One should always be wary of strangers.
It’s certainly nice to give unfamiliar people the benefit of the doubt when they approach you, as they might only be looking for directions, or alerting you that you dropped something, or your shoelace is untied.
But when someone unfamiliar to you begins to ask for personal information, or makes you an offer which seems too good to be true, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution.
Redditor Creative_Ad4551 was taken by surprise when a stranger came to their place of work.
So much so that the original poster (OP) gave this unknown visitor information he knew to be wrong.
A decision which greatly angered their colleague.
Wondering if they were out of line for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for blatantly lying to a customer at work?”
The OP explained why they chose not to truthfully answer a customer’s question during a recent night shift at work.
“I work at a liquor store that’s staffed with only 2 people at night.”
“At 11PM, a customer that I didn’t recognize asked, by name, if the other employee on shift was here.”
“I gave him the response that I give every stranger that asks that question at night, ‘don’t know, haven’t seen them’.”
“Meanwhile, as I was saying this, I could literally see her stocking shelves in the back, maybe 20 feet away.”
“He would have seen her right there if he turned around, but he just left without looking.”
“She came up later and asked why she heard her name.”
“I told her what happened and she got upset.”
“She said that that’s extremely unprofessional and that I wouldn’t do that for our management when people ask for them.”
“I always thought that not telling random people when your coworkers are on shift was just standard practice.”
“And she’s right, I don’t do that for management, but only because I know what all our suppliers look like, and what their spouses look like.”
“If somebody I didn’t know asked for them, I would check with management to see if they wanted to meet with that person.”
“Management is almost always in the back, so I don’t need to worry about people seeing them.”
“So AITA for making decisions on her behalf and being unprofessional, or was what I did standard practice in most jobs?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for lying to the customer.
Everyone agreed that the OP was only looking out for the safety of their colleague, while a number of others pointed out that the OP’s colleague probably shouldn’t have been receiving visitors while on the clock regardless.
‘If that had been a stalker, an angry ex, or someone serving court papers; she would have had a different opinion.”
“You did the right thing.”- RoyallyOakie
“You didn’t know who they were, for all you knew they were a stalker or an abuser.”
“If she is expecting someone to ask for her, she should let you know.”
“Or better yet, let management know so that can be sure this is purely business related.”- sswishbone
“She is on duty, she isn’t there to get visitors and have chats with people.”
“It is also standard practice to not give away information about other employees unless that employee told you that they are expecting someone to come there.”
“When a customer asks if a manager is working, it is a different scenario because the customer might be there to talk to a manager about something business related, or complain to a manager about something.”- Shimori01
“If he’d actually looked in the store he’d have seen her.”
“If you had told him and he’d turned out to be a stalker or ex-bf you’d get in sh*T.”-ReadyGrapefruit5449
“I’m a shift lead at the Love’s Travel Stop I work at, and this is my operating policy.”
“I don’t care if it’s even family.”
“They’re there to do a job, not be distracted by small talk or harassed by customers, regular or otherwise.”
“And there are a ton of customers who come into my store to flirt with my female coworkers.”
“Something I can tell, obviously, that they are not the most easy going about.”
“The ONLY exception is if they’re asking for a manager by name for a reason related to their job, but even then, I can personally handle a lot of those requests, so unless it’s a task that they were already assisting with, 9 times out of 10, I personally will take charge of that request as well.”
“So yeah, I don’t really know where she got that this is unprofessional from.”
‘If anything, this is the most professional thing you can do, especially in a liquor store where there is a safe presumption that you’re dealing with the potential that certain members of your clientele can be categorized as drunkards and alcoholics.”- TheEuphoricTribble
“Giving out coworkers info is never appropriate.”
“Even of the person is still in the store.”
“I had a coworker once who ended up in the hospital after her ex waited outside one night.”
“He knew she was there cause the new kid gave him her schedule.”-sweetchemicalkisses
“He left without purchasing anything so it’s hard to call it unprofessional when he wasn’t even a customer.”
“He was clearly there for her in some way or another but your job isn’t to track down coworkers for random people.”- ghostofumich2005
“Everywhere I’ve worked retail especially, you never tell a customer the work schedule.”
“I mean, yeah he could have had a legitimate reason for asking such as she helped him before and he had a specific question or something but I doubt it.”
“Your main priority was watching out for her and if I were her, I’d be grateful.”- booboo773
“I’ve always been told to never give out schedule or other info about coworkers without them there, or at least their permission.”
“Even if it’s a family member you don’t know if there’s a shitty relationship there.”
“You didn’t know this dude and he could’ve used his eyes and actually looked around.”-ApatheticGremlin
“Usually I counter requests like that with ‘if you’d like to speak with management I can get them for you'” totally ignoring what they originally asked.”- utriptmybitchswitch
“She’ll realize that if the wrong person tries doing that.”- Jrose798
“I’d have done the same.”- Gr0uchPotato
“NTA never give out information like that to people you don’t know.”
“That guy could have been any psycho.”- mall_goth420
“Do not feel bad and you are NTA.”
“You did nothing wrong plus you are doing the right thing protecting the privacy of your fellow coworkers which is professional to me.”
“You may not know this but you might have spared your coworker from a possible stalker, abuser or a nasty ex.”- KangarooOk2190
“Anyone who has a legitimate reason to see someone at work has a way to find out.”- Studoku
“As it was 11pm and it was only the two of you in, I’d say you did the right thing.”
“You’ve got to trust your instincts and stay safe.”
“This person didn’t say how they knew your co-worker and your co-worker hadn’t told you that someone she knows might pop in so you did the most sensible thing in the situation.”-never_ending_circles
‘NTA at all.’
‘At one of my old jobs, management was very specific that we were not allowed to give out employee schedules to customers, which at the time I thought was a little odd.”
“Turns out, one of my coworkers had a violent ex-boyfriend who was stalking her, and there was a concern he would try and get her schedule.”
“Always err on the side of caution, you never know what’s going on in other people’s lives.”- siIver-shroud
“If it was a professional meeting he would have said who he was and why he was looking for her.”
“If a total randomer asks for her it’s not unprofessional to say I don’t know.”
“How are you to know if it’s someone coming to tell her she won the lotto or a stalker?”-CheerilyTerrified
“I’ve worked in retail, both high-end stores and normal low paying ones.”
‘We never ever reveal each other’s personal information to customers.”- nikinekonikoneko
“If he knew her, why didn’t he just text her or call the store first?”
“It’s a dangerous world.”
“You did the right thing.”
“I wish more people were like you actually.”- BeetlesMa
If the OP’s colleague had been expecting someone to swing by, then they probably should have let the OP know that earlier.
As it seems clear that the OP was thinking first and foremost about their safety.
One can only hope that had the situations been reversed, they would have done the same for the OP.