After school today I had to take the unfortunate but obligatory trip to . . . gulp . . . gasp . . . gulp . . . Wal-Mart.
Since we've gotten almost a foot of snow, I was hoping for a spot close to the doors. I found one. As long as I didn't mind parking right next to several shopping carts just haphazardly shoved about into the parking lot (as opposed to being properly stored in the proper section for carts).
Typical Wal-Mart, I thought as I parked and headed inside.
Then as I entered the automatic doors, I noticed that no one had bothered to shovel any of the foot or so of snow that had gathered there. Typical Wal-Mart, I thought again.
Then I grabbed a cart and was reminded that, for whatever reason, Wal-Mart has gotten rid of their greeters.
So I steered the cart into the store and went about grabbing some basic supplies.
As I walked up and down the aisles, I had an epiphany. It was simple: Wal-Mart - while moderately efficient and well stocked in products - is totally lacking in pride.
As I made my way through the store and then to the check out, I didn't see anyone taking any sense of pride or joy in the work they were doing.
There were several workers stocking shelves. But their brows were furrowed and they were just focused on getting through the tasks.
There was one lady in the women's clothing department talking, but she was talking to a friend in passing about something unrelated to her work.
I saw no one go out of their way to help a shopper or even form a smile.
It all seemed to say: I wish I was somewhere else. Then I looked at my fellow shoppers. They had the same looks on their faces (as did I): we wish we were somewhere else.
In fact, I was pretty sure that all the workers I saw or passed by were intent on not helping any customers! They might as well have been machines.
This continued as I checked out. I will give the check out lady credit. She had turned her light off on lane 5, yet she still helped the two customers who jumped in the line because all the other lines were far longer.
But even the final checkout process at Wal-Mart screams just get out of here. There isn't a bagger to help. They just drop your purchases off into bags and leave it up to you to check that all of your bag are picked up.
Everything about the shopping experience at Wal-Mart screams unremarkable.
As I walked out I thought, I should have gone to Hugo's.
And the big difference?
People there help the customer and seem - at least on the surface - to enjoy being there. Okay, some do enjoy being there while others are just doing their jobs. But at Hugo's helping the customer seems to be part of their job description. Not so at Wal-Mart.
There is an older man who every time I see him stocking shelves, he asks me how my day is going and if I need any help. And I have actually on occasion mentioned that I couldn't find something, Bisquick I believe it was. And he walked me right over to the product.
Same way when I go through the check out, the cashier asks if I found everything. At least at Hugo's there is a bagger there that if I said, "well, actually I couldn't find the evaporated milk," I know he would scamper off to look for it.
What makes me proud to work at LHS, and one reason we should be so blessed to work in such an awesomely remodeled school - and possibly work in a 1:1 school - is that I get to serve my customers, the students.
And my colleagues (for the most part) feel and act the same way.
When I get to school, I know there are teachers who have arrived extra early to help students and to get ready to serve. When I leave school, I know there are teachers who will stay late to help students and to get ready to serve them the next day.
I am and we are blessed.