Entry into the corporate world
As I was growing up, it was made clear to me that my allowance for spending money would dry up as soon as I was able to earn money independently. Conveniently, Publix had the lowest age to hire, at a paltry 14, and while I had been making some side money at that point selling honey buns and teaching piano, I was eager to earn some “real” money by working for a set number of hours
As a front service clerk, (bag boy), I was the last stop in an experience designed to deliver customer service from the start. Anything we bagged or talked about was done with pleasure, a smiling face, and a positive attitude. Customer satisfaction was of utmost importance, and so small talk and exchanging pleasantries was a mandatory responsibility as the customer walked through the line, or as we took the shopping cart out to their car in order to unload the groceries.
The roles of our job were as follows:
- Maximize amount of groceries in the bag
- Place similar items in the bags (No mixing raw meat with anything else)
- Engage the customer with “How’s your day?” or “The weather is awful today isn’t it?”
- Walk the customer to their car and unload groceries
- Collect up to 5 carts maximum and push back into store
- Clean the bathroom at assigned times
These roles were thrilling at first, but became somewhat repetitive down the line.
I credit Publix with giving me a greater sense of discipline and responsibility than I had been used to during school; however, my time there went quickly from constantly engaged, to somewhat mindless. I found myself zoning out during work hours and not truly engaging with the customers.
All in all, it was an experience which I’m glad I had which gave me structure during a time of instability. Publix will forever be my favorite grocery store as I relish in the nostalgia.