80. An Unhappy Worker

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She was a big, homely, overweight young woman, in her late 20s, maybe. No ring on her finger, so she was probably single. In fact, judging from her unfriendly demeanor, she probably had no boyfriend. And unless she started dieting and exercising regularly, she would probably remain unattached.

Vivian asked her to make sure to remove the plastic tag from each article of clothing that Vivian was buying at Marshall's. The woman looked at Vivian but said nothing. Not "yes, ma'am," not "of course," not "no problem." She yanked each shirt off its hanger, removed each tag, and folded each shirt quickly but carelessly. Even though the building was air-conditioned, her forehead had beads of sweat. Occasionally she wiped the sweat off with the back of her hand.

When she finished removing all the plastic tags and folding shirts into three piles, she rang up the total--$530.78. Vivian presented her VISA card. The clerk completed the transaction and gave Vivian the receipt to sign. Then she started to put all 19 shirts into one big bag. Vivian said no, please put them into three bags because that would be easier to carry back out to the car. The young woman made a sour face, as if she had been asked to lick the floor clean.

She almost threw each pile of shirts into three separate plastic bags. Vivian said thank you and picked up the bags. The young woman said nothing. Wordlessly she wiped the sweat off her forehead, pulled a shirt off the hanger for the next customer, and folded it.


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