Jerry stood at the Customer Service counter with three bags of merchandise by his feet.

“I have to talk to my manager about a return this big,” said the cashier. He disappeared behind an unmarked door. Jerry looked around and saw the new curved LCD TV in the electronics department. He added it to the list.

The manager came to the counter. “Oh, no, no,” he said. “I told you last month, we’re not taking returns from you anymore. Do you know how much you cost this store in returned merchandise?”

Jerry blinked. The man behind him in line leaned forward.

“Fine,” said Jerry. “Maybe I’ll call the corporate office and ask about this company’s return policy. Or I could write up a nice review on social media.”

The manager coughed. He snatched the receipt out of Jerry’s hand. “Just put the bags on the counter.”

Jerry lifted the bags. An unopened laptop spilled out, along with an assortment of tablets, phones, and even a Wi-Fi-capable toaster. The manager glared at him.

“Just tell me, do you even use any of it? Do you have your own shrink-wrap machine? Does your wife make you bring it all back? Settle a bet.”

“I live alone,” said Jerry.


“The resolution on this one is better?” Jerry asked, pointing at a TV. The salesperson looked at Jerry’s hand, instead of the TV.

“Yeah, it does. But I have to be honest, it’s not that different from the one you already bought.”

“But it’s better, right?”

“I guess,” said the employee. “Man, how can you afford all this?”

“I can’t,” said Jerry.

“Oh well, I hear ya. Kids always need the newest model as soon as it comes out.”

“I live alone,” said Jerry.

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