Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who's in Store?

Here's a weird little idea.

I think I posted about this before, and it might even be an official day in some country somewhere. Anyway, I thought I'd put a bug in some ears.

I shop weekly, sometimes several times a week, at our local stores. In that time, although I sometimes don't even know the person's name, I've started to develop favorites. When they're working at the registers, I go to their line even if it's longer. I say hi. Sometimes we politely chat about social nothings. Some of them went to school with my kids--now they've been employees for years and we still exchange 'say hi to's' with each other.

Where I work, I have favorite customers, and I've become a favorite employee for some. In fact, all of us at work have someone or several someones who will wait longer to be waited on just to ask how are you doing, or who will come in on a particular day knowing that person will be in the store on that day.

One of these people recently turned in a comment card about one of my coworkers along the lines of 'so and so is always helpful and polite, and I shop here because of her.' It made me realize that I don't do that enough.

So, the next time I'm at the grocery store, I'm going to look at some name tags, and start filling out comment cards for them. If you've got a favorite employee at a local store, won't you consider doing the same? It's not likely to lead to any perks unless that store has an employee of the month program or something like that, but that doesn't matter. Because of a customer's thoughtfulness, for at least a month if not longer, my friend at work will come into the work and see that tangible evidence that her efforts and time away from family are truly appreciated. So often a retail employee's day is stressful and marred by cranky or abusive customers, fear of making errors, and aches and pains from being on their feet all day (literally--I don't sit down except for two breaks and during my lunch, and sometimes I walk to the store to buy my lunch. And this is the norm for retail jobs). One brief note, just a few words of praise, weighs like gold against the balance of all those featherweight fears and annoyances.

Bring a little joy into the world. Please write a comment card about someone who makes your shopping experience easier and more enjoyable. Spread the word. It's a simple, free, and civilized gift to give to members of our community who are often overlooked as something just barely more noticeable than the counters and the cash registers.

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