In the story A & P by John Updike, the author illustrates the protagonist as a bored teenager trying to escape a boring adult world. The protagonist's name is Sammy, and he is tired of the regular customers of the A & P grocery store. Regular customers include nitpicky older women, "who had probably been watching cashiers for fifty years," and overweight women with "varicose veins mapping their legs and nobody, including them, could care less." These regulars offer no excitement for Sammy and make up an unchanging adult atmosphere around him. But one day in walk three teenage girls in swimsuits with the shoulder straps down. While working Sammy is able to critique their appearances. "There was this chunky one there was this one with one of those chubby berry faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed yet". Trapped in an adult job that does not require his constant attention, Sammy is able to scrutinize the appearances of these girls, which would not be possible had he been sufficiently challenged by his work. The boredom endured by Sammy is common among teenagers, who view nearly everything about the adult world as fairly dull. .
Sammy's boredom with the adult world culminates with a rash decision. When the store manager reproaches the girls for being underdressed, Sammy hollers that he quits, hoping that the girls will hear him and be impressed: "These girls were in a hurry to get out, so I say "I quit" to [the store manager] loud enough for them to hear, hoping they"ll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero." Sammy acts without foresight in an attempt to catch the girls" attention. He quits because he hopes for the unlikely miracle that the girls would name him their hero and walk away with him. But in fact the opposite happens. The girls walk away, utterly untouched by Sammy's virtuous gesture. "They keep right on going, into the electric eye; the door flies open and they flicker across the lot to their car".