Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, May 15th, 2006
Jean M. Hendrickson

“HEY! YOU, GIRL! What the hell’s the matter with you? You just rang those batteries up at full price. It says they’re on sale, right here in your own friggin’ circular.” The red-faced man pounded on the cashier’s counter.

“I’m sorry, sir, I’ll correct it. They don’t reprogram the computer until 8:00 a.m. I’ll give you the item for free since I missed the sales price.” The teenager in the blue smock smiled and made eye contact with the angry man before she busied herself at the cash register.

“Fa cris sake! The computer? It usta be people took responsibility for their own mistakes. The man shook his finger at the young girl. “In my day we had a little corner store, and you know who did all the work?”

“No, sir.” The girl said, smiling.

“When the store opened at eight o’clock, customers were waiting to get in and you can bet your arse Mom and Pop were ready. He stood behind the counter while she got the stuff off of the shelves.”

“Yes, sir. Will there be anything else?” The girl zeroed out the sale bagged the batteries.

“Listen here. When they finished the order, Pop’d add everything on a piece of butcher’s paper with a PENCIL. ” The man sputtered as he yelled. “No computer, no calculator, no cash register, and by damned, it was always right. You understand?”

“Yes, sir,” she whispered.

“So-you-can-just-take-those-two-cents-off-the-price . . . RIGHT NOW, Missy!” He turned toward the long line behind him and smirked.

“But, sir . . .”

“Look at all the customers you and your computer held up this morning.” He glared at the cashier and stomped off, forgetting to pick up the bag of batteries.

The girl smiled at the next person in line. “Thank you for waiting! How are you today?”

In the parking lot, tires squealed, a horn blared, followed by the sound of a solid thud.

“Hey! What the hell’s the matter with you?” the man’s voice carried back into the store.

The next customer smiled at the cashier and jerked a thumb toward the parking lot. “Much better, now, thanks!”

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Lauran Strait on Monday, May 15th, 2006 at 1:22 PM
Great story, Jean! Such irony paired with excellent dialogue and characterization.

Posted by Donna Levy [ ] on Saturday, May 20th, 2006 at 12:07 PM
This was an excellent true to life scene. It pulled me right into the action. I could see and hear the characters. Well done!

Posted by Kerry Greco [ ] on Sunday, May 21st, 2006 at 10:54 AM
Anyone and everyone that ever worked in retail (even for a brief time) will nod their head and smile when reading the ending. I certainly did!

Posted by Sandy Everton on Sunday, May 21st, 2006 at 11:29 AM
I love the irony in the last paragraph. Well done!

Posted by Mary Ann Hernly on Sunday, May 21st, 2006 at 2:18 PM
I agree with all of the above comments. Great little story, Jean. Keep writing! Mary Ann

Posted by Murray McLeod on Friday, May 26th, 2006 at 2:24 PM
"Hey! what the hell's the matter with you?"

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