I was sitting on the beach in NY last week happily snacking on some healthy junk food from Trader Joes. I turned to Suzanne and began my lament. “I so wish there were Trader Joes in FL where I live, every time I come here or go to CA to visit my daughter I go away with “Trader Joe envy.”
“I know she said, and you’re not the only one. When I was working there the number one complaint we got was that we didn’t have a store in FL and when the “snowbirds” flew south for the winter they were upset that they couldn’t buy their favorite foods.”
It’s a popular store. She went on to tell me that in the Manhattan stores it’s so busy that a person, for a part of their shift, stands at the end of line with a sign saying “The end of the line is HERE.”
“Wow,” I commented, “Sounds like a boring job to me.”
“That job is totally what you make it – just like any job,” she said, sounding a bit disappointed that such an unenlightened thought has come out of my mouth.
“Of course, of course.” (I must have been having a d’uh moment.)
Suzanne, a casting director recently relocated in NY, took a job at Traders while she was getting reoriented there and loved it.
“That job at the end of the line can be so much fun! You get to visit with and talk to the customers – who are happy to be there and always comment how nice it is that everybody that works there is happy to be there. Customers are always asking, ‘How do you do that?’”
I asked her what she thought it was. What did they do right?
“They hire right. They want you to be outgoing and like people.” It seems that one of the main reasons that the climate at Trader Joes is so “friendly”. They hire people who already are.
Southwest Airlines has the same philosophy about hiring people who like people. Attitude first. Skill second.
How many of us forget that?