When people mistake you for a shopkeeper or salesman!

Written by vik

Topics: Humour, Life, Socio-Political

Victim of Plagiarism!

This post was stolen moments after it was published [link]! I asked the blogger to remove it but in vain. May send a copyright violation notice soon.

More than once, I have been mistaken by people for being the shopkeeper or the salesman in the shop! Such incidents have only amused me. I guess it happens to others as well.

Two Instances

  1. Some years ago at the JNU photocopy shop [central library, JNU], the shop keeper(s) were busy doing the photocopies and asked me to look for my photocopied books/material by myself (that’s very acceptable there). I was looking for it and went inside the counter area to do the needful. An adorable girl [JNU student] came and proffered the books in her hand towards me tacitly suggesting that she wants me to get them photocopied! I instantly told her that “I was still unemployed. Thank you very much!” She realized the gaffe and was visibly embarrassed. I was smiling as well. She used to smile at me for many months since that incident.

  • Only yesterday,I was at the Vishal Megamart [near Apollo Hospital, New Delhi]. I was looking at the crockery [Lemon tea set by Lazer; jug plus six glasses] priced only 99 Rupees. I was looking at it, running my fingers on the curves of the jug, checking it for faults/crack. A couple stopped by me and asked me if it was really priced 99 Rupees! I said, “Of course, didn’t you read the price label?!” Their tone and look suggested me that they had mistaken me for the salesman and wanted an authoritative answer!
  • Explanations/Rationalization

    Earlier I used to think that if you don’t look well dressed up, people will consider you a salesman subject to certain conditions such as your disposition in the shop, your location around the counter, the way you look and touch things etc. This was a slightly prejudiced view in that the underlying assumption was that the better off look and behave better than those not so comfortably placed in the social hierarchy.

    However, now I believe that there is not even a thin line between the Shopkeeper/salesman and the customers. You cannot differentiate middle class people on the basis of the clothes/looks. Unless the salesperson is wearing the identification card/strip across his/her neck and/or enthusiastically/visibly/officially/authoritatively helping others, it becomes really difficult to tell the customer from the salesperson. More or less everyone wears okay clothes these days (the clothes have become cheaper and even brands/copies are like a dime a dozen) and I have given up my previously held notions that you can tell the customer from the salesperson through his/her clothes! I am arguably handsome and was wearing good clothes every time I was mistaken for a salesperson! The modern day salespeople are often very good looking.

    The Precarious situation

    I am often uncomfortable if there are salespersons without the Id. Sometimes I am so nervous of seeking help from anyone fearing I’ll end up offending the person if (s)he is not the salesperson and a customer like me!

    Only yesterday at the popular ‘Cost to Cost’ computer shop at Nehru Place (Delhi) I first politely asked the person standing near the showcase if he was “with the shop.” He nodded in approval and very enthusiastically helped me with the technicalities of assembling an external hard disk. Though I did not buy the thing, I was impressed by his interpersonal skills. I wish he was wearing some kind of ID. Wearing of IDs by salespersons is not very popular in India except in big departmental stores. Also people are still not very educated/socialised to understand the fact that they must look for a person with the ID to bother.

    Sometimes, even shop owners in their zeal to impress the customers line up a battery of salesgirls dressed up like CEOs. We have a ‘Sasta Bazaar’ (it’s sasta only in name) in the JNU campus which has girls in suits convincing you to buy some product or the other or helping you with the shopping. It looks a bit of a farce in my humble opinion.

    It’ s fun too

    If you have a good sense of humour, you should be actually enjoying the mistake! 😀

    12 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

    1. oorja says:

      did you read what you have written…

      An adorable girl [JNU student] came and proffered the books in her hand towards me tacitly suggesting that she wants me to get them photocopied

      why in the world would you not respond to her..?

      in the second case too i feel it was not necessary that you were taken for the shopkeeper, we as customers tend to consult it with other customers too if some prices seem too good. just casual talk. could it have been that..?

    2. anurag2k4 says:

      well….you have extracted an intresting sight from the ordinary life very deftly. I have been subjected to the same situation twice. But i believe that was because i was so horribly dressed.
      Also there is a contribution of the fact that how you look at other customers. If you are so absorbed in yourself only, then i bet you this will never happento you again.

    3. Ronak says:

      hi Vikas…. nice to see you back… and great topic to start with…

      In some shops even though there are uniforms, there are cases of mistaken identity.. i.e. when the customer is also wearing the same combo… e.g. red shirt with black trousers, cream+black, etc… 🙂

    4. Karan says:

      Nicely written. Though I always refrain from asking people for help unless I’m sure they’r wearing the tag 🙂

    5. Reema says:

      i never faced any such situation but once our group had gone to watch a movie and one of my friends asked a guy where were our seats..thinking he worked there. Turned out he was not the usher. It was embarrassing for her 🙂

    6. smitha kumaran says:


      yes i have had similar experiences where some people mistook me for a sales woman in a saree shop….:)

    7. abhigna says:

      and i start to think, why get ‘offended’ when one mistakes you for a salesperson..?