Because she’d heard a lot about the outskirts of town and its low low prices, Rebecca found herself in unfamiliar territory. Compared to her home suburbs, traffic was irredeemably congested, and entirely because pedestrians crossed the street whenever and wherever they wanted.
“Use a crosswalk!” she shouted at a mother and three children, though she hadn’t meant to yell. Her window was closed and no one heard her, but she was still embarrassed. Someone behind her honked, and she instinctively lurched forward, almost colliding with a jaywalking athlete who waved as he dodged and flew away.
As her pulse quickened, she began to mutter to herself. “It’s alright. Just get what you need and go.”
The thrift store was just as chaotic, but she kept her head down and concentrated. Her cart couldn’t kill anyone, and that alone made her more comfortable. In just a few minutes, she’d found a beautiful blue silk dress in exactly her size for four dollars, and a five dollar lamp with a full light spectrum.
Those two items alone justified the trip, but as she kept looking, she found a whole new wardrobe, all nicer than her current clothes, and a suit for her husband, too. She even found a ten dollar banjo, which seemed an absurd deal, and she’d always been meaning to learn.
“Did you find everything you were looking for today?” The woman at the cash register, elderly and Indian, seemed to genuinely want to know.
“Yes, and more,” Rebecca replied, “but is it always this crowded in here?”
The woman said nothing, mechanically scanning and folding Rebecca’s new possessions.
“I really like the selection and the prices, but there’s just so many people. It’s like we’re in Calcutta.”
The woman stopped. “No, these are Mexicans,” she said.