by John Updike
A&P Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
I forgot to say he thinks he's going to be manager some sunny day, maybe in 1990 when it's called the Great Alexandrov and Petrooshki Tea Company or something. (9)
Sammy is talking about Stokesie here, who aspires to Lengel's job. 1990 would have seemed like the distant future to the story's readers (Stokes would be in his 50s by then), so Sammy is kind of poking fun of the modesty of his friend's ambitions. A&P is short for Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company; the new Russian name reflects fears in circulation at the time that the Soviets were going to take over America.
Lengel comes in from haggling with a truck full of cabbages on the lot and is about to scuttle into that door marked MANAGER behind which he hides all day when the girls touch his eye. (11)
Lengel is the story's authority figure. He has the power to decide how people can and can't dress in the store.
He didn't like my smiling – as I say he doesn't miss much – but he concentrates on giving the girls that sad Sunday-school-superintendent stare. (14)
In addition to being manager of the A&P, Lengel teaches Sunday school. These two positions give him power in his community. In the story, this is shown as the power to dictate what people wear and the power to be rude and get away with it.