Putting the Gloves On

Posted by

I like to shop at Wal-Mart for groceries if I happen to be in that part of Savannah. One reason is that the produce always looks so good and there is lots of it. Of course, I like their low prices and store brands. Our Wal-Mart was recently renovated, and instead of the high-walled, tight aisles there is an open and airy feeling. It feels clean and new. The other reason is that it happens to be right next to Sam’s Club, also part of the Wal-Mart brand, and I really like wandering around in there, looking for bargains.

I recently went to Wal-Mart for a few things, and luckily it wasn’t too crowded. I had a few grocery items and some other stuff I picked up on my stroll through the rest of the store. I got to the checkout counter and a woman in front of me had just emptied her cart onto the conveyor. There were baby food jars, some groceries, a pair of shoes and other sundry items. I wasn’t really looking at anything, but suddenly something caught my eye that seemed out of place. I looked again to make sure I wasn’t seeing something, but sure enough, the checker at the register was wearing rubber gloves. Not the bright yellow ones that you would wear when housecleaning, but the latex kind that doctors or nurses would wear in a hospital or housekeepers wear when cleaning rooms in a hotel.

Now this was a first for me. My thoughts raced. What does she know that I don’t know? Has there been an outbreak of something contagious? Is the store really that dirty? All of a sudden I started to notice little things like the popcorn kernels, paper wrappers and black scuff marks on the floor. There was some black grease-like goop along the side of the conveyor belt carrying the items along on their ride to the scanner. The checker sneezed. Someone coughed behind me. I looked down at the grocery cart handle I had been holding and suddenly could see microbes and germs and who-knows-what silently and invisibly creeping onto my hands. Just the sight of those rubber gloves was enough to change a comfortable shopping experience into one fraught with suspicion and fear.

When it was my turn, I asked the checker why she was wearing gloves. She gave me a deadpan glance, rolled her eyes and sighed. I suspect I wasn’t the first one with that question. She said there were a lot of reasons—the money, the stuff that rolled across the conveyor; The People!!! What? I’m “the people.” Was she so concerned about the overall health and cleanliness of the environment and the clientele of Wal-Mart that she felt compelled to protect herself? I looked around and no other employee was wearing rubber gloves. She may have had her reasons, but in an instant she changed my perception of Wal-Mart. Maybe the greeter at the door should hand out rubber gloves with each basket and friendly, “hello!”

One customer service person’s independent action can have a major effect on the customer’s overall perception. And, when there is a negative experience, it can take a lot of positive ones to even out the score. The next time I shop at Wal-Mart, I think I’ll take a little bottle of hand sanitizer, just in case.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a workplace consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for CSJobs.com. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing Alto II with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and creating original gift items available on http://www.etsy.spoolhardy.com/ You can read more of her blogs at csjobsblog.com and view additional job postings on Nexxt

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • You Might Also Be Interested In

article posted by Staff Editor
article posted by Staff Editor
article posted by Staff Editor

Jobs to Watch