What‘s the climax of the short story "A & P"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of John Updike's short story, "A & P", comes when Sammy utters the words "I quit" to his store manager, Mr. Lengel. The beginning of the climax (and completion of the rising action) occurs when Lengel chastizes the girls for being improperly dressed in the grocery. Lengel reminds the girls twice that his store "isn't the beach," but when Queenie blushes and tries to explain, the manager tells her

"That makes no difference... We want you decently dressed when you come in here."

Queenie replies that "We are decent," but Lengel then hints that their bathing suits and bare shoulders borders on "juvenile delinquency." And with that, Sammy announced that he was quitting. When Lengel asked Sammy if he'd said something, Sammy told him again that "I quit," and he rang up a "No Sale" on the register and walked out, hoping that his gallant response to the situation would impress the girls. But they had already left, leaving Sammy to wonder if his decision was a wise one.