy asked her to calm down, she grabbed his arm and tried to drag him out of our hotel room. He was not happy about that and put her in a restraining position and cuffed her.
He had asked us if we wanted to press charges with the police about the woman grabbing me, but I said no because I didn’t want to ruin this woman’s holiday especially if she had a five-year-old kid.”
“These Tourists Are Crazy”
“So I was at a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. My parents are Dominican so I speak pretty fluent Spanish. I was by the pool chatting with one of the lifeguards when ‘Karen’ in her thirties tapped me on the shoulder.
While holding a wet towel and using ‘Spanglish’, Karen said, ‘Excuse me, I need a clean-o towel-o.’
Confused, I responded, ‘Sorry, I don’t work here. You might wan-.’
After cutting me off, Karen said, ‘Yes you do, I just saw you speaking Spanish.’
‘So what I’m also speaking perfect English.’ I responded, growing frustrated with Karen’s lack of common sense.
Karen, gave completely unwarranted advice as her kind is one to do. ‘Well if you’re working with tourists you should speak English.’
The only response I had to this without coming across as rude was pointing Karen in the direction of the towel station.
Karen responded to this with, ‘Can’t you grab me one? I don’t speak Spanish.’
Completely done with that conversation, I responded, ‘No, you can figure it out.’
Karen walked away angry and I thought that was the end of it. I headed to the bar and luckily for me, I was able to overhear her screaming.
‘I need someone who speaks English in this place. I have a complaint about one of your employees.’ said Karen, clearly forgetting where she was vacationing.
An employee took her to the front desk to speak with the manager. Twenty minutes later I saw the same employee return to his post and I asked him what happened.
The employee said, ‘That crazy lady started screaming in English so we took her to the manager. She wanted to get someone fired but nobody knows who she talking about.’
I laughed and told him it was probably me.
He laughed and said, ‘Probably, these tourists are crazy.'”
“Hostess” With A Hawk
“I’m a falconer and I train birds of prey to flush unwanted birds from places for living. My work often brings me to extremely fancy resorts as this tends to be a bit of a bougie service.
On this particular day, I was working at a five-star resort keeping pigeons from the restaurant patio. This resort was very high-end, so the wealthy guests tended to act very entitled. I didn’t have a uniform but I usually dressed in nice hiking attire and all the restaurant employees were wearing clearly marked uniforms with aprons and name tags. I had my phone plugged in behind the hostess podium so I went in to check on it with my hawk in hand.
While I was responding to a text, a presumably rich lady approaches me and says, ‘And there will be other people joining my party so can you just-‘
I started to cut her off by waving a hand and shaking my head, but before I could indicate that she’s talking to the wrong person she responds with, ‘Oh, you don’t speak English,’ and rolled her eyes.
You should know that I am half Filipino and half white, giving me an ambiguously ethnic look. However, I grew up in Southern California and Central Florida.
Taken aback by this, I accidentally jerked my hawk back causing him to flash his wings. This startled the rich lady.
Amused by the startled rich lady, I responded, ‘Actually I speak plenty of English but I don’t work here, lady. You’d think the big hawk on my glove would give that away.’
She was unfazed and continued on her way, but her two teenaged daughters were absolutely mortified.
It turned out to be the funniest thing to happen to me all month.”
The Happiest Place On Earth
“About ten years ago, my family and I went on vacation to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. We were a rather large group being fifteen and I was the eldest child of the group. I should explain that being from Hawaii most of us are a melting pot of ethnic backgrounds. I myself have about seven, including a Hispanic background that would soon be my downfall.
One morning, we were downstairs eating a continental breakfast that the hotel provided and everything was going great. As we finished up our breakfast, it was my job to help clean up the table since the parents were getting the younger children together for our big adventure. I made a few stacks of plates and started to shuffle off to the trash cans.
Along the way, a child no older than maybe four came up with his tray and said, ‘Excuse me, can you take for me? I too small.’
I smiled and patted him on the head as he placed his tray on my pile. A few others tried to gather my attention and I politely ignored them because we were kind of in a hurry. The next shuttle to Disneyland was in about fifteen minutes and the one after that would be over an hour.
I headed back over to our table to gather the cups and a few lingering plates and started walking over to the trash can yet again. Suddenly, a housekeeping lady stops me and starts speaking fluent Spanish with a very confused look on her face.
Confused, I responded, ‘Sorry! I don’t speak Spanish very well so I don’t know what you’re saying.’
Now in English, the housekeeper said, ‘What do you think you are doing?! Why aren’t you helping gather the other plates and clearing the tables? Do you think we just pay you to walk around with your head in the cloud?’
Even more confused, I responded, ‘I’m sorry, I am a bit confused I don’t understand.’
The housekeeper grabbed me by the arm with a purpose and whisked me off to a less crowded area of the lobby and laced into me, ‘I don’t understand why you aren’t helping these guests! I put my neck on the line for you and this is the thanks I get? I told your mom you weren’t ready to work in the industry, what on Earth was she thinking!’
Having no idea what was happening at this point, I responded, ‘Wait you know my mom?’
I was quite confused because we were from Hawaii which is over 2,500 miles away from the resort. I was also in a black tank top, black shorts, black converse with my jacket tied around my waist, and hair up in a ponytail.
Their uniform was a blue button-down, black slacks, black shoes, and hair in a ponytail or at the least up in a bun. I don’t resemble anything close to what an employee would look like. I looked much older than I was at the time and I can understand the confusion, but I couldn’t understand why this housekeeper wouldn’t listen to me.
Then the housekeeper said, ‘Oh, now you’re going to pretend you don’t know me? How ungrateful! How dare you, this is the thanks I get for getting your job?!’
Then she proceeded to curse me out in Spanish.
Thankfully, my grandma saw me and asked, ‘What are you doing here? We’re ready to go, we’re leaving now everyone is on the shuttle.’
She proceeded to grab my arm to take me away from the crazy housekeeper, but the housekeeper was still not ready to let me go.
The housekeeper then grabbed me by the jacket around my waist to stop me from walking away, looked at my grandma, and said, ‘I’m sorry ma’am, she is not going anywhere. We are having to retrain her and she will not be able to assist you on to your shuttle. If you want I can call over someone from the front desk to assist you.’
This really confused my grandma and she said, ‘Umm excuse me? I don’t think you understand, she is-‘
The housekeeper cut her off and said, ‘She is going to be retrained and WILL NOT assist you.’
Growing angry with the housekeeper, my grandma asked, ‘What exactly do you mean by this? I will finish what I was saying before you rudely cut me off, this child is my granddaughter and we are leaving, now!’
For some reason not buying it, the housekeeper said, ‘Oh you’re her grandma? That’s funny, I’ve been to the house and have seen pictures of her mother and her husband’s mother and you do not look like either of those women. I am going to have to ask you to release my employee and leave immediately before I call security to have you removed.’
My grandma looked like she was about to lose it but instead she walked away. At this point, I was thinking, oh my god! Why would she leave me here with this crazy lady?
The crazy housekeeper then said, ‘Now that the liar is gone we have much to discuss, first by retraining you, then by calling your mother!’
Completely over this situation, I responded ‘Look you crazy lady I don’t work here! I’m not even from here I’m from Hawaii!'”
The Happiest Place On Earth Part 2
That tone obviously set the housekeeper off because I saw whatever was holding everything together just burst and as she was about to lace into me yet again, in came my grandma with the manager.
The manager asked, ‘What seems to be the issue here?’
The housekeeper quickly responded, ‘Oh it’s nothing sir, I’m just trying to retrain a new employee. You’ll never guess what she said. She claims that not only has she been to Hawaii but that she lives there! Do you know how crazy that is? She just started here and thinks that she has enough money to live in Hawaii! The audacity! I’ve been working here for ten years and even I have never been to Hawaii because of how expensive it is!’
The manager then looked at me and asked, ‘Are you okay ma’am?’
I quickly responded, ‘No, this crazy lady decided to pull me away from clearing off my family’s table and caused us to miss our shuttle and called me many things, and to top it off she decides for herself that I am lying about where I came from!’
The manager suddenly turned to the housekeeper and said, ‘You’re going to have to come with me.’
Instead of complying the housekeeper said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry you must not recognize her out of uniform. This is another employee’s daughter.’ Then she called me by the wrong name.
I basically screamed back, ‘That is not my name! My name is Vivian!’
At this moment, my grandma pulled out her wallet and handed the lady our Disneyland passes, which contained our names as well as her Hawaii State driver’s license.
The manager grew furious and said to the housekeeper, ‘What on Earth has gotten into you? You’re basically kidnapping a guest, zipping them around, calling them profane names, and harassing them? I’m sorry but as I have said before you are going to have to come with me!’
The manager motioned for us to follow along to the front desk. He took the housekeeper into his office and we could hear the yelling from the front desk. A few moments later, the housekeeper walked back out basically white as a ghost, looked at us, and didn’t say a single word before walking off. I assumed to gather her things.
The manager was also mortified at the behavior of the housekeeper and had to gather himself before coming up to us. He profusely apologized for the housekeeper’s actions. Instead of asking if he could do anything for us, he told the front desk to type up a paper and gave us free Managers Reception for the duration of our stay. This was basically a time period where exclusive guests got cheaper snacks at the parks. He then motioned over to the valet captain and asked them to shuttle us down the road so we could finally be reunited with our family at Disneyland.
My grandma and I are still dumbfounded about the housekeeper’s actions to this day.”
“You Can Bring Over Eight Plates To Our Table”
“So at Christmas, I found myself alone, but I still wanted to go have a traditional Christmas dinner. One of the local resort hotels had a deal where you can pay in advance for a huge buffet. Everything I heard about the food suggested it was worth the price. Another bonus was this wasn’t some over-the-top fancy restaurant so no ties or suits required, although several people did show up dressed in their best clothes.
I was in faded jeans, brown leather shoes, with a grey sweater over a white dress shirt. At the resort, everyone who worked there was in black shoes, black pants, white shirts, and they all had on an apron that has the resort name and logo. Not a sweater to be seen on any employee.
The buffet was huge. It took up three walls of the large room. The customers were seated at different sized tables in the room and several other adjoining rooms. If you’ve ever been to a large conference hall where they can move around the walls to make rooms bigger, smaller, or remove them all completely, that is what that place was like. There were hundreds of people. I grabbed a small two-top table in the back.
Now the buffet had one flaw – it was very deep. I think it was designed to be used in the middle of a room, and not against a wall. If you were short, you were not going to reach the items in the back no matter what ladle, spoon, or tongs were provided. I could reach anything but I saw some other people struggling.
I was in the line and I reached in the back for some blue cheese crumbles to spoon them on my plate. I heard a soft voice from my right say ‘Excuse me, young man, could you help me with that blue cheese?’
I turned and there was this sweet old lady smiling. There was no way she was reaching anything back there without crawling on the buffet. I gladly obliged and she smiled with a ‘Thank you, young man.’
I proceeded to ask her as we went down the line if she wanted any more help and grab things for her as needed.
At the end of the buffet was the highlight of the meal for me, cut to order prime rib steak. There was usually a guy there carving out exactly what you wanted, but when we got there he had stepped away. The carving knife and tongs were there so I decided to help myself and this dear old lady. I cut myself a big hunk of meat, then used the knife to make thin slices for my new friend.
When I finished she said, ‘Thank you and Merry Christmas!’ and walked away to her table.
As I was putting the knife and tongs back, I felt a pair of eyes burning a hole in my head from my left. I thought for sure it was somebody with the resort who was mad I’d served myself and I was prepared to apologize.
This grumpy woman said, “When you are done making plates for her party, you can bring over eight plates to our table.”
I tried to clarify, ‘But, I don’t-‘
The woman snapped at me, ‘Don’t interrupt! I’m not done telling you what I want! And you can grab some fresh prime rib from the back, we’re not eating this, it is undercooked.’
She went on for about five minutes about her order and I only spoke again after she was done. Other people walked by as she continued talking and sort of rolled their eyes.
After finally having the chance, I responded, ‘Yes ma’am, someone will be at your table right away.’
At that, she smiled that satisfied smile, turned, and walked away. I picked up my plate and headed to my table to eat my dinner in private.
As I left, I passed through another one of the rooms and saw the woman and her table still sitting there waiting to be served. Her mouth fell open when I waved and walked out the front doors.”
Karen Needs Her Car
“I work as a valet at a small hotel in San Francisco, so small we don’t have our own garage. As such, we parked our cars in a public garage next door. The public garage was never too busy, so they resorted to renting out spaces to raise revenue. We rented spots as well as a rental car company that took up most of the bottom floor. One section of the floor was reserved for them and there was an area right next to it for employees to park.
I usually parked my car there, worked for five hours, then took my half-hour lunch break in my car. Today was no different. As I walked down to my car, I noticed a family standing in the middle of the garage. I assumed they must be lost, but since I wouldn’t begin to know how to help them, I simply walked to my car, sat down inside, and began to eat. After maybe two minutes of a blissful lack of customer service, I was brought back to cold, hard servitude by a quick, hard tap on my window.
I looked up just in time to see the matriarch of the family glaring at me. I turned on the electricity in the car, rolled down the window, and very politely asked, ‘Yes?’
The matriarch, with distinct anger, shouted, ‘We’ve been waiting here for fifteen minutes, and we have to get going! I need my car!’
Dumbfounded by the tone and level of her voice, I looked down at the solace of my sandwich, looked back at her, and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t work here. I work at the hotel next door, and I’m on lunch.’
Undeterred, she began shouting again, ‘Nonsense! I saw you pull a car out as we walked down, don’t lie to me just so you can eat your sandwich! I need my car now!’
Thinking the lady could still listen to reason, I tried to explain again, only for my words to fall on deaf ears.
‘Get my car! I need to leave! I paid good money for this, so get off your rear end and get it!’ She shouted as I continuously tried to explain.
Finally, she crossed the line and lunged at my sandwich. My poor defenseless sandwich. Like a mother bird protecting her young, I blocked her grab and rolled up the window.
She was still slapping my window as I sat hoping the security guard would come. It turned out they were supposed to rent a car the day before, but the company had overbooked. They had to cancel some plans, so the company had given them a free rental for the next leg of their journey to SoCal.
An attendant eventually came down to see the lady in the middle of her fit and had to weather the rest of her tantrum.”
“I was skiing at a resort in Northern California that frequented by Southern California folks mostly.
I was heading back toward one of the side lodges and was on one of the long trails that become the funnel for all the people coming off the various runs in order to get back to this lodge.
My crew was a bit ahead of me and I was just enjoying the cruise when I saw someone walking down the hill, skis in hand, off to the side. The skier was a long walk but reasonably easy cruise away from the lodge and my ‘Parent who has taught multiple kids to ski’ instinct kicked in.
When I got to the skier, she said that her friends went ahead, it was her first time, and she was frustrated. We talked about skiing back and I offered to help her work her way down. There are a couple of easy techniques with the skis these days and we basically worked on slow S turns all the way down.
About halfway down while we were chatting about skiing, she asked me if I liked being an instructor. I mentioned that I was just a skier but love the sport and want to see people enjoy it. We chatted a bit more and then got to a point where she could head to the parking lot.
I went into the lodge, joined my friends, and enjoyed a drink. I saw her walk in so I went over and to say hi.
She gave me a big hug and thank me for helping.”
“I have worked at a resort in the recreation department for four years at this point last summer, and my main job is renting out and doing small maintenance on bicycles. I was twenty at the time of this incident and my sister was fourteen.
I had this really difficult couple that morning, they were very nit-picky and went through almost twenty bikes before settling on ones that were acceptable. The wife complained about every little thing on every bike, most of which were just normal bike stuff like the chain was too dirty or the seat was uncomfortable. I finally sent them out on two bikes and I thought that was the end of that.
My sister was there riding bikes with a few of her friends and they were stopped eating lunch on a bench halfway through one of the trails when the lady came across them. She started to yell at my sister and demanded that they switch bikes, because the bike she put her on was not working properly. My sister told the lady that she would not do that and to leave them alone.
The lady then began to yell more about how my sister should have more respect for the guest and do her job. My sister told her she did not work there and she must be mistaking her for me. This upset the lady and she accused my sister of lying to her and demanded that she fix her bike. It turned out that there was nothing wrong with the bike in the first place.
One of my sister’s friends snuck off and called me while this lady was yelling at my sister. She trying to explain that she was fourteen and couldn’t work at the resort. I was lucky where I could answer the phone and she explained what was going on. I grabbed my manager and told him what was happening so we hopped on bikes to head that way to solve the problem.
As soon as my manager pulled up the lady recognized him and started yelling at him about how his employees need to be taught some respect. Then she saw me behind him and freaked out. She started yelling at me for putting her on a bad bike.
At that point, I went up to my sister and told her and her friends to go to the cafe and get some food. I said I would go down there and pay for it when I got back so they would leave. They weren’t really phased by the crazy lady yelling, so they were just excited for free food.
The lady continued to yell at us and we just said that she could have either of our bikes and we’d take hers so she was appeased. At that point, we went back and continued doing our jobs. I also went down to the cafe and comped my sister’s food and ice cream.
When they returned the bikes, the lady demanded a refund and we just laughed and said she could complain and try to get one, but that was doubtful. She did write a complaint naming us personally, but the CEO had already heard what had happened because we filed a security report and he threw out the complaint instead of adding it to our files.”