Release Date: 02/03/15
Welcome to SmartMart, where crime pays minimum wage...
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers.
Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk customers, and learning exactly what a “Code B” really is (ew). And for added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her?
Oh those first jobs—sometimes we wanted to poke our eyes out with a fork! Of course, working in a big box retail store isn’t the worst thing in the world, but for a girl who had counted on spending her summer playing softball and hanging out at the beach, it wasn’t exactly ideal. Lex had a rocky start at SmartMart before she realized how great the place really was. Isn’t that the way it usually works?
My second week of work started with training in bagging groceries. It wasn’t quite as boring as greeter, and at least I could use half a brain to sort out frozen items from pantry items. Noah asked Ruthie to train me, and he never so much as looked at me. I guess he was still mad. I couldn’t blame him.
Ruthie cackled loudly every time I mixed items that weren’t supposed to be mixed. It made me learn a whole lot faster, since I couldn’t stand the constant tee-heeing when I’d get something wrong. And unfortunately, I seemed to get a lot wrong in the beginning. Sometimes she’d take over and I’d watch her. One thing was for sure—Ruthie could organize items into bags faster than anyone I’d ever seen. All the frozen food together, boxes together—never a mistake like putting a can on top of a loaf of bread like I did. But even the fact that Ruthie laughed every time I’d screw up wasn’t the worst part.
No. The biggest pain in the ass about this position was that I had to ask every single customer if he or she wanted paper or plastic.
“Most places don’t ask anymore,” Bessie had told me on my first day. “But at SmartMart, we want to offer our customers every possible convenience.”
Convenience? Some of the customers looked annoyed at even having an option. They’d sling their environmentally friendly reusable bags at me, scowling as if the offer of evil plastic or foul paper was offensive. I even stopped for a while, until Mr. Hanson passed by once and said quietly, “Don’t forget to ask about paper or plastic, Alexis.”
Vivi Barnes is the author of Olivia Twisted and the upcoming release, Paper or Plastic. She was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. www.vivibarnes.com
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