Review: Aisle 1047 by Jon Armstrong
If there is one thing I know about sales, it’s that the people selling the products don’t care about the things they are selling. The owner might care, though in most cases they don’t seem to, but the employees don’t. In the story of “Aisle 1047” by Jon Armstrong presumes a world where brand loyalty is the most important thing and shared by the employees and the customers. But if you can suspend your disbelief there is an interesting story here.
The story follows Tiffan3. A recent graduate who is working selling oral care products on Aisle 1047, but competition is picking up and the skills she learned in school aren’t driving sales as much as they once did. Leading eventually to a Haute War. Tiffan3 is nearly laid off to prepare for the war, but she insists she can fight and is sent to a dojo to learn then returns to work for the battle.
Most of the ideas here are excellent. There is effectively a caste system based on the part of the store you work in which helps explain why people are so willing to put effort into sales jobs. All of it holds together well.
The one problem for me was the language. It is a style choice that others might like but that whenever I run into it in fiction makes me stop reading. Clockwork Orange, despite being a brilliant book remains near the bottom of my lists because of the slang and this story does the same. So while it was never impossible to understand the random leet and the way the way the characters talked brought me out of the story in almost every sentence. Which makes it even more impressive that I liked the story at all.
I don’t know if this story could be told without the odd language it is written but, it wouldn’t be this story. So while Aisle 1047 I won’t be reading it again because while I could follow the story I was never in the story. So, all I can say is that if you’re a reader who loves the language of the story as much as the story itself and wants to think over every word looking for meaning then this is a story for you. But if you, like me, believe that the best stories are the ones where the writing is invisible then perhaps this isn’t the best choice for you.