This evening I had an opportunity to go to WalMart in Canada. I’ve been struck since getting up here the other day that the sales people in the stores are SO FRIENDLY. Not just “Hi how are you” friendly with a smile pasted on their faces, but genuinely pleasant. I think the real difference is that as often as not, when they greet me, they look me in the eyes and smile. I don’t know the last time that happened at a WalMart in the States. I don’t mean to imply that people are uniformly unpleasant in the States – that’s certainly not true. But the difference here is remarkable.
This evening, I went with my friend Jen to a WalMart at about 9 PM. It was snowing out, there weren’t a lot of people around, and these kids were probably still another hour or two away from the end of a long shift.
I spoke to two employees – the young woman at the fitting room and the young man who checked me out – and (I know I’m repeating myself here) they were SO PLEASANT. It’s not anything that they said, exactly – the words were probably not very different from their counterparts to the south. It was their general demeanor. I felt like a customer whose presence was appreciated and valued. I have to assume that comes as the result of feeling appreciated and valued as employees and perhaps that’s where the difference lies…but this isn’t a political or an economic diatribe. It’s simply a recognition that it’s possible to have a really unexpected experience in a really unexpected place.
So thank you, WalMart. Thank you to those two lovely people who made the end of my day an unexpected pleasure. What a lovely little miracle.