A couple of months ago I was standing in the Ottawa Ikea, staring blankly into the distance while my girlfriend helped her friend choose a bed. I was tagging along as a means of transporting the bed after purchase; one of many perks to owning a hatchback.
Lost somewhere in thought, I didn’t at first hear the middle-aged couple behind me.
“Can you help us? We are looking for <insert ikea product name>”
I turned around. “Sorry?”
“Excuse me, do you work here?”
I gave them both a startled stare. “Um, no I don’t”
“Oh,” said the man, “I’m sorry, I thought you worked here. You look like you belong here”
“No worries.” I said with a half smile, and turned to walk away.
Now, there is nothing peculiar about that. I’m sure most of you, at some point, have been mistaken for an employee of some store, especially if you are wearing their colours, and are young. The part that makes this peculiar, is that I had come straight from work and was wearing a full suit.
My suit wasn’t designer, but it sure wasn’t a frumpy Ikea shirt. Nor was it bright yellow. I was so completely caught of guard that I’m surprised I managed to mumble what I did. The man and his wife didn’t look like stupid people, but you have to be pretty special to mistake the man in a suit for an Ikea employee.
Every time I remember that day, I can’t help but shake my head.