She was stylish and I would guess 50ish. She came to my register in a local department store where I worked.

“Do you have a return?” I asked as I noted a familiar plastic bag.

In a voice that held a hint of embarrassment, she answered. “I found these shoes in my mother’s closet. She’s in a nursing home, now……uh….she has Alzheimer’s.”

She took two shoe boxes out of the bag and opened up the boxes that displayed very out-of-style shoes that looked unworn and dusty.

“Do you have the receipt?”

“Yes, it’s right here.” She pulled the tape paper from her purse and didn’t look at me.

I looked at the crumpled paper. “And this was paid in cash, right?”

“Right. They’re just like new. She never wore them. Look, the tissue is still in the box.”

Something made me look towards the bottom of the receipt where my eyes caught September 3, 2004.

My willingness to help disintegrated into an ugly picture, as I dialed up the manager on duty to see what the protocol was on this strange request.

What other treasures is this daughter looking for in her mother’s home to rake up some cash? Can’t she at least wait until the poor lady dies? Most of all, why can’t she give the shoes to charity or give them to someone in need?.

Christine answered the office telephone. “You’ve got to be kidding! 2004? Don’t let on like I am saying all this. Just answer yes or no. Does she have a receipt?


“Are the shoes in good condition?


“ OK. We’ll have to give her store credit. Obviously,. Those shoes are not only out of style, but no longer do we stock them. The shoes will not be of any use to the store. Go ahead and do it..”

I hung up the phone feeling disappointed.

I wanted to refuse this selfish lady store credit. I wanted her to feel embarrassed. Was there anything left in this world that people would not do for money? What about pride? Did she not have any pride? Would she be shopping around in the store for her Mother a warm robe or slippers or perhaps even a nice cologne? I doubt that. Once again, my faith in mankind was slipping. I guess I expect someone who is in their fifties to know what is morally right or at the very least what it in bad taste.

I did the necessary paper work and handed her the card that gives her store credit. The words, “have a nice day” would not even tumble out of my mouth but instead, stuck in my throat.

I watched her walk away. The atmosphere was filled with some kind of strange energy that left me feeling like I was on a boat to nowhere.

Author's Bio: 

Has an AA Degree from St Petersburg College
Taught Nursery School, Children’s Choir,
Paraprofessional for First Grade

Co-Author of Character Keys to a Bright Future.
Writes poetry, short stories and articles.

Unlimited Minutes published by Taborri.Com
Zach and the Wishing Well by Just for See Zach’s story
Personal: Married, four daughters

Her web site is:
(Good Character Press)