This story was written by H.H.Munro – a british writer who is considered a master of the short story and often compared to O. Henry.
This is the story about the human curiosity, narrow-mindedness and the dullness of the sub-urban life. It starts with the description of not-so-encouraging prospects for the “smaller businesses”, particularly for the Mr. Scarricks suburban grocery store. Big concerns stealing all the customers by using all sorts of flashy attractions, and there would be no sales during the most profitable Christmas sales week. But by the lucky coincidence, he meets an artist, who has an idea how to change that. That is described in the first three paragraphs, which serve as the introduction to the story.
These three paragraphs are composed as a dialog between the grocery store owner and the artist, and in my opinion this is used to emphasize that future events would be an elaborate trick on their behalf, and also to arouse interest in the reader, especially with the phrase “What is that instinct, sir?” This is a clever trick that may point to the ending of the story, because that instinct is the curiosity, and the author uses it against the reader, as characters of the story used it to attract the customers. Also zeugma is used here, when in “Beatrice’s resolve” girl is thinking whether she will become an angel or a girlscout. It is used to create a humorous effect, and to show that Mr. Scarrick is really out of ideas how to attract customers, and he is ready to resort to the silliest ways, like asking a lady to recite a children poem.
Then we have the second part of the story, which shows the plan of Mr. Scarrick, and how he executed it. From the beginning it shows the dullness of the suburban life, because two ladies, Mrs Greyes and Miss Fritten, have missed the train to the Town, and decided to go shopping to pass the time. The said “it’s not sensational, but it would still be shopping”. In my opinion only narrow-minded person...