Gelson’s, Magic and 50 Plus

I witnessed a little bit of magic the other day. I had stopped into Gelson’s, a higher-end food chain (kind of a Nordstrom’s but for groceries) to pick up a bite for supper. Gelson’s is a fantastic grocer for a few reasons. Great produce, great deli and take-out section, exceptional customer service. Prices are a bit high, but when you really want something special for dinner or guests and excellent customer service, it is a great place to go.

So, I picked up my sushi selection and went to the checkout line. There were two people working the bagging section. An older woman (late 50’s) and a young, young man. The woman was teaching the young man how to bag properly. But it wasn’t about the bagging. It was about the meeting and greeting of the client. Honestly, have you ever given much thought to how the bagger speaks to you? Well, this store does. And in this case, a more mature worker was training the new worker.

“Say hello to the customer. And ask what type of bag she prefers,” said the trainer.

“Hello. Paper or plastic?” he intoned.

“No, dear. Not like that. I want you to greet the customer. Say hello. Then pause. Give them time to meet your eyes. Smile. Then ask ‘Paper or plastic?’. Two sentences. Hello. Pause. Paper or plastic. See? That way you show the customer you care.”

“OK.”

“Try it again.”

“Hello.” Pause. Smiles at me. “Paper or plastic?”

“Plastic please,” I smile back at him.

He bags my small purchase.

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“Do you see she has sushi?” the trainer asks.

“Uh-hunh,” he replies.

“See if she’s prefer a ‘cold’ bag to keep it fresh.”

“Would you like a ‘cold’ bag?”

“That would be great,” I replied with a big grin. “Thanks.”

He gave me the bag. “Have a nice day.”

“Thanks, you, too!”

The trainer gave him a big smile. “Good job. Now head over to this next register…”

The training continued. In that 60 or 70 seconds, that young man learned more about good customer service and how a good manager trains, than most people would learn in a year. That is the value of hiring 50 plus. THAT is the value.

Oh, and the sushi was spectacular.

2 thoughts on “Gelson’s, Magic and 50 Plus

  1. Thanks for the kind words. Witnessed by my very own eyes and ears. True story. And sadly, not happening enough.

    Wendy

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