Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vignette: Thrift Shop Duel

"How much?"

The salesgirl blinked up, mouth full of tuna salad. She offered a questioning "Mmf?" and put her sandwich down as a sign of good faith.

Uninterested in good faith, the matron waggled a sad-looking rhinestone necklace and repeated, with pointedly clear syllables, "How. Much?"

Swallow accomplished. "Ma'am, we're closed on Sundays; I'm just here doing inventory. That necklace hasn't been priced yet."

With even more emphatic clarity, "Yes. That is why I was forced to ask."

Anticipating battle, the salesgirl moved the sandwich under the counter. "No, I'm sorry, I meant that the price hasn't been set."

"Then set it."

"I'm sorry, Ma'am, but the owner does that. She'll be here tomorrow morning, when we open for the week. I'd be happy to tell her that you're interested in -- "

Further words were drowned in the matron's exasperated puff of breath. "You can't have paid more than eight dollars for it. I'll give you ten." The matron fished a bill out of her beaded purse, placed it gingerly on the counter, then lowered the necklace into the same purse as she proceeded to the door.

"Ma'am! No, Ma'am, I'm sorry, I can't sell that to you until the owner prices it. Ma'am!"

The only response was the ringing of the shop-bell as the door slammed.

Image: By Richard Masoner. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Hello! Came across your blog by clicking the "Next" button on blogspot (see above), and am now officially following you.

    You have a very distinct, engaging writing style. Please keep it up - I'd love to continue reading more!

    I used to live in Oregon when I was a kid - in Bandon and then McMinnville (near Portland). I plan on going back someday, if for no other reason than it was simply beautiful and I loved the rain.

    - Lauren

  2. Hey, ladaisi! Thank you!

    Oregon's lovely, yes. It's as if Ashland were designed to be a gardening town.