Last night Dan was on night shift. I was here, ready to relax with my dog, a bag of pistachios, a glass of wine and a bit of classic Tom Cruise. Then, I heard the unmistakable sound of teen giggles and realized that our granddaughter, Genie, and her friends were bounding down the walk and about to invade. So much for the wine. I really did not mind. I love to see any of the grandkids and their friends. Soon they were inside, shedding jackets and winter boots.
We all got comfortable and they started telling me about their week. They had semester final exams. Some fared better than others, but they were all ready to accept the grades they received. They talked about their friends. A little drama, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then they talked about work. They all work at Superstore. They all work front end, with Genie having the additional responsibility of being a supervisor.
It is really funny hearing Genie and her friends talk about work. They do not complain about work. They do not complain about their bosses, their co-workers or the work they have to do . They do not complain about the personal sacrifices they make for their work – the early morning shifts, the late evening shifts or the time with friends and family that they miss. They do not complain about their wages.
For the most part, Genie and her friends talk about their customers. Mostly they talk about the customers who made their shifts better. They talk about customers who were super happy or particularly friendly. They talk about any compliments they received and any genuine appreciation they experienced. They talk about the customers they saw who were just extra nice and considerate to those around them. These customers make their shifts memorable.
Of course there are the customers who make their shifts more difficult and those get mentioned as well. They are the customers who are miserable before they ever approach the cashier or the service counter or the ones who are upset by a store issue and decide to take it out on someone who is trying to help them. There are the customers who will disrespect Genie and her friends simply because of their youth or make inappropriate remarks and suggestions because of their gender. Others will be disrespectful and rude simply because they feel superior to cashiers, price checkers and fellow shoppers.
These young people take their jobs really seriously. They take positive and negative interactions really seriously. They truly want to help people to have a positive experience at Superstore. They are excited about taking one of their first major steps to being responsible adults and they want to get it right.
Genie and her friends are not that unique as young employees go. This week, it would be really nice if we could all try a bit harder to notice the young employees we encounter. An extra smile and a kind word will really make their day. It will also encourage them to hold onto that work ethic and attitude – through this job and those that will follow. In the long run, it will be an investment in the future – ours and definitely theirs.