What is the perfect answer for the character in the short story, "A&P," by John Updike?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The misguided young cashier in the John Updike short story, "A&P," hardly came up with a perfect answer when he announced "I quit" to his boss at the grocery store. However, it does seem to be a fitting answer for Sammy, considering his skewed outlook on work, customers and the opposite sex. The cashier was hoping to impress the three bathing suit clad girls who had come from the beach to purchase a jar of "herring snacks" for their parents' party. The girls were hassled by the manager for not covering their shoulders, and Sammy saw his chance to become their "unsuspecting hero" when he decided to turn in his apron. The "I quit" announcement had little effect on the girls, however, who had disappeared by the time the newly unemployed young man reached the parking lot.

By quitting, Sammy took a stand against his pedestrian gig, fully aware that life would be tougher for him in the future with no job and disappointed parents to answer to. Rebellious, maybe, but Sammy is no James Dean. Perhaps he had hoped to come up with a snappier response when he explained his actions to his boss.

     I started to say something that came out "Fiddle-de-doo." It's a saying of my grandmother's, and I know she would have been pleased.
     "I don't think you know what you're saying," Lengel said.

Truer words could not have been spoken.