Stocking up, stocking down

A new metric for staff turnover?

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Although I live on a small island north of Seattle, I’m lucky enough to live just a mile from the local shopping center with a grocery store, hardware store, lumber yard, bike shop, and a taproom, in other words all the necessities of daily life.

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Eleven years ago, when were first looking for a house here, I stopped by the hardware store. The owner asked my name and has remembered it ever since. I wondered why at the time but now, looking back in Quicken at how much I’ve spent there, I understand! I was in there the other day and noticed that the staff, many of whom also know my name, have barely changed in that time.

Then I went to the grocery store. Years ago, when visiting my parents in England, I would go to the grocery store with my father. At the checkout, I would always look for the shortest line, but he would head to a particular checkout. He had a favorite cashier. The sheer inefficiency of it drove me nuts! But they would exchange pleasantries and I came to realize that for him the social interaction was worth the time.

So, standing in N’s line (yes, I’m turning into my dad) I noticed flat, plywood, Christmas stockings hanging up over the registers, each with the name of a staff member. When I got to front, I said, “It’s nice they put the stockings up for you, but you can’t get much in them”. Looking quickly over her shoulder, she smiled, leaned forward, and said quietly “Yeah, and they keep having to take them down and put new ones up. When I came in this morning the ladder was up again and I thought ‘uh oh, who’s gone now?'”

I have so many unanswered questions about this. Did they buy extra plywood stockings and stick-on letters in anticipation of the turnover? Do they have a little Santa’s workshop in the back of the store where some highschooler starts the day by making up the new stockings? Or do they outsource the job to the hardware store next door?

Wishing you all full stockings this Christmas.