About a Vent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It was 8:53 p.m. My shift at the hardware store was almost over, and just in time. I thought I would go crazy if I heard the “cha-ching” of the cash register one more time. With much delight, I flicked off the light switch to let customers know my register was closed. Just as I was about to bring my money tray into the office, a stern-looking woman appeared before me. If she had been wearing a uniform of camouflage, I probably would have mistaken her for an Army sergeant. She held a bag from our store.

“I need to return these vent covers,” she said in a demanding manner.

“Okay, do you have your receipt?” I questioned.

“No, I don’t!” she snapped.

Great! I thought, realizing that vent covers are just about the only merchandise that don’t ring up correctly for an exchange. Plus, without a receipt, this transaction would be difficult.

I forced a smile and replied with a phony tone of pleasure, “Sure, no problem. I just need to call a manager to check the prices because these vent covers aren’t in the computer system.”

“I don’t have all night!” she retorted.

“It will only take a minute for him to check,” I replied calmly.

The manager appeared and told me to ring each of them up as seven dollars but this woman, this rude and abrupt woman, would not hear of it.

“Seven dollars! Are you kidding? There is no way these vent covers cost only seven dollars!”

My experienced manager Frank stepped in to handle the rowdy customer.

“I can assure you, the price is correct. I just checked the price book and it clearly says that this type of vent cover is seven dollars.”

“Fine! Whatever. Just hurry up,” she snarled.

Glancing at my watch, I knew I would get out of work late because of her, but I continued being polite.

“Okay, I just need your phone number to complete the exchange,” I informed her with another fake smile.

“No way! I don’t give my phone number out to anyone!” she protested, her voice growing louder.

“Well, I can’t perform the transaction without your telephone number, the computer won’t allow it.”

I should have known this would set the stage for disaster. The woman seemed to grow more gray hair before my very eyes. Her face turned tomato-red and her eyes steamed with anger. This seemed very unusual to me. She was growing furious over two little vent covers.

Frank heard the catastrophic rage pouring from this vessel of a woman and stepped in again.

“If you don’t give us your telephone number, we can’t return these items for you,” he warned her.

“I don’t want your store calling my house and annoying me! I don’t give out my phone number to anyone! I won’t do it!”

“No one will call you. We just need it for the computer system since you don’t have your receipt,” I said, trying to keep my cool.

This bickering went on for some time. I would calmly smile and talk to her and she would snarl back. It was like a horrible tango dance performance of exasperating words and uncivil behavior.

Glancing at my watch, I realized it was already after nine. I informed the woman that the store should have closed five minutes ago and that she needed to give me her telephone number or I would close down my register. With a look of death in her eyes and what appeared to be a parade of smoke wafting from her ears, she grabbed the two vent covers from my hands and stormed off. She abruptly marched toward the exit and a feeling of freedom overwhelmed me.

“This is the last time I ever step foot in this store!” she screamed over her shoulder.

I heard the bell chime as she slammed the door. At last, I had a genuine smile.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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CaseyLeigh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm
Haha I love the ending! :]
 
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