Who are these people?

A short post (it’s late – and I work at 9) after our staff holiday party – grocery stores don’t party in the big push before the holidays.

Who are these people?  Getting to know them outside of work, hearing their stories, they become much bigger – surprising, yet I kinda knew there was going to be lots more when I got a chance to know them better.  And I know that I have just barely scratched the surface.

  • Katie talking about her twin passions – painting and cheese.  I ask, “Could you hook me up with some new cheese?  I’m a little bored with my regulars.”  Her eyes get big.  “I’d love to.”
  • Charles talking about his passion for Kung Fu – especially exciting for me, because I’m going to start Tae Kwon Do (a related martial art) on Friday

    Martial arts -Charles lit up talking about his Kung Fu, and I lit up thinking about my first Tae Kwon Do class this Friday.

    Martial arts -Charles lit up talking about his Kung Fu, and I lit up thinking about my first Tae Kwon Do class this Friday.

  • watching Cierra, our team leader, get down and have fun
  • seeing Harlen, the toddler of our previous team leader Emmalea and her husband James – back to party with her old team – released from the shopping cart and running, dancing, being overall mesmerizing
  • Hearing A lay down some really great music
  • Charles (older than the kids), Tom (way older than the kids) and me (way older still) bust some moves on the dance floor that open some eyes.  I was half-way down the stairs to leave when I said to myself, “You left without saying goodbye to anybody – what a depressive thing to do.  You go back and say some goodbyes.”  Then the sight of Charles and Tom jamming combined with A’s beats lured me out on the dance floor –  first in my heavy winter coat, then with a couple layers stripped off.
Dance - between staying away when I've been depressed and going to Asheville three weeks ago,I haven't danced for three weeks.  And I still cut loose!

Dance – between staying away when I’ve been depressed and going to Asheville three weeks ago,I haven’t danced for three weeks. And I still cut loose!

And this old fart left at 10:30 – with another 90 minutes of party left.  I could regret the opportunities missed, but in this moment – still typing at 12:39 – I will not regret leaving early.  I had other work I needed to do at my computer before writing this.  I think I have just energy enough to pull up a photo or two (I hate to post just straight words).  Now there’s some kind of snag – I think a Word Press thing – with uploading photos.  And backing out of that it looked like I had erased this whole post.  I’m thrilled to have it back and am gonna go with straight text.  It’s not even amazing prose, but I’m posting it.  Hope it gives you a little glimpse of our party.  (And then – at 1:15 – the photos finally did work.  Geez, I gotta get to bed!)

“Norm!” Calling your co-workers by name

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.

Our name badges are less tacky than these, but sometimes I wish that a coworker's name was in really large print.

Our name badges are less tacky than these, but sometimes I wish that a coworker’s name was in really large print.

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.

Our coworkers are internal customers.  Good customer service starts with giving them what they need.

Our coworkers are internal customers. Good customer service starts with giving them what they need.

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.