The blonde stopped at the supermarket on her way home tonight to pick up something for dinner. The market is a different place on weeknights than it is on weekends when she usually shops there. On weeknights, the blonde says, it's staffed by very timid and easily spooked clerks who startle and bolt like deer at the approach of a customer. Tracked down and cornered, a clerk at bay will freeze under a customer's glare as if jacklighted and forced to acknowledge a question will at first tremble all over and then answer by pointing or shaking their head. Take your eye off them a second and they leap a stack of canned goods and disappear down an aisle.
The weekend crew is a hardier, braver, friendlier, more helpful bunch.
This happens. I'm not sure how it happens, but it does. Businesses, offices, stores---they have personalities. You go into one place and it's cheerful and welcoming, you go into another and it's angry, defensive, suspicious, hostile to your presence and uninterested in your money. Some places are tense, some are haughty, and some are burned-out and depressed. You walk in to one video store in a chain and it just lifts your spirits, but a store belonging to the same chain the next town over has you hurrying in and hurrying out with your movie, anxious and vaguely unsatisfied, as if you're sure you made the wrong choice even though it's a movie you'd been looking forward to watching for a week. And these feelings come over you as soon as you cross the threshold, before you've spoken to a single clerk or secretary, waiter, cashier, or counterman.
Of course, when you do talk to someone who works there it usually turns out that they share the store's mood. But you have to ask yourself. Does the store give it to the staff or the staff infuse it into the store? Is it management's fault...or management's great success? Does the boss there have a knack for hiring people of the same temperament, for good or bad? The same managers who hired the weeknight staff at the supermarket hired the weekend crew. Maybe it's just a matter of who you can get to work when. Maybe it's the location. Maybe it's the customers.
Pick a business you frequent. Describe its character. Speculate why it is the way it is.
The blonde came home with a roasted chicken but without the macaroni and cheese the guys love. She doesn't know if they were all out or if they no longer offer it at the deli.
She couldn't find anyone to ask.
She knew they were there though. Hiding.
She could hear them breathing.