I stormed into the department store, stomped directly over to the customer service department, and plopped 2020 onto the freshly bleached counter. “I am here to return this,” I said emphatically, “and demand a full refund.”

The sales associate sauntered over to the plexiglass partition and sighed, a strict violation of governor’s orders. Her oval name tag revealed two things: her name was Luci and she was happy to help me today! Although I couldn’t see her expression behind the required pleated mask, the dead look in her eyes suggested that only 50% of that was true.

“I can’t accept this,” she hissed, “it’s obviously been used.”

“Well yes, but only in January, February, and the first week of March. But then ppffhhhttt,” I spit, and pointed both thumbs down.

“Ma'am! This looks as if it has been run over by a car.”

“It was! And can you believe, that car had just filled up its tank at only $1.09 a gallon! So, I will understand if you need to pro-rate my refund. However, if you look closely, it does say ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed.’”

“Well, it must be a misprint,” she snorted. “These are never guaranteed. Ever.”

I cheerfully reminded her that their store’s holiday commercial specifically wished customers a prosperous new year.

“In what world does that count as a guarantee? And anyway, hasn’t 2020 been prosperous so far?” Luci asked, innocently batting her ridiculous eyelash extensions.

I lowered my head and pushed up my glasses above the nose.

“Absolutely not! Unless, of course, you count the pitiful stimulus check signed by President Trump himself, my husband’s unemployment benefits, the seventeen pounds I gained in lockdown, and the slight progress made to my mental health during my Zoom psychotherapy sessions.”

“Well! You’ve presented no receipt. How did you pay for 2020?”

“Ultimately, in tears, dignity, and home insurance deductibles when my kids were told they reached their screen time limits.”

Luci let out another sigh from behind her stupid mask.

I took a deep breath and continued.

“And since I have your attention, miss, I have a few other complaints about this substandard, defective product. One! It lists the appropriate age as zero on up but nope, that was completely false: 2020 should have been rated-R. Appropriate for adults only. Two! The fine print reads ‘some assembly required’, but that was grossly understated because I had to rebuild my entire life! And three! Although it was technically true that batteries were not required, you failed to disclose other accessories that were.”

“Such as?” she asked, rolling her eyes.

“Vodka, Prozac, and a conceal-and-carry permit.”

“Lady, I’ve got to say, you are really pushing my buttons. Can you say anything positive about 2020? Anything at all?”

“Yes. One thing was accurate. The WARNING: EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE label.”

“Listen, I’m sorry but 2020 is non-returnable and non-refundable and that is that! Now, is there anything else I can help you with before I move on to the next customer?”

“Fine. Do you have any toilet paper and hand sanitizer in stock?”

“Nope, all sold out. Not your lucky day, is it?” Luci frowned insincerely. “Or should I say ‘year’?” Her green eyes turn a creepy red and she stuck her forked tongue out and hissed at me like a snake. Her long black ponytail that had been covering half of her name tag shifted, revealing her last name: Fer.

When I turned to leave, the line behind me extended out the sliding doors and down the street; Everyone was standing six feet apart, holding their defective 2020s in various states of deterioration.


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