How do Lengel's pragmatism and Sammy's idealism conflict in A&P?

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Sammy thinks that he is impressing the girls with his "ideological" stand. In reality, they aren't interested in him at all. But he pretty much gets what he deserves, since he is just putting on a show for them anyway.

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Sammy lives in a fantasy world.  Like many young men, he is interested in the girls and their bodies.  However, he also makes the impractical choice of standing up for the girls’ right to wear skimpy clothes, quitting his job.

Lengel, on the other hand, keeps insisting that the store is not a beach.  Even when the girls say they are only picking up one thing, he is insistent that their clothes are improper.

"That makes no difference," Lengel tells her, and I could see from the way his eyes went that he hadn't noticed she was wearing a two-piece before. "We want you decently dressed when you come in here."

Lengel is concerned with policy.  A policy is a policy, and the policy says shirts and shoulders covered up.

When Sammy quits, Lengel tries to talk him out of it.

Lengel sighs and begins to look very patient and old and gray. He's been a friend of my parents for years. "Sammy, you don't want to do this to your Mom and Dad," he tells me. It's true, I don't. But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it's fatal not to go through with it.

Thus while Sammy just wants to make a romantic gesture and doesn’t really think it through, Lengel knows the practical implications of his choice.

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