People smiling haplessly

The sounds of clacking heels and shuffling sneakers rummaging about the mall excites manager Cindy. It means big business.

It’s Friday so she’s wearing her best outfit. Greeting people as she enters through the store with fluttering synthetic eyelashes and samples of the finest make up the store offers. The customers avert eye contact most of the time while grumbling. “Just browsing.” She just continues smiling. Putting her best foot forward. Which is decorated in the least expensive Gucci heels.

She spent $650 on these Gucci heels hoping people would ask about them and she could direct them to the stores fine shoe department where they were purchased. No one has asked… ever. As soon as she speaks they ignore her. “Could of just got this crap at Amazon.” The husband or teenage son usually moans. Shes never sure whether or not to interject with some witty response to remind them dealing with people face to face is much more engaging. She tried once but they just responded sarcastically. “Yeah, what a drag to have anything you want at the click of a mouse, and get on with your day.”

Even when Cindy was new to being a retail clerk she took pride in making the most out of customers experiences. Cindy also wanted to make the employee’s day. A people pleaser to no end. She’d bring in treats made by her then fiance who was decent in the culinary arts. Nobody liked her. The words, “desperate” and “fake” got thrown around a lot.

There was a boy, Chad, who Stocked inventory for the store. Chad didn’t have any animosity for Cindy. If anything he felt pity for her. “To live your life dedicated to others, so much so that they reject you for it must feel quite sad.” He thought to himself.

One day recently he walked into Cindy’s office to ask where she wanted spring sale  display placed. She was listening to a positive affirmations video on YouTube on her phone. A young man was whispering. “You are enough. You are good, and kind.” She was so embarrassed. Cindy frantically hit the play button so many times it paused and played numerous times until she finally paused the video. She apologized several times before throwing her phone into her desk drawer after getting it to pause. He shrugged it off. “It’s not a big deal. My brother listens to ASMR too.”

She’s comforted by the lack of judgement in the tone of chad’s voice. “It’s my fault for not knocking.” Chad follows. “The manager in visual wanted me to ask where specifically you wanted the new display for spring sale.” She leaned forward. I would put them in front of our highest grossing departments. Shoes has a lot of new stuff. The active department. Since a lot people are going to try and work on their summer time body. Hmmm, oh and put one by woman’s casual. Summer time dresses are pretty popular as well.”

“Sounds good. will do.” Chad replies. “Oh, Cindy?” She tilts her head up listening intently. “We’ve worked together for a few years now. I can honestly say that you are a good person, as well as kind.” Chad smiles and walks away to carry on his tasks. She continues smiling even after he leaves the room.

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