Wednesday 18 December 2019

The Refund

 By Janet Howson

hot chocolate

It was a Saturday near Christmas, understaffed at our shop,
The customers swarmed at us till we all felt fit to drop.
The fitting rooms were crowded out with mums and prams and shopping,
The carpet was obscured from view, by sweets that kids kept dropping.
With three staff on their tea break, leaving two to hold the floor,
It was me and my friend Sheila, left to face what was in store.
She entered like a lawnmower and powered to the till.
The expression on her face disclosed a ruthless, iron will.
She made a beeline for poor Sheila, her husband close behind.
 She knocks our friend upon her shoulder and says, “Here do you mind?
I want some service straight away, I’ve got to catch a train,
It’s miles to walk, the weather’s bad and my poodle hates the rain.”
Then out it came in all its glory, the crumpled well-worn bag,
I looked across at Sheila and our faces began to sag.
“I bought this dress two years ago,” Sheila stood there stunned,
And now I find a button off, I’d like a cash refund.”
I went across to deal with her, and keeping cool I said,
“Perhaps you’d like to look around for something else instead.”
She looked aghast, “Well, really, Harrods never make this fuss.”
And round the shop she stormed with many a hateful glare at us.
She picked a bright pink, size ten blouse, “Perhaps this thing will do.”
Besides the fact she’d bright red hair and bust size forty two.
“I’ll have to try it on and that will make me later still.”
I showed her to the fitting rooms and followed through the drill.
“Two garments in the fitting rooms, please take this one as well.”
“What!” she cried, as if she had the whole High Street to tell.
“I only want to try on one, why make me try another?”
By now I’d thought of various places I’d really like to shove her.
“Two in two out”, I kept my voice as steady as a rock.
“I see,” she said, “so now you think I’m trying to steal your stock.”
I thought I’d got her sorted when I heard this ghastly scream,
“What’s this! Communal changing rooms, how vulgar and obscene,
I’m not removing all my clothes for half the world to see,
I’ll have to have my money back it’s as simple as can be.
This has all been very tiring for a woman in my condition.”
“I’ll have to fetch the manageress,” I said, “and ask for her permission.”
So off I went knowing  I’d have to interrupt her break,
And down she came, crumbs round her mouth from Freda’s homemade cake.
“Good afternoon madam, I hope I haven’t kept you waiting?”
“You have indeed,” she moaned, “I find the whole business frustrating.
Your girls were rude, your garments faulty and then to double my grief,
I was shoved amongst some naked women and accused of being a thief!”
The manageress then looked at her and the dress all worn and frayed,
“We’ll have to send it back to our head office I’m afraid.”
 “Does this mean more delay, I want my money back right now.”
She was just about to carry on whence came this dreadful row.
Down had come the make-up counter, we all let out a moan,
There sat the lady’s poodle drenched in powder and cologne.
There were lipsticks rolling on the floor, eye-shadows upside down,
The garments now were splattered with pink, red, green and brown.
 The lady yelled and grabbed her dog from out of the display.
“Such cruelty to animals, I shall ring the R.S.P.C.A.
“Egbert!” she cried, “He disappears once I’ve turned my back.”
But Egbert was amusing himself behind the underwear rack.
Back he came red in the face, “Did you call me dear?”
 “Indeed I did, I’m taking no more insults from in here
I shall write to your Head Office!” and out she flew at such a speed,
She took her poodle by the paw and clipped her husband on the lead.
There was no great necessity to tell her the address,
For all over the country there are such women who cause us stress.
They try their tricks and mostly fail, but there’s one thing we find,
In their hurry to depart, they leave their garment behind.
We get so many of them and are loath to throw them away,
We decided to recycle them, and it is my turn today.
Oh, they’re always coming in with their hysterics and their flusters,
Yes, cut up neatly into squares, this will come in grand for dusters.


Word count: 780

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