Last summer, my friend Jess came with my family toCape Cod. One day, we went to a street with little shops lining both sides. Anysort of souvenir one could imagine, there was a store that specialized in it. Myparents went one way, and Jess and I another, planning to meet at a nice souvenirshop at noon.
After a productive morning of shopping, Jess and I headed tothe souvenir shop. As we walked in, we couldn't help but notice the woman behindthe counter glaring at us. She seemed very suspicious. Jess and I exchangedglances, each knowing that the other had picked up on the woman'scoldness.
The store was not overly large, but there were so many shelvesand tables that the back was not visible from the front. Jess and I ventured tothe tee shirts in the back, since her sister had wanted one. The employeeimmediately walked back and stopped at a display table, pretending to neaten it.Might I add that she was not the best pretender! As we admired one of the shirts,the woman craned her neck because we were touching the shirt.
Jessmotioned to me to move to a different area of the store. We wanted to see if shewould follow us. As we stopped at the stuffed animals, she stood at the postcardrack. She slowly spun the rack, without touching a single card, her eyes focusedon us the entire time. I felt like a criminal, as if I had done somethingwrong.
Finally, it was noon, and my parents came into the store. As soonas she saw them, the woman sauntered over and asked, "May I help you withanything?" in the sweetest tone imaginable. Her facial expression changed tomatch her voice, from a look of suspicion to one of welcome.
Jess and Iexchanged glances of disgust. Jess spoke before my parents could respond. Shelooked the woman straight in the eye and said, as politely as she could,"No, I think you've helped us enough."
Once out of thestore, my father asked us what had happened. When we ex-plained, they wereannoyed with her manner, but very amused by Jess's remark.
Jess endedup buying her sister a shirt almost identical to the one we had liked at thestore with the mean lady. Of course, at that store we weren't treated like littlehoodlums.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.