I'm a shy, self-conscious introvert, who is easily embarrassed, for myself or for other people. Interactions with strangers tire me out, so I prefer to shop without interacting with other people when possible. I am also a nerdy paper crafter; craft supplies are the only thing I really enjoy shopping for.
Unbeknownst to me, wearing any blue polo in Walmart apparently makes me an employee. Never mind that I'm carrying a purse, and my shirt (which is not even the Walmart shade of blue) says "[County] Library System".
I was browsing the cardstock selection after work one afternoon. It was hotter in the store than I'd prefer, and I get cranky when I get hot, so I reeeeally didn't want to interact with strangers.
Girl1: Do you know where the iron-ons are?
Me (turning towards her): Uh, no. I don't.
G1: ... you know, like numbers you'd put on the back of a jersey?
As she says this, she looks down at my shirt, and I can see in her eyes that it's dawning on her that I'm not an employee. Being the nice person that I am, I try to minimize her embarrassment by playing along as though I thought she was just asking a fellow crafter for help.
Me (turning to look down the aisle behind me): I haven't seen any, but did you check down by the---
I turn back to her, and she's quickly disappearing around the corner. I giggle and turn back to my cardstock. Not 30 seconds later, a man comes up to me.
Man: Do you work here?
Me: Oh, no, sorry, I--
Man: Are you in this section?
Me (sarcastic me thinking, nope, I'm just a figment of your imagination): No, I don't work here.
Man: ...You don't work here?
Me: No, sorry.
Man: You're not an employee?
Me (struggling to oppress sarcastic me): I am not a Walmart employee.
Man: Oh? Oh. Sorry.
He shuffles away, glancing back several times as though he's not sure if I'm serious, like I'm gonna call after him, "Just kidding! I totally work here!"
Shaking my head, I return to my browsing. A minute later, I'm nearly done making my selection, when an older woman halfway down the aisle hollers at me: "Where's the zippers?"
I'm not about to be hollered at in a store I don't even work for, so I spontaneously decide that I'm deaf. I don't acknowledge her or look up at all. I keep looking at the shelves in front of me. She scoots her cart closer and asks again. I am still deaf. As she proceeds closer, she starts giving me a description of zippers, as if maybe I'd never encountered one before. Still didn't react. She continues moving down the aisle, talking about her zippers and what she needs them for. At some point she must've realized her mistake, because she just kept talking, as though she was conversing with someone with her or on the phone (no one else was around and she wasn't on the phone). She talked herself right down the aisle and around the corner.
I had other things I wanted to get for my current project, but I decided it wasn't worth this stranger-interaction circle of Hell I had apparently stepped into. I practically ran to the self-checkout and escaped.
No paper crafts were made that day. 😕