Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grocery Store Clerk-NEWBIES

Lately, we have been seeing a few new faces around our store; they are dressed like us, take a position like us so, they must be one of us.  These people, what one employee called, 'newbies,' have recently joined our team.  Hired on to fill the empty spots, that seemed to have occurred over the last few months, these new employees are in the process of training. 

Wow, does this bring back old memories. 

When I was hired on, it was in a group that consisted of four.  However, within a few months I was the last one standing.  Mmmm, don't know if that was for the best or not.  But anyway, I remained and it has been nine years now. 

When I see these new faces I cannot help but think of all the things that they will be learning; it is exhausting.  There are the company policies, established programs, customer service, team work and all of the other essentials that seem to change from year to year.  What is more important is, the way that they will learn it; the first customer that gives a hard time, the amount of work that will be expected, all of the, "Will you do this?" or "Will you do that?', which will be thrown their way.  And let's not forget cross-training and no, it does not come with extra pay. 

I guess that if I were to give advice, I would have to say - 'just jump in';  keep your cool, smile a lot, try to remember all of these things that you are taught (it will become second nature) and, be nice to your co-workers because there will be days when they are your only salvation.  Also, know that you will make mistakes and know that it happens to us all.  Always ask questions!  You will need to be dependable and have a strong work ethic. Not that any of this advice will earn you a raise or further your career it will, however, make it easier for you to get along in this new environment.

  One more thing, if you have to work in retail then I guess that this is probably one of the best places.  It's not the pay or the type of work that is required but, it's the people that surround you.  They are good people, hard working and are always there when needed.  And last, but not least, good luck.

I saw a sign once that rather says it all, 'You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it sure helps.'

Talk at ya later!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grocery Store Clerk - MISSED

In this line of work,  there is somewhat of a turn over of employment.  Some employees when they leave will be missed while there will be others that you barely made their acquaintance.  Either way there will always be someone come in to fill the empty spots.  However, a spot has been vacated this week which I do not feel will be filled anytime soon.  It's not the position that can't be filled but more of the type of person who worked this job, that can't be replaced.

This week we gave a royal send off to one of the most liked employees in the building.  His outgoing personality, strong work ethic and the fact that he is just an all around nice guy will make him irreplaceable.  Praised by management, and  employees alike, he definitely leaves an empty spot.

So to commemorate his moving on to begin his future  some employees put together a cake mounted with toy soldiers (he's enlisted in the military), a bouquet of balloons and a card signed by well wishers. 

He has left a lasting impression on those of us who had the opportunity to work with him and, I am sure, he will do the same wherever he goes from here.

I know that I speak for all of us when I say, we wish him nothing but the very best in his future.

Talk at ya later! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grocery Store Clerk - TEAMWORK

While I was at work yesterday, I happened to notice  one of the employees go over and help another employee carry a load  to the dumpster.  Then later, I watched as an employee helped out in a department that was being over run with customers.  That's when I realised, just how much my fellow co-workers are always helping each other.  For example, just last week I noticed one of the guys from the Produce Department run over to the Deli Department to answer their phone and take an order.  There he was, busy stocking an end cap and looked up when he heard the Deli phone ring.  Having noticed that the employees were too busy to answer the phone, he took care of it for them.  This is nothing new. 

Then on Frontlines, where the cashiers have to bag the orders as they are rung out, I have witnessed many times as a cashier will jump in to help bag a large order even while they are working at another post. Kind of like doing two things at once.  Even I had someone come to my rescue as  I tried effortlessly to break down a large, cardboard bin;  that thanks goes to the Meat Manager.

In each of these cases, no one asked for help.  Instead, an employee was spotted having some difficulty and another employee took it upon themselves to help remedy the situation. 

Around the store the main topic is always about Customer Service but, very rarely do you hear just how much these employees are always helping each other.  It used to be called, Team Work.  

But, in all reality, these daily actions are what define most of the employees that I work with. 

Perhaps, this is what makes these employees so good at this thing called, Customer Service.

Talk at ya later!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grocery Store Clerk - SWEETS FOR THE SWEET

Today is Sweetest Day!  A day which, I am told, is totally Cincinnati.  Flowers, candy and cards - kind of like Valentines Day, only on a smaller scale.   When you work on these holidays, you start preparing about two weeks in advance.  You plan it at work and you plan even when you're not at work.  There's the ordering and the preparation once it comes in.  Then you have to figure out how to display, what to create and then comes the endless task of keeping everything alive.  Making sure that the cut flowers are kept in water and the potted plants are watered; it becomes an endless cycle.  Then of course, should you work in a grocery store, you have the other jobs that just seem to pop up when you least expect it.

Then the holiday arrives and instantly, it is over and you fall into exhaustion.  Sore feet from walking all over the store, an aching back from lifting cases of flowers and plants and numb fingers from making bows for the last two days.  Along with the aches, pains and the joys of clean up there is also the reviewing of how the holiday went - retail wise.  Did I plan enough, were the displays as good as they could have been and did my creations make someone smile?

Of course there is the personal end.  Now I don't have a guy in my life, but I remember how I would feel when David would remember me on Valentines Day; it was warm and wonderful.  And even though those days are over, it is a nice memory that I often return to on these holidays.

So, just when I am in the middle of this 'pity me party,' an employee comes over with a bag of Hershey's Kisses and to each of us ladies, he presents us with one and says, 'Happy Sweetest Day.'  As I look around, I see the smiles come across their faces as they take that Hershey's Kiss. 

For one moment, we have stopped what we were doing and with this one kind gesture, we have now become participants of Sweetest Day.  Thanks James.

Talk at ya later!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grocery Store Clerk - THE EXTRA MILE

Working in a grocery store can present many challenges.  While some of these challenges may be customer related, others will pertain to your job performance.  One of the biggest challenges, I have found, is that of trying to keep the body pain free.  There is the constant lifting of cases, pulling of skids, standing for over two hours at a time in one place, stretching way beyond the extent of the body and the list goes on.  And even though we, the employees, watch movies demonstrating the proper way to accomplish these tasks, you still find that there is no pain free way to handle your job.  It's going to break you down in the knees, feet, lower back, joints, neck and well, all over.  Sometimes even your senses get attacked.

So with that in mind,  today we began walking for our health.  That's right! Under a new program called, 'Associates In Motion', each employee, who has signed up, has been equipped with their own pedometer - at the cost of $10.00 each.  Now to get employees interested in this program the company has established prizes and provided us with the guidelines.   We have now accomplished our second week. 

Has this done anything for me?  Well, it was interesting to see how much I walk around the store doing my different jobs - the first week, approximately 27 miles.  But now it is getting old.  If I am walking that much, and a lot of my fellow workers are walking more, then I need to slow down.  I now understand why my knees have been swollen and my feet aching for all of these years.

My co-workers tell me that this move is for insurance purposes and it's to get us healthy.  As one employee put it, "This job breaks down your body and then they're wanting us to walk."  "What's that all about?"

As we are finding out, we already walk a lot so we must be healthy.  Granted, I am sure, my outlook would not be acceptable to this program, but isn't it ironic that we are to walk to better health when we are already broken down?

Talk at ya later!