Choosing the Choos by Amanda Halprin

Shelia thrust a box of Cheerios on to the shelf, picked up another from the pile beside her and thrust it next to the first box. She had been restocking this isle for what seemed like hours. At least I’m not on register, she thought.

Feeling a light tap on her shoulder, Shelia spun around. In front of her was a petite woman with a determined look in her eye.

“May I help you miss?”

“Yes. Where is the milk?”

“Aisle thirteen,” Sheila said, pointing to her left while thinking, Can’t this woman read? Each aisle had a sign above it, listing the products contained there.

“Thank you.” The woman walked towards the milk, the click-clacks of her Jimmy Choos fading away. Why does she need Choos? Shelia thought, staring at the woman’s feet. It was two o’clock, a time reserved for stay-at-home moms and dads to gather their week’s worth of groceries. With her polo, jeans and ponytail it was obvious that the woman was one of them. Shelia just couldn’t understand what a stay-at-home mom would do with Choos. Shelia had been eyeing the same pair online and was planning on wearing them out to a club or a party or a date–anywhere but a grocery store.

Shelia turned her attention back to the Cheerios, now slamming them into place. The woman, in her opinion, had no right to own the Choos if she disrespected them so. Shelia would be happy to take them off of the woman’s hands (or feet, for that matter). The navy was richer in person and the beading more elegant. With shoes that beautiful, any pain they caused the wearer could easily be ignored. Shelia stared down at her own shoes. The sneakers she had purchased back in high school for track were wearing and coated in a fine layer of dirt.

“Excuse me?” Shelia again turned to the woman, who had returned. “I need a cereal that’s high in fiber but not fiber-tasting and has refined grains, but not too refined.” The woman waited a beat. “Well, where can I find it?” Shelia bit the inside of her cheek.

“I’m not very informed on the topic.”

“But you work in a grocery store!” Shelia bit down harder and looked the woman in the eyes, as she was always being told to do in customer service training. She was determined to ignore the Choos.

“I’m not a big cereal eater.”

“You are a grocery store employee; surely you must know something.” In her attempt to avoid shouting ‘I don’t know’ and upsetting the customer, Shelia stared at the Choos. God, how she wanted those Choos. She had been picking up extra shifts and pinching every penny, but after her recent evaluation there was no chance of Shelia getting a raise. The Choos were months away.

The woman noticed Shelia’s gaze. “Oh, you like the shoes? My husband bought them spur-of-the-moment in London.” Shelia sucked in a breath. She didn’t have a rich husband to buy her nice things; she had to earn them!

Shelia was tempted to direct the woman to the sugar-packed cereal her roommate ate every morning. She decided against it, however; Shelia had the feeling that this was the type of woman who would complain to the manager when she found out about the true content of the cereal. Shelia couldn’t risk getting fired.

“I honestly know nothing about cereal, but I’ll find someone who does, okay?” Shelia said, plastering on a smile.

“Thank you.” Shelia turned on her heel and walked towards the registers in search of Ronnie, who was always eating cereal in the break room. As her shoes hit the linoleum they did not click-clack. Rather, they squeaked.

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