On the old TV show Cheers, the regular patrons of the bar would loudly call out Norm’s name when he entered the room. It was maybe my favorite part of the show. Who doesn’t want that kind of enthusiastic greeting? I try to greet everybody that way, but especially people where we are somehow part of the same community – even more a part of the same team. And we who work in the grocery store are very much part of the same team.
We are important to each other because we are all working to serve the customer. We rely on each other to get the job done. When someone else does a good job with a customer, it reflects well on us. When we hand off a customer to a coworker who is energetic and positive and competent, the customer is grateful to us.
We are important to each other because we see each other every day. If you are friendly and positive and real and inclusive, that makes my day go better. For me at least, a coworker calling me by name goes a long way towards these qualities. When I walk in the front door, Tiffany – who is a singer – all but sings my name. It makes me feel good. Jose calls me My-yo even if it’s the second or third time we have seen each other that day – and I croon back Jose. It’s a little game we play with each other. At my old grocery store, Walker would loudly call out “Maajoo!!” like he was really excited to see me. He still does it when I see him there. It makes me happy.
My co-workers are, overall, really great. They are smart and creative and energetic and friendly and fun and hard-working and customer-oriented. I want to treat them in ways that show I see these qualities in them. And for me this starts with calling them by name.