Imaginary Insults

This happened to me a bunch of times. I didn’t get upset because I don’t think it’s insulting to be taken for a service worker. Service workers aren’t inferior to professors or physicians.

The last time it happened was at Macy’s, and it was an older black woman who thought I was the store assistant. I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t work here. I think the assistant is over there, let’s go ask her.” Then we had a nice little chat about what we were shopping for.

It’s sad to see physicians in such a tenuous psychological state.

10 thoughts on “Imaginary Insults

  1. I don’t get why black people tie their self-worth to what white people think or say about them.

    It happened to me multiple times, and I usually tell the person “I don’t work here” with a friendly smile. That’s all. It never crossed my mind that someone thinks of me as a servant and I have to bring up my degrees and accomplishments. People mostly do that because one wears red top to Target or something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Usually there’s no one who is clearly working there and I’ll ask the only other person I see who isn’t wearing a coat and carrying other bags. But regardless of the person’s color I guess I do feel embarrassed when I’ve been mistaken. I guess I’ve internalized some snobbery even though consciously I don’t think people are better or worse due to their type of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I highly recommend this doctor takes a rambunctious toddler shopping with her the next time. I guarantee that no one will mistake her for an employee that way. Problem solved.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I recommend this doctor takes a rambunctious toddler with her shopping the next time. No one will mistake her for an employee, guaranteed. Problem solved.


  5. The cynical hospital employee part of me says it’s because she’s a doctor. Doctors hate being mistaken for being anything but a doctor and tend to look down on us peons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Doctors hate being mistaken for being anything but a doctor.”

      Nah. When I was a flight surgeon in the Air Force and running around in a flight suit during deployments, I was frequently mistaken for a pilot.

      Didn’t ruffle my ego one bit.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. At the hospital, though, god forbid you assume the person you’re speaking to is anyone other than the doctor. Even though the vast majority of phone calls we get at the lab are from nurses — and doctors very, very rarely identify themselves as such over the phone. Getting chewed out for saying “you need to speak to the provider for clarification” is so much fun.


        1. Are doctors particularly attached to their title? It must be the price of the degree that makes them so humorless about it. I didn’t pay for mine, so I’m perfectly fine being mistaken for the secretary every once in a while.


      2. “I was frequently mistaken for a pilot”

        I know what you mean, just the other day someone stopped me on the street thinking I was a superhero…. somehow I didn’t fall to pieces and managed to carry on.


  6. Is it because they’ve never worked in service jobs?

    I have paid my dues in retail and food service, so I feel a certain camaraderie with the employees at these places. I know it doesn’t always work that way, though: my Mom worked her way through college waiting tables, and she has less tolerance than anyone else I know for subpar restaurant service…


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