This past summer, I worked at the local Wal-Mart in my hometown. It was an opportunity to get to do something I love, while being close to my family. My hours worked also went towards my Supervised Agriculture Experience, or SAE. My experience was Diversified Horticulture. My FFA advisor thought that horticulture would be a good fit for me due to my love for plants and understanding how they grow. I was a lawn and garden associate, which means I oversaw all the plants, soil, mulch, and pavers.
1. “How can I help you today?”
Believe it or not, but Wal-Mart employees are supposed to ask you how they can help you. My favorite part of my job was when I got to help them pick out their perfect annuals or perennials. Fortunately for me, I had plenty of experience from participating in Career Development Events (CDEs) in FFA to help them find the plants they were looking for. Plus, who doesn’t love helping others spend their money??
2. “We do not carry this in the store, but it is available online!”
If you didn’t already know, you can buy almost everything online. Some Wal-marts choose to not stock certain items to entice customers to shop online. My local store had the plants and the soil, but didn’t carry the pots to plant them in. We also carried the lawn furniture cushions, but not the lawn furniture. As convenient as shopping online can be, there are some people who refuse to order online or do not know how. We all have had that conversation with our grandparents or parents about how to use the latest and greatest technologies. It can be stressful and frustrating. Wal-Mart may have seen this as a great strategy on their part, but unfortunately for my home town is caused for a large loss of business. This was due to the inconveniences some experience with online shopping.
3. “Let me call someone to come assist you!”
No, every employee is not trained to work every department in the store. If you are planning on coming to the store during odd hours, call ahead of time to make sure that someone will is available in the department you need. They will not have someone working the paint machine at ten o’clock at night, so plan accordingly! This will help make your experience less agitating for you and the employees.
4. “Good Morning!”
It was a joy to get up every morning and go to work. I would be greeted by our friendly greeters and cart pushers. Work goes by a lot quicker when you just smile and say, “good morning” to your coworkers and customers. It shows that you want to be there and that you are ready for the day. Life is always better when you serve others with a smile and positive attitude.
5. “Have a great day!”
By far my favorite part of working with the public was being able to wish them a great day. It might be a small gesture, but you never know their story or what their day has looked like. Everyone should act like a Wal-Mart greeter and spread a little cheer!
At the end of the day, Wal-Mart treated me well and left me with quite a few good stories. When working directly with the public, you learn a few lessons on how to be a better consumer. Employees are working diligently on accomplishing their tasks for the day and helping customers. Be respectful, patient, and appreciative. No matter where you work or shop, it is important to understand that we all need to be appreciative of what we have. Even if your job is not what you thought it would be, it is crucial to make the best of every situation. Always remember, be kind to one another.