• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)


Retail tends to run a little ahead of the actual calendar: Nightmare Night stock is put out in summer, and Hearth's Warming merchandise is slammed onto the shelves at the instant that's gone. So Invoice, who's temporarily running Barnyard Bargains while Mr. Rich is on vacation, sees absolutely nothing wrong with announcing the first Back To School Sale less than one week into summer.

The kids of Ponyville have a different opinion. And it comes with picket signs.

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 71 )

+1 favorite, just due to premise.

I worked register today. Kill me.

It's real late estee hours tonight, huh? Haha, good shit. Now I'll read the fic.

Well at least Filthy got the point. Poor Diamond Tiara, she had to fix all of this. I wonder how Cheerilee felt when she saw that photo of Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom side by side not fighting?

Ah, the classic What do we want chant. Timeless.

There was probably room for We shall not be moved at some point. The Ponies united will never be defeated also hs a nice ring to it.

When Miranda showed up I did think of You’re going home in the back of a divy van. But she didn’t arrest anyone, and that might be too regional for your ‘verse.

Thanks for the fun story.

Quick, grab a screenshot before the down votes come up.

But seriously, wasn't expecting a new story so soon.

I'll give Invoice this. He learns from his mistakes. Eventually.

As with "Three Hoofwidths to the Left", I need to know if this is supposed to be part of the Continuum or not - I seem to be the only person who ever updates the register of Continuum fics on the Recap page.

Anyway, on the subject of the fic itself; it's a classic Estee piece, with what were, at heart, good intentions turning out horribly wrong because somepony just wouldn't listen to advice when others were trying to point out their impending doom. Really, I think this is the most cathartic of Estee's pieces because it's one of a relative handful where A: the jerk who is making trouble is really not meaning to be a jerk, and B: the jerk who is making trouble gets smacked down good and hard by the fic's end. Solidly written, classic Estee skill with the dialogue and general text-crafting, really enjoyed this.

This fits so many things.. invoice is right retail calendar runs months ahead of the rest of us. One holiday or event is barely over and they are getting product for the next. Halloween candy is starting to appear in stores

Spoiler alert: So he went from dismissing kids as unimportant to being their coach. Good for him.

Diamond Tiara might be a brat, but damn if she isn’t a capable one.

This was hilarious. Diamond's section actually had me laughing, but the rest of it was hilarious. Especially the reactions of the "young" professionals *Rainbow and Miranda".

EDIT: 35:0? Evidently the downvote brigade haven'r bestirred themselves yet...

This was even better than expected, masterfully done. I'm certainly going to have to get around to reading your stuff more regularly.

But those same ponies also had nightmares about that moment of contact, because to be put in temporary charge of the Ponyville branch meant Mr. Rich was evaluating them.

Also, they're in charge of a store in Ponyville.


Seems like it is, given the "9k word count on the ongoing Barnyard Bargain sub-saga" in the Patreon announcement.

Oh, so that's who you are on here.

I would do it, but Recap pages are tougher than most, having to come up with a description that isn't Copy-And-Paste.


Didn't expect that ending, but it's nice!

I was thinking going to Appleloosa would be ExiledToAntarctica, but that's bad management. ... And Invoice likely is the only one without ties to the town, given that he's single?

But, he's got Ponyville ties too, now...

Soo much worldbuilding, in the parenthesed stuff. Like, what are P.R's kids' names, etc.

That Ponyville is home to at least 60 kids... We've never got a Ponyville population count?

And how everyone can see Sweetie's Talent... Possibly even her, but just never expressed it enough for a cutie mark...

My favorite line was the one about what Spike can do. I genuinely laughed out loud at that, the sheer absurdity of the ponies considering something both he and we can do a super power is hilarious. It's also nice that you've given us another story where the Crusaders aren't (deserved in universe) pariahs. This is going in the favorites.

You, only solely you, are responsible for Diamond Tiara being my favorite kid character.

Invoice doubted it. Mr. Rich listened to one child and, in his opinion -- one which wasn't exactly solitary -- did so far too often.

...oh. Invoice thinks Mr. Rich only listens to Diamond Tiara. :facehoof:

"...Ah think," Apple Bloom eventually said, just before the closing doors cut her off, "we wanna remember that we can't chant when we're holdin' signs."


65:1, someone must have seen your comment and decided to fix it or something.

I like that he was willing to learn and change after finally accepting that he'd made a mistake. And found a niche that let him use those traits that put the kids off in service of them instead. It's a sweet ending.

knew local store that tried something like this. they learned the hard way.

"Invoice..." The mare's voice was oddly gentle. "Have you listened to them? What they've been chanting, the first version or the new one? At all?"

I just now noticed that we didn't hear their chant until after Mr. Rich joined the protest. Nice.

wonderful story. I'm going to guess, with the speed thing happened, you chose to go with a more canon interpretation of the Crusaders and that helped. I loved Diamond AND Filthy Rich joining in the protest

I will make this thing Tiananmen Square.
But also, this is GREAT.

Ah yes, this brings back memories of the horror I felt as a kid, seeing Back to School displays in mid-July. One time I even saw them in June - just a few weeks after school had ended. I was furious.

Great job with this story. I really liked your writing of Diamond, Scootaloo and of Mr. Rich. Miranda Rights was also a great character too. ^_^

I love these stories. They are always a delight to read.

I... don't think I've ever seen this particular idiocy in Australia (I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just that it's comparatively rarer). Possibly because A) the average Australian summer break is only about 6-8 weeks) and B) happens over the Christmas/New Years break. So at for at least the first 2+ weeks of the summer vacation everyone is saturated in Christmas sales.

That being said I have seen "Back to School" Sales in early January, but that's generally only Officeworks and they're a dedicated stationary/office supplies store who are looking for something to do while most major retailers play a game "How Early Can We Start Putting Out Easter Displays Without Getting In Trouble". (The answer, in case you're wondering generally seems to be the second week of January. First week of January earns loud public complaints and nasty editorials, last week of December has seen major retailers cop fines from local councils).

I LOVE these Barnyard Bargains mini-stories. :D

And that didn't count the ones who were just watching from the sidelines, for ponies loved street theater.

Apart from the size, smell, nonsensical philosophy of Harmony, and smell, the main difference between Equestria and Ankh-Morpork was that a sizable portion of the population couldn't carry a sign and shout at the same time.

"These," Invoice's superior said, "are our demands."

If it were possible to audibly smile, I'd be grinning so loudly at this.

This was epic! Estee, most of your stuff is great, but this was really upper-tier. I loved that there wasn't any nastiness or deliberately hurtful things going on, and that the ending was actually really positive. It made me just feel happy when I was done reading it, in addition to making me laugh along the way. Stellar job.

Okay, I have to say a couple things. First off, I want to give Miranda a full-body hug and ear-scritch, because she is the best police chief in the history of police chiefs. Second, I'm quite impressed with Diamond, not only for willingly helping the Crusaders with something, but for being actually LIKABLE. Major props on both accounts.

All in all, I'd have to say this is one of your best Crusaders-related pieces yet. No painful stupidity, just good, cathartic fun.

That phrase with your avatar I don't want to know....

I didn't have anything to do with it, it was stuff I saw on the local news.

hat being said I would have joined in, if I had the means.

Probably a good thing too:pinkiecrazy:

So wait, did Invoice deliberately plan the Back-to-school sale to drive the children out of Barnyard Bargains, or am I misreading that bit? Because if so, he is an even bigger idiot than I thought.

That ending really snuck up on me - perfect!

Ooh, this was a good one! Chief Miranda Rights remains one of the refreshing, if regrettably rare, reasonable ponies in the 'verse. And I quite liked how Diamond used her inherent talent for bossing ponies around to improve on the protest. Heck, even the CMC managed to not cause unwanted chaos and havoc!

And that ending was both surprising and delightful. Mr. Rich has that rare talent of the best managers: figuring out how to match the job and the pony for the maximum benefit.

Nah. His original idea was that the "Back to School" sale would snag parents who are already starting to wish the summer was over so their kids would be back to school instead of raising hell at home and across Ponyville. He just thought the kids boycotting Barnyard Bargains would be a bonus, as it would keep them out (and thus not making a mess he had to deal with) for a couple of days before they got bored and ended their protest. Basically, Invoice's whole problem throughout the story is that he doesn't take children seriously.

"He can carry a sign and chant. At the same time . Invoice, you have to resolve this. If Mr. Rich comes back and they're all still out there --"

Biological superiority.

That was good, it developed nicely as the protest gained more members. And in the end, Invoice learned an important lesson and didn't even get fired.

Hmm. Seems like this is taking place after A Confederacy of Dunce Caps. And possibly a long conversation between Cheerilee and Mr. Rich.

He was doing it, he loathed it, and in the end, that loathing would become his sole, completely-failed defense.

I do love how you include omens of impending doom in your stories.

It's kind of disturbing how good Scootaloo is at organizing protests. I'm not expecting her to end up with a megaphone on her rear by the end of the day, but she seems to be the only one who really gets what she's doing... aside from the whole chant-sign incompatibility thing.

"The Trio Of Death" is a new one, though I can only imagine how many appellations the moving suppliers have devised in their worship of the Crusaders.

"Rights only apply to adults."

Wow. Wow. Though that is something I'd expect from someone so detached from childhood that he'd come up with this sale at this time of year.

Oh dear. And then the protest had competent leadership. (Also, I stand somewhat corrected and rather relieved on Scootaloo's abilities as an organizer.)

And that ending. Pitch perfect.

In all, a delightful read. Thank you for it. And I too wish I could see Cheerilee's reaction when she sees that photo.

...Not keen on this one.
You made Invoice too close to actually being right. He didn't start being completely wrong until after grown adults (the target demographic) joined the protest and he ignored them.
Mucking about with the sales calendar was literally what he was supposed to do. Sure, he should have chosen a different sales focus; pulling that one forward reduced the total number of promotions that could be run in the year. But that's the premise.
He ignores the kids when they start ththeir protest - he lays out perfectly valid reasons; they are bad customers, if customers at all, and the protest is unlikely to last (Mr Rich's argument at the end only works if customers have loyalty to a department store, instead of their own convenience and wallets).
Now, after the adults joined in, and the protest had reached its third day, yes, he should have considered backpedalling, regardless of whether or not he understood what the problem was.
Also, gloating to a child in front of witnesses certainly didn't help.
But here is the crux of the matter. He didn't understand why they were protesting. This was a crucial bit of information the staff didn't manage to communicate. That Miranda chose to make an insulting assumption* about rather than any sort of attempt to help. That (I assume) Mr Rich tried to convey by making him the coach.

... Actually, you know what? The reason I don't like it is that this feels very much like a situation a mildly autistic person would find themselves in and I am seeing far too much of myself in Invoice to be able to find the humour in it.


"Rights only apply to adults."

Is it not true? How many sections of the universal declaration of human rights are not regularly violated in regards to minors by dint of the parental right to raise their child?

*That assumption being that Invoice has grown old enough to forget his childhood. Obviously, this may not apply, but for some kids, school is where you got to be with your friends and as such, the end of summer holidays was not something to be dreaded, but may have been something to look forward to.

Arrrgh. I ran into your subject matter in the wild today. Halloween decorations are out in the stores here. In July.

One can only assume we'll see Christmas start in late August.

Just one question with DT. Before or after season 5, and her reformation? Hard to tell here.

In general, the Continuum ignores basically everything after the end of season 3. So if it happened in season 4+, it's neither happened here nor going to happen.


Is it not true? How many sections of the universal declaration of human rights are not regularly violated in regards to minors by dint of the parental right to raise their child?

The thing is, Invoice isn't raising anyone. The rights of the parent should be exercised for the benefit of the child, even if the child doesn't see that benefit immediately. Excessive, negatively impactful violation of a child's rights becomes child abuse. We see a healthy violation of the protestors' rights when Miranda sends them home around six on that first day, denying further exercise of their right to assembly to ensure they all get home safely.

But Invoice? In the sentence I quoted, Invoice is effectively saying, "The law does not protect these things. Go get rid of them." The way I read that sentence, it said to me that he doesn't view ponies as actual people until they hit the age of majority. Or until they get a steady income, but that's probably taking things too far.


My favorite line was the one about what Spike can do. I genuinely laughed out loud at that, the sheer absurdity of the ponies considering something both he and we can do a super power is hilarious.

Especially when it's something that at least a third of the protestors can probably do as well. (A good chunk of the unicorns can probably levitate a sign by now, and at least some of the pegasi can hold a sign with their wings, or hover and hold it with their forehooves.)

Absolutely hilarious.

"And... when you're a kid... everypony tells you what to do," she softly continued. (So soft, and yet her words reached everypony around her.)

I sense some enunciation and speaking from the diaphragm here. Yeah, her tiara cutie mark is a mark of leadership. She just needs a little nudge to point that leadership potential in the right direction. Her father owns a chain of stores. She's going to own *countries*


She's going to own *countries*

Queen / Empress Diamond Tiara.

Name checks out. :moustache:


We see a healthy violation of the protestors' rights when Miranda sends them home around six on that first day,

Yes. But the fact she could do that then but not when he requested she do so clearly indicates that their rights are variable, rescindable at the whim of the authority... which means they are not rights at all.

"The law does not protect these things. Go get rid of them." The way I read that sentence, it said to me that he doesn't view ponies as actual people until they hit the age of majority.

That is a lot more contempt than I got from it.

Wasn't it obvious? "Rights only apply to adults."

When I read that, I hear it as though it should be put next to statements like "water is wet", "fire is hot" and so on. Merely stating a basic fact of reality, for the benefit of someone who seems to have forgotten. Perhaps a tad confused, as the other party is _surely_ referring to something else, this is just too basic.

Okay then, if children do not have rights, then out of curiosity, on what basis are laws against child abuse?

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