Sunday, January 13, 2013
Gerald patted the strange outline of the object beneath the cloth of his winter coat pocket, not remembering what he'd put inside it. He pulled the object out and immediately clasped his fingers around the plastic white spoon to hide it from supermarket passersby.
He felt a pang of guilt, not that he'd be going to jail soon. With the sample taste still lingering on his tongue, he fretted that he shouldn't have tried any sample since he knew he'd never splurge for a full retail container or package of the offered item.
The sample lady had smiled so broadly as she reached out the paper cup, so tiny, yet so inviting. Her wrinkled fingers beneath translucent plastic gloves matched her lip's radiating expressive creases.
"Try this pineapple with mango, you've never tasted anything so good," she said.
Gerald hesitated. The juice could be the perfect solution to his dry mouth. Hadn't he stopped at the bits of energy bar, pasta, ice cream, crackers, and chips all offered to him and consumed at the ends of previous aisles?
"Please enjoy," the sample lady coaxed. "The juice is on sale today. Save a dollar."
"Why not? What have I to lose?" His right hand fingers beneath the cup's top ridge lifted the tiny cup from the sample lady's hand. He turned his head as he sipped. A trick experience taught him to not broadcast offense to a sample lady if he didn't like what he tasted.
He rotated his head toward the sample lady. "Thank you. Interesting taste." Gerald accepted the juice carton presented to him, set it in the cart's child seat, and shoved his cart load of six items to the next aisle. He tossed the sample-weighted cup into the brown paper bag collecting waste at the foot of the next sample table.
He didn't eat yogurt. The young girl with flashing green eyes surely had a bright future, but not with enticing shoppers for she barely said hello. Gerald, out of the young woman's sight, tossed the cup and its yogurt. What a waste, he thought. He slipped the spoon into his coat pocket.
Prior to checkout, he doubled back and, scanning the nearby area to be sure that no one seemed to be looking, he placed the juice carton between to milk half-gallons.
To the cashier he nodded when asked if he'd found everything. The plastic spoon in his coat pocket overlooked. Wasn't that part of the free sample? Too embarrassed to ask, he decided to shop on a different day next week.
(How would you edit this? Perhaps toss it completely? What does it say? Isn't this so ordinary a situation to be considered trite? If not, why?)