The two young ladies browsed the store for what felt like forever in search of the perfect dresses. One of them was above average height and slim-framed. The other was shorter and thicker around the hips. The older blonde-haired woman who followed them made a poor attempt at being discreet. Still, she kept an eye on the young ladies dressed in hooded sweatshirts with college insignia and blue jeans. The November chill was unforgiving and even the sweatshirts did little to block the wind. Still, the pair were proud to display their school’s mascot on their clothing.
The dress options weren’t limitless, neither of them found a style they particularly liked, yet they had to leave with something. This was the department store to choose a dress from as they had both run out of time and patience. An hour and a half and several dress fittings later, both ladies found dresses to serve their purpose. The blonde-haired woman made sure to watch their every move, grazing the racks, folding articles of clothing and straightening displays—all within a ten-foot radius of the two young students for the duration of their shopping trip.
“Have you noticed that sales associate following us? She’s been watching us the entire time we’ve been in here,” the shorter one whispered to the taller one on their way to the cashier to purchase their dresses.
“Yeah, I’ve been seeing her. She can watch all she wants,” the other replied.
As the young ladies approached the checkout counter, they noticed the store manager chatting with the sales associate. The shorter one cleared her throat to get the manager’s attention.
“Oh, hi! It’s been so long. How have you been? How’s school? I heard about everything you’ve been doing for the youth program at church. I heard about your book, too! You’ve been super busy, haven’t you?” the manager rambled. The two young ladies turned to look at the sales associate who pretended to busy herself with folding clothes nearby, though her look of surprise hadn’t escaped the students’ sights.
“Actually, I came back from school this weekend to do my book signing. The church was so nice to offer to host it for me. I’m really hoping to reach the youth through my books,” the shorter one replied once the manager stopped asking questions.
“That is wonderful! My daughter and I will definitely be there!” the manager said.
“Thanks. Look, we’ve got to get moving. We only have a couple of hours left. Your sales associate over there with the blonde hair was such a great help to us. We couldn’t have felt any safer as we browsed the store. Unfortunately, we’ve changed our minds about the dresses. They don’t really fit the event tonight.”
“Oh, are you sure?” the manager asked as her gaze drifted towards said sales associate. “Is there anything we could do to earn your business?”
“You already have,” the taller one replied as the pair turned to leave the store.