2 The Customer Wants an Ice Cream!
Now, I'm here in a 24/7 convenience store working as a cashier, merchandiser, and material recording clerk at the same time. Yes. I am an industrious person. Well, I had no choice, I need to work very hard to survive, literally.
This convenience store, a franchise of FriendlyMart — the only one on this rural town, which was a good thing since there are no other competitors — had varieties of products to offer: pre-cooked meals; fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the local farms sold here; canned foods and frozen processed meat; sweets, bread, pastry and snacks; cold and hot beverages; magazines and comics; cigarettes and liquor; over the counter medicines; daily essentials such as soap and toothpaste; and contraceptives.
Yes, someone would think that this was a grocery store but actually it's not, it was technically called a convenience store but it was complete with all daily needs. A store that firmly holds its place and monopolized the town.
When I'm alone and there is nothing to do, I always organize and arrange the items in the stalls properly. I want all things in order and look neat.
Working on a counter with a cash register and stock inventory is not hard for me. I can also refill the soft serve ice cream machine, restock the cooler where bottles of liquors and beverages are being placed, place pre-made microwavable meals on the food display atop the counter and a broiler with hot dogs and sausages beside it. There is also a steamer with meat buns and dim sum.
I'm happy about my job and I don't have any complaints about being a minimum wage earner. This job was my only lifeline so I have no right to make a fuss about it.
What infuriates me the most was when I checked the stalls and I found out there were missing items, each loss will cut off my pay.
Previously, I asked Naomi to install additional convex mirrors on the corners to make sure no one would shoplift within the range of my sight, and I will beat black and blue when I catch them in action.
Call the police to arrest them for theft? Nah, if they are minors its useless and that doesn't return the money that I lost! Ducking shoplifters, why not buy instead, you duckers. Robbers? Hahaha! No worries, the people here are very friendly and strict laws made guns prohibited to civilians, it's not even possible to lay hands on a pellet gun.
Last month, Naomi's father — the owner of this convenience store — acknowledged my efforts and praised me that I tend my work with energy and commitment. He promoted me as a manager, which was nice because it also raises my salary.
Naomi was the one who was in charge of the night shift, but because I replaced her, now she was entirely focused working about the finances and the sales and stock management.
Currently, I am alone and standing here behind the counter dozing off. My shift is usually late at night.
It is 11:11 PM on my digital wrist clock. Based on my experience, there are fewer customers coming at this point in time. However, sometimes no one would come at all. This convenience store was situated in a rural town with a small population, so it does make sense. I have time to rest and recharge my energy.
Who would have thought, when I just closed my eyes, someone entered the automatic sliding door?
I saw a short and strange person donned with a peculiar brown hooded cloak went towards me.
Oh, what the heck, someone was doing a fantasy magical cosplay late at night? Is this a prank? Where is the hidden camera?
"Good evening! Welcome to FriendlyMart!" I greeted the customer politely.
"Do you work here?" The hooded person talked.
You mean me, standing behind the counter, with my uniform and name badge on? No, I don't.
"Yes, I work here. I am Neel. How can I help you?" I could only smile at him or her. I don't know. Its hard to discern because of that eerie voice that changes its pitch randomly and I can't see the face under that hood. It chills me.
"I want... uhm... what is it called..." The customer mumbled.
After a few seconds of waiting...
"Oh! I remember. It's ice cream! An ice cream in a cone please!" The customer finally gave the order as he or she raised his or her hand with gloves in the air.
Do you want to eat ice cream in the middle of a cold night? Well, okay then.
"We have chocolate and vanilla flavor. What do you like? You can also choose the mixed flavor — a combination of chocolate and vanilla, two flavors in one cone if you like." I suggested the flavor that I personally prefer with a friendly approach. Of course, my job is to serve and treat the customers right.
"Hmm... mixed flavor please!" It seemed this customer was excited. That's good, you chose a mixed flavor, I'm starting to like you.
"What do you want, a wafer cone or a sugar cone?" I took five steps from the counter to the soft serve ice cream machine with a cone dispenser and wore a disposable plastic glove.
"Which is better?" The customer asked me.
Is it your first time to buy ice cream cones at a convenience store? I wonder.
"If you want something sweet and crunchy, sugar cone is perfect for you." Well, I also like sugar cones, so... yeah.
"Oh! Sugar cone! Yes, I want that!" Woah, it looks like the customer was cheerful.
"Okay, please wait." I got a sugar cone from the cone dispenser. I lightly held it under the tap and twirled it around carefully as I pulled the lever.
It's done! A nicely twirled soft serve ice cream cone! Haha! I practiced so hard so I can make a good twirl.
"Here is your ice cream!" I gave it to the customer and gave a smile.
"Oh, thank you! Yay!" The customer gladly took the cone. It looks like this person was very happy.
"Choco-vanilla Sugar Cone Ice Cream is only 35 credits." I tapped on the pad of the cash register and gave a receipt.
"What is 'credits'?" The customer was confused.
Wait, what? You don't know credits? Don't tell me you also don't have credits?
"... Credits are the currency used to exchange and buy things that circulated around the country." I calmly explain to answer the customer.
"Oh! I'm sorry, I had none of these 'credits' you are referring to. Hmm!" The customer licked the ice cream, but I still couldn't see his or her face.
Ugh... I knew it!
"... Okay, if you don't have any Credits, I will give it to you for free." I sighed and threw away the receipt on the trash bin, it was useless anyway.
I like this person, I would treat him or her an ice cream because we have the same tastes.
"Really? Thank you! However, its a shame for someone powerful like me couldn't pay a petty sum. Since you are a very kind person, please take this as a payment." The strange customer picked up something from a leather belt bag that tied around his or her waist and placed it on the counter.
It was a cool and mysterious ring glowing with faint blue light.
"I'll take my leave, that magic ring belongs to you now, have fun! Ooh! This is delicious!" The strange customer was enjoying the cold soft serve ice cream. It seems my ice cream blend is good.
"Thank you! Come again!" Well, I hope so.
The automatic sliding door opened and closed when the customer left.
After that, I stared on the ring as I contemplate what happened. So, a strange looking customer bought an ice cream and doesn't have any money but instead paid me with a ring...
Hmm... a magic ring, huh? Sigh... I'll wear it, then. Let's see what this ring could do.