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For store clerk, poems a way to cope with sadness, stress

By Corene Brisendine

Samantha “Sam” Price has written more than 600 poems.

“I love to write,” she said. “I’ve been writing since I was about 14.”

Price, 24, grew up in Hutchinson but moved to Manhattan about three years ago to attend Kansas State University.

She majored in agronomy, but was asked to sit out a year because of poor attendance.

Price said she never pursued a degree in creative writing because she likes to write as a way to relieve stress.

She said that her earlier poems focused on the dark side of humanity because she was dealing with being a teenager. She said writing helped her cope with growing up.

“Most of them are not happy,” Price said. “It was a way for me to release my pain or see things in a different way.”

She said her poems now are not as dark and somewhat romantic.

That could have something to do with her fiancé, Anthony. She said they have been together for a few years. She said they have talked about moving to Florida or Canada, but not right away.

She said when she arrived in Manhattan, she got a job at a convenience store — and still works there because she loves her job.

She said there are the regular customers that come in every day, know her by name and strike up a conversation with her all the time. But when others come in, she likes to meet them and talk with them, too.

Price said there was only one customer in the three years she has been working as a clerk at Shop Quik that has ever been mean. But even then, the customer wasn’t really mad at her, but at the price of gas.

She said the customer was yelling at her because the price for gas was higher if paid with a credit card rather than cash, and a debit card was considered credit.

In the end, the customer bought a candy bar with cash, tossed the change at her across the counter and left without another word.

Price said when she first started, she worked as a closer.

Once, someone came to the doors after hours wanting a receipt because one didn’t print at the pumps. But she couldn’t do anything for the customer. So she hid in the back room until he left.

That was the only time she was afraid to work at night, but now she works during the day or early evenings.

She said she should probably get another job because being a clerk doesn’t pay well, but she stays because of the people.

It’s also what keeps her in Manhattan.

“Even though I don’t make very much money at it,” she said, “I’m just happy doing it. I think that’s probably why I smile so much.”

In addition to her job and fiancé, she has two pets that keep her smiling. Her dog, Mystique, is a German Shepherd mix that Price was just suppose to pet-sit for a friend.

That was three years ago.

She said Mystique, named after the X-Men character, is afraid of thunderstorms. This spring, Price came home to find the dog hiding in the bathtub because of the thunder.

The other pet is a gray tabby named Meeko, whose namesake was the mischievous raccoon in Disney’s “Pocahontas.”

When Price isn’t working or being entertained by her pets or boyfriend, she enjoys playing games on her old gaming systems.

She said her favorite is Soul Calibur III, a fighting game played on Playstation II. She also has a Super Nintendo and Nintendo NES.

When Price gets tired of playing video games with Anthony, she likes to read. She said her favorite books are suspense/romance novels. She’s read “No Control” by Shannon Butchner several times.

Price said she hasn’t tried to publish any of her poems because she doesn’t have the money to self-publish and hasn’t received any deals through traditional publishing houses.

She said she hopes one day she will. In the meantime, she said she’ll keep writing, reading, playing, laughing and loving.

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