Flash Fiction: A Reason Not to Work Retail by CaraMarie Christy

Welcome to the Spot Writer’s! This month’s prompt is The Sound of Silence: Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting.

This week’s post comes from CaraMarie Christy, the young-un of Spot Writers. Visit her blog on Word Press at Calamariwriting and check out her book from 2006, Fairies Fly. Bonus points if you ask her about her book photography.

A Reason Not to Work Retail

by CaraMarie Christy

“Hello, welcome to Dream Dresses!” I smile, but when my boss only gives me a half-approving nod I add, “How are you ladies doing today?”

“Good, how are you?” One of them mumbles.

“Great.” I’m not doing great. My feet hurt like hell. “Just so you know, all our rompers are on sale for eighteen dollars today, ladies.” And even at that price, I still wouldn’t buy them.

My boss gives me a big sunny smile. It’s like a gold star around here. But she loses it when she realizes she has to finish the schedule for next week, so she calls me up to guard the register while she’s bent over the employee binder.

A woman across the store watches me step behind the counter. There’s a floral romper in her hands, from our newest collection, just out of shipment this morning.

She dashes up to my counter and slams the romper onto the table, wrinkling every inch that I’d just ironed before we’d opened the store and gives me a hard stare. She keeps staring as she demands, “Five dollars.”

Five dollars? Did she want five dollars off? Because there was no way an outfit like this was going to be five dollars. Not with the way Dream Dresses operated. Not even if there was a giant tear in the butt. That’s what insurance is for. No discounts, no haggling of any sort, no returns without a receipt… Good old, corporate America.

“THIS IS FIVE DOLLARS, CORRECT?” the woman says, louder because I’m floundering. I want to tell her to get out of the store if she’s going to look at me like that. Like it’s my fault that the dress isn’t the price she wants. Like I’m trying to steal money from her.

My boss pulls her head up from the employee binder and snaps for me, “Eighteen dollars, ma’am. Show her the price tag. We don’t do discounts.”

This riles up the customer. She waves the romper in my face and then waves it at a rack. There’s a five-dollars-sign where she’s pointing, all right. Only it says, “five dollars all purses!”, not, “five dollars anything you want to be five dollars!”.

My hands are tied, I’d like to go in to the system and change it, but getting in trouble is not worth making. I repeat the price my boss said. My customer grinds her teeth and glares.

Five dollars.”

“Eighteen.” I repeat again, like the well-trained robot that I am.

Five.” “Eighteen.” “Five.” “Eighteen.” “Five.” “Eighteen.” “Ten.”

Jesus. I want to scream no. I want to scream at her that my job is not worth giving her a discount. That every item in the store has a code. I scan the code and it gives me what the item is worth, not the other way around.

The woman wrinkles the romper one last time, flicks her nose up into the air, and tosses it across the counter at me, “I don’t want it then.”

I want to fling it back at her as she walks away. Instead, I squeeze the register tight and smile for the next customer.


 

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco: www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/