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Syndic Literary Journal

Chain Store Hell


Jennifer Lagier

Thirty-year-old male supervisors

wore white shirts, black ties.

Possessing high school diplomas,

they earned lofty salaries,

passed themselves off

as the privileged elite.


We were “girls”,

chain store cashiers

paid minimum wage,

without benefits,

unwitting stars

of their erotic fantasies.


As we hurried from check stand

to break room, through

backroom warehouse gauntlet,

groping hands reached

over Kotex and toilet paper cartons

to detain and harass.


When their wives arrived

with crammed shopping carts,

we were cautioned not to act

too friendly or speak without adding

a respectful “Mr.”

in front of their names.


Powerless, we punched

price keys with a vengeance,

slammed merchandise

across abrasive counters,

wondered what would happen

if the tables were turned.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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