“Every Season Starts at Dicks” is a nonfiction piece that I found in the Gandy Dancer archives. It details the experience of working a retail job at Dick’s Sporting Goods during holiday season, something I can personally relate to having spent much of my own time working retail jobs. In this short story, a customer is attempting to return a pair of pants the day after Christmas. With all the hectic-ness that is going on around her, the cashier/narrator misplaces the pair of pants and has to deal with the rude customer as she deals with his return. At the end of the piece, she visits Target on her break to do a return of her own and sympathizes with the other retail worker who is completing her transaction.
The humor is definitely a strength of this piece. Especially for those who have worked retail before, every description of the customers and things those customers say are extremely accurate. Even if the events of the story didn’t play out exactly as they are told in the piece, it can still be considered nonfiction because any small alterations that were made did not drastically alter what the piece was trying to accomplish.
Beyond that, the writer is very good at evoking the feelings of frustration that the narrator is feeling within the reader as well. Perhaps it is just because I can relate on a personal level, but I found myself wanting to yell at the rude customer myself. If writing is realistic enough to actually make the reader want to scream through a computer screen, I think that demonstrates real effectiveness, especially in nonfiction pieces.
The language and voice and descriptions in this piece transported me right to a Dick’s Sporting Goods during the holiday season. I could feel the chaos and hear the beeping of the security tag scanner. Although the piece definitely does take place in a Dick’s, I don’t think the piece is limited to that particular store, so it is therefore not limited to people who have only worked with sporting goods. This story could be broadly understood by anyone who has ever worked a retail job, and even those who have not. This is achieved through the voice of the narrator and the descriptions of the chaos ensuing in the store itself. This story made me understand how effective actually invoking real feelings in the reader can be. Perhaps everyone should strive to write pieces that have the reader screaming into their computer screen.