Holding my breath, I counted down from ten in my mind. Ten…nine…eight….
"I didn't even buy this gift. My cousin did, and it doesn't fit, so I need a refund," the lady said as she tossed the small sweater upon the counter.
"Do you have a receipt?" Seven…six…five….
"No, I don't. It was a Christmas gift. She says she paid $25.99 for it." The lady tapped her foot.
There was no way this rather hideous lime green and black sweater was that expensive. I would've known. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if the sweater was even from our store. I searched for a tag, not seeing one. "Where is the price tag? We can't give a refund unless we know it came from this store, ma'am."
"Listen, miss. My cousin said she bought it here. She took the tag off, so I wouldn't know how much it was. I want a refund." She gritted her teeth.
My fingers tapped away at the keyboard as I put in a search for the shirt. Nothing came up matching its description. The woman across from me began to get twitchy. Her eyes darted around, and she was striking her foot quicker and louder like an out of whack metronome. "I'm sorry, ma'am. We cannot give refunds without the price tag or a receipt."
Two…one. I offered the offending object back to her.
"I've been in this damn line for forty-five minutes. You are going to give me a refund." She slapped her hand on the desk. A crazed look got into her eyes, and I knew she would give me trouble.
Then again, this time of the year brought the worst out of people. What happened to working at The Finer Things as a seasonal job? I've been here for twelve years longer than I intended. I could feel the nerve under my eye jerk despite the deep breathing and counting down from ten. Maybe I should've tried one hundred. "I'm sorry, ma'am. There is nothing I can do."
"I want to speak to the manager."
I wasn't surprised. They always wanted to speak to the manager, as if it would change anything, which it wouldn't. To top it off, Jill had taken the week off, and lucky me, I was the assistant manager. "She's off this week, but you could speak with the assistant manager."
I smiled, even though I shouldn't. If the lady had realized, it was more of a grimace. "I am, and without a receipt or price tag, there is nothing we can do for you."
The lady ground her teeth, snatched up the sweater, and stormed off.
I overheard her mumble the word, "Bitch."
The tick got worse, and I realized I couldn't spend one more second in The Finer Things. I breathed deeply and let it flow slowly from my lips. It worked better than counting down as my resolve strengthened.
It was time.
I took off my name tag and dropped it into Michele's hand. "Tell Jill I quit."