Service with a Smile

Deciding between what is right and what is wrong isn't always as black and white as it seems.

I stood behind my register, staring at the top corner of the small black screen where the time continuously mocked me. When working the night shift at a grocery store, the first lesson one learns is that the clock is the enemy. Try as I might to avert my gaze, my eyes were inevitably drawn back to those small blinking numbers. Almost an hour had passed without a customer, no other soul to distract me from the five hours left of my shift. As my eyes unconsciously sought the clock again, I decided that the night would go by more quickly if I prevented myself from tracking the time. 

I backed away from my register, the big grey prison that I called home for eight hours a day, and moved to the candy rack, where I straightened packages of bubblegum and chocolate bars for the third time that night. After making a few minute adjustments to the Kit Kat display, I stood back to survey my work, hoping to find some small imperfection with which to waste a few more seconds correcting. A small laugh escaped my lips when I noticed the tiny bit of red plastic peeking out from behind a full box of M&Ms. Carefully, I reached past the box and removed the intruding candy. It was a small bar of chocolate, wrapped in red and green, a long forgotten remnant of Christmas. 

There I stood, looking at the candy bar and wondering what to do with it. I knew I could not simply walk over to its home shelf and place it with others like it. The Christmas candy, fruit cakes, and stocking stuffers had long been sold or packed away. There was no place for this particular piece of candy to go and no one to notice if it was gone. As I held my internal debate about what to do with it, I realized how hungry I was. I hadn’t taken a lunch break because the other cashier had called in sick and there was no one but the night manager to relieve me. I thought to myself, what would it hurt if I ate a candy bar everyone thought was already gone? We don’t even have these in stock anymore. No one could prove I didn’t bring it to work with me. On that note I quickly pushed the chocolate down into the pocket of my smock. 

The End

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