The story A & P by John Updike

The story A & P by John Updike

The main character of the story is Sammy. An eighteen year old boy from a small suburb outside Boston who works at an A & P Supermarket. Sammy seems like an average boy who seems a tad bit tired of the regular customers who come into his store. Regular customers including those older married women with multiple kids, the overweight lady who has no regrets wearing her bathing suit that doesnt quite cover, and the nit picking old ladies who spend years trying to catch an error by a cashier.

Its the last ditch effort to make an impression on a beautiful young lady that ends up leaving Sammy unemployed. The story starts out in an A & P outside of Boston when in through the door walks three young lady sporting nothing except for revealing two piece bathing suits. Quickly noticed by Sammy, he changes his focus towards the three girls and critiques them in his head as he watches them shop about the store.

Its the leader of the pack, which Sammy coins the nickname Queenie, that really catches his eye. A tall brown haired girl whose shoulder straps had fallen off of her shoulders and just dangled around her arms. Entranced by her beauty and feeling blessed when Queenie and her pack enter Sammys line, he begins to ring up her can of fancy herring snacks. As Queenie reaches into the center of her bikini to remove the dollar to pay for the snack in walks Lengel.

Lengel, Sammys uptight dreary manager quickly notices the outfits of the three girls which sticks out like a full moon on a clear night begins to walk over and confront Queenie. Lengel proceeds to harass and embarrass Queenie and her friends about their attire. Sammy was quick to ring up the purchase and hand Queenie a bag with her food in it. Now was the time Sammy was to make his move, whether it be his hope just to catch the attention of such a thing of beauty or maybe it was his anger toward Lengel for ruing this beautiful moment that cashiers dream about .

Not surprised at the girls attempt to speed out the store, Sammy quickly hollered out I quit. The girls had heard him, but thats it, they continued to walk across the parking lot, it was just Sammy and Lengel now. Realizing what he had done, and still hoping by that some slim miracle the girls would turn around and crown him their hero. It wasnt gonna happen and Sammy knew he could now go back now and that his decision, as wrong it may have been was final.

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The story A & P by John Updike. (2019, Feb 08). Retrieved June 5, 2020, from