People have monitors that measure stress levels. If they interact with someone who causes them stress, money is transferred to compensate. Visual indicators allow others to know if they are causing stress and avoid doing so. Main character works at a returns department and has learned to manipulate the system to make money. Likely part of a science fiction anthology published prior to 2010.

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    +1: What a dystopian nightmare that would be. "Hey, you're kinda stressing me out a bit." "Yeah, well, I can afford it."
    – Kevin
    Apr 11, 2019 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


The story in question sounds like "The Wages of Stress" by Christopher Gilbert. I don't know if it ever was in an anthology or not, the version I read was from Dragon Magazine, issue #103 (Internet Archive link) from 1985.

First page of the story (Click to enlarge)

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you confirm any specific details of the question? Are there any parts that don't fit?
    – DavidW
    Jul 19, 2023 at 21:31
  • This really looks like the answer, very nice!
    – DavidW
    Jul 19, 2023 at 22:09

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