The worst part wasn’t that people were always in a hurry and often in a bad mood. Janelle was used to that; such was the tempo of modern life when the outside world had finally caught up to what had long been the airport norm.

No, the worst part was people’s tendency to select an item, pay for it, and then leave it on the counter.

Janelle’s superiors at Schuylkill News and Convenience were very clear on one point: save on one of her 15’s or lunch, there was no leaving the store, no exploring Metro Airport.. So there was never any chance of reuniting an item with its departed owner, who had probably long since departed for another continent. Be it water bottle, Coke, cell phone power cord, or James Patterson page-turner, it would sit forlornly behind the counter for two days before being released for resale.

Sometimes the person would come back, often livid with recrimination. “Why didn’t you tell me I left my water bottle here? I paid $2.50 for it!”

“They don’t let me leave the store,” Janelle would reply. People would usually mistake her honesty for sass.