Different From Her

A woman shopping for her daughter gets caught in an awkward romance between the store clerk and her married boyfriend.

WOMAN—a shopper 40-45 years old

CINDY—saleslady; twenty-five

ALBERTO—at least 35


The Misses Department of a large department store.  It is represented by a rack of women’s clothing and a counter with a cash register.  The play takes about 20 minutes to perform.

[The checkout counter of the Misses Department at Emporium Capwell in Oakland.  A salesgirl stands popping her gum and marking labels on a pile of clothes.  A middle-class woman in her mid-late 30s comes to the counter with a skirt and blouse in her hands.  She waits for a moment.]
WOMAN: [Clears throat.  Salesgirl looks up at her, says nothing.]  If you’re not too busy, do you have this in a 12?
CINDY:  They’re over there.
WOMAN: Since I have them in my hands, I know where they are.
CINDY: Whatever sizes are there, are there.
WOMAN: You have no more in stock somewhere?
CINDY: Lady, how would I know?  They don’t tell me what’s in stock.  I just put things out.  [Pops gum noisily at woman, looks at watch.]  Good! [Puts down, garments, starts to leave.]
WOMAN: Where are you going?
CINDY: Three o’clock.  My break.
WOMAN: What about my skirt and blouse?
CINDY:  I told you.  You have to look over there for your size.
WOMAN: There aren’t any twelves there.  I think my daughter might fit this ten, so I want to take it and at least let her try it.  It’s exactly the color she was looking for.
CINDY: The break girl, she’ll be right here.
WOMAN:  You’re just going to walk away and leave me here?
CINDY: Lady, it’s not a firestorm or something. Take it over to Juniors if you don’t wanta wait.
WOMAN:  Do you give good service like this to all your customers?
CINDY: Lady, you can’t expect much for $6.25 an hour.
WOMAN: So far the service you’ve given me isn’t worth $1.35, much less $6.35.  Don’t you have any pride?
CINDY: Here, give me that.

[Cindy starts ringing up the purchase.  Woman slowly nods, putting her head on the counter, and then sinking to the floor.]

Wait!  What are you doing?  You can’t do that; this is my break.  I’ve been waiting all afternoon for this.  Wake up.  Look, I’m ringing up your purchase; see?

[Cindy takes skirt and sweater from woman and starts looking for tags.]

Will this be cash or charge?

[Sees card in woman’s hand.]

Oh, charge.  Oh, fine.

[Starts working on purchase again.]

This certainly is an attractive outfit.  I’ll ring it up quickly so you can wear it in the emergency room.  There, now if you’ll just sign there.

[Shakes woman.]

Oh, good.  You’ve just fainted a little.  Could you just sign this before you go unconscious again?  Oh, damn!  Well, at least she’s not dead.  Dead!  Oh, my God, what if she dies?  That’s ridiculous; why should she die right now, when I’m supposed to be meeting Alberto?

[Shakes woman again.]

Lady, would you please get up now?  If you wanted to faint, you should have paid cash.  All right, this is it.  I’m leaving.  Look, Debbi will be here any minute—she’s late already unless my watch is wrong.  Maybe my watch is wrong.  Look, you can just sign this when Debbi comes.  I’m leaving.  First, I’m putting you behind the counter, though, so you won’t upset the customers.

[She pulls woman behind counter]


As anyone who reads the first two pages can see, this play is intended to be mostly hokey fun, though it does have an assumed moral point.  It was first produced as part of THREE TIMES THREE:  Three one act plays three Sunday afternoons at three—and  audiences certainly did laugh.  One long-time Director and Producer claimed it was “The funniest one act she had ever seen.”