The short story A&P written by John Updike, is about three girls who change Sammys life. The three girls came from the beach and are not dressed properly to enter a grocery store called A&P. Sammy, the main character, is a check out clerk, and observes every detail about the girls. Sam even gives each of the girls a name. His favorite is Queenie. Sammy is obviously the type of guy who doesnt get a lot of girls. Sam has a conflict of person vs. society. Because of his dead end job, obsession with Queenie, and his noble act to save the girls from embarrassment, Sammy has a conflict between himself and society.
Sammy has a job checking customers out at a small town grocery store. Sammy seems to hate his job, he mentions of the old lady who catches him ringing up a box of HiHo crackers twice. He says Shes one of those cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to strip me up. Shed been watching cash registers for fifty years and probably never seen a mistake before. He knows the customers inside and out and categorizes them. Sammy also goes through the noises he hears when checking out a customer, he seems to know them pretty well.
Sammy seems to be the daydreamer type and probably wont ever be anything more than a checkout clerk for many years to come. Sammys obsession with Queenie shows how Sammy doesnt get much action. He is about a twenty year old guy who is obsessing over a 16 or 17-year-old girl. Sammy gives every single detail about Queenie; for example, he says, She was the queen. She kind of led them, the other two peeking around and making their shoulders round. She didnt look around, not this Queen, she just walked on slowly, on these white prima-donna legs.
About 80% of the story is dedicated to the description of Queenie. When Lengel sees the girls at the checkout counter, he says, Girls, this isnt the beach. As the girls leave the in a hurry, Sammy says, I quit. Sammy hopes that the girls will hear, but they dont and just keep on walking out to their car. Lengel reassures Sammy that he doesnt want to quit, but Sammy wants to be these girls hero. As Sammy gets out to the parking lot, he looks around for the girls. He hoped that they would wait for him.
Sammy thinks that he could hook-up with Queenie if he quits his job. Even though Sammy hates his job, I can see him working at the A&P ten years down the road. Sammys conflict with society comes from his life in this small town. He does a lot of daydreaming and probably wishes he could be somewhere other then this small town. Sammy also is obsessed with Queenie; this was just one instance in this short story, who know how many other girls that come in the A&P that Sammy obsesses over. Sammy doesnt realize he has an problem, and probably never will.