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Here's a story about two customers and one retail slave named Phil.

One day, Phil was working hard at his run-in-the-mill sweat-stone back-breaking job as a retail clerk. "Man," he exclaimed, "all this heavy lifting and sweating makes my back hurt. I'm bored."

There to answer his cry of boredom was a customer. That's right, a run-in-the-mill customer with an agenda that included getting a product from the store Phil worked at, meaning going through Phil if she had to.

"I would like you," she paused, "to help me with a basketball system. I see you are behind the sporting goods counter, so I figured you'd be the one to ask."

Indeed, Phil was behind the spoting goods counter, merely because he worked in the sporting goods department in a mega-super-duper-market. Notably, he was also covering for the automotive department. "Certainly, which one would you like?" Phil followed her to the back wall where the basketball systems are kept, and she pointed out the most expensive one.

"I like this one," she said in an arrogant, rich voice. "It matches my garage."

"Great," Phil said out loud, though much louder than he had intended, "I'll go see what I have in the back."

Phil sojourned to the back rooms. The back rooms had always been a sanctuary for Phil, for he knew that no customer would dare break taboo and enter through the large double doors that separated the two worlds. As long as he was there, he need only heed the managers. A short trip found him at the basketball systems. He found the one that the woman was looking for, though it was on the highest rack on the wall. Phil found a hilo and proceeded to retrieve the device. He brought it to the floor and, after a short inspection, he discovered that the box was sheared and the basketball system was damaged. "Great," Phil said again, only this time in a quieter tone, "I wonder if we have another one." So Phil looked up and down, high and low, hither and thither, and no other basketball system could be found that resembled the one the woman was searching for. He even called 5 other stores in the immediate area and discovered that he was the only one with the product, and it was damaged. Phil hung his head low and re-entered the sales floor.

"Sir," a man's voice called out, "I have a question about car stereos. Can you help me?"

"Why, yes I can old man," Phil sarcastically remarked. He always found joy in heavy sarcasm, especially towards customers that don't deserve it, don't understand it, or are sheep. "I'll be with you in a minute. I have to help a woman with a basketball system."

Phil made his way to the woman wondering about the basketball systems. He decided to no be sarcastic seeing as the woman was fairly attractive and rich. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but the only one I have in stock is damaged."

"Really?" she replied. "What's wrong with it? Maybe I can get a discount on it and get it fixed somewhere..."

"When I brought it down from the top, the corner of the box was sheared off and the corner of the backboard was broken off. I don't believe it's not beyond the irreparable." Phil loved to use strange English phrases.

"Oh." She eyed Phil with distrust. "Are you sure there aren't any more?"

"Positive, ma'am." Phil could begin to sense that the woman did not trust him. He decided to see how she would digest this: "I also called around to all the area stores and found that we were the only ones with that particular system."

"You're sure there weren't any hiding out behind some other boxes?"

"Ma'am," Phil started to get impatient, but kept his friendly retail-tone, "it's a rather large box. I'm sure that we only have one and, like I said, it's damaged."

"Hmm..." She eyed Phil, then the display model. "Can I have that one?"

"I'm not sure my manager will allow that, ma'am, seeing as it's not on clearance. Also, there's no box, nor instruction manual, and I can't tell you that all the parts are there because I don't know if they are or not.." Phil didn't like his last sentence, but he didn't feel like wasting the energy going back in time to fix it.

"Why? Is there anything wrong with the display?" the woman asked.

"It looks a little scuffed from here, ma'am," Phil started. He finished with, "but that's not why we won't sell it. You see, it's our display. If you sell it, people wouldn't know if we still had that model in stock or not, and no one would buy it."

"But I want to buy it," the woman threw in.

Phil gave up. "I know. Look, let me get you my manager. She'll be able to explain this better to you, because I'm obviously not breaking through your layers of stupidity. I'll be at the desk calling her if you need anything else."

"One last thing," the woman said.


"Are you sure you don't have any more in the back?"

"Why don't you believe me, woman?! I'm the one who works here. I'd more than gladly like to see that system get sold, but I can't sell it! It's damaged! Tomorrow, when we do damages, my manager will write that one off and order a new one in its place. The order will come in in about a week. If you'll excuse me, I have a guest at my desk asking about car radios. Good day." Phil left the woman there.

"Sorry that took so long, sir," Phil said to the man asking about the radios, "what can I do you for?"

"I was just wondering if you had any of this type of radio in stock." The man held up an ad for a car radio. "I was also wondering if you'd honor another store's ad price."

"Certainly, sir. I'll go check in the back to see what we have. It'll be a minute." As Phil was heading to the automotive back room, he passed by his manager stooped in front of the basketball system he brought down for the woman who didn't trust him.

"Oh, hey Phil," Phil's manager said, "I just got a call from the toys department. There's a woman there wondering if we had a certain basketball system in stock. For some reason, she wanted to know if we had two... I found this one, though it's damaged. Can you see another one up there?"

"The bitch didn't trust me," was Phil's only response.

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