Sammy, the main character in John Updike's short story A&P, is smitten with the three bikini clad girls that have just entered the store. He is so distracted that he double rings the HiH o crackers and hears about the mistake from the register conscious customer. Judging from the descriptive narrative of the girls and their attire, Sammy is quite overwhelmed with all the desires of a nineteen year old male. The girls would probably have gone unnoticed in a beach community further south or in a different day and age, but in this northeastern community in the early 1960's, they have caught the attention of the two young men working the registers. Sammy takes in every detail of each of the girls during their visit. The girls weren't completely innocent in this whole ritual.

They pranced their bare feet through each of the aisles before coming to the checkout with a 49 cent can of Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream. This is when Sammy seizes the opportunity to be the knight in shining armor. Lengel, the manager, comes out of the office and is reprimanding the girls for their inappropriate attire. After the confrontation between Lengel and the girls, Sammy steps up with a testosterone driven early retirement notice. He desperately wanted this selfless gesture to come with a romantic reward. Much to his dismay, his only reward is the stark realization that he is now unemployed and will have to explain this to his parents.

Like many young men, he played out a scenario in his wishful imagination only to have to deal with the consequences without claiming the prize.