Confessions of a Walmart Greeter: All in a Day's Work

walmartSam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., initiated an open-door policy seldom seen in business today. He was actually receptive to employee suggestions. One Walmart staffer proposed, due to increased shoplifting problems, that it might be beneficial to post greeters at each Walmart entrance. Sam's vision included a welcoming experience for customers, so he took the employee's advice. The rest is history. Walmart greeters serve as shoplifting deterrents and as the face of Walmart.

A Walmart greeter is the first person a customer encounters when he enters the store. Since it's the consumer's initial point of contact, the intention is for it to be a pleasant one. Although the pay is meager for Walmart greeters, the impressions they make are not. I once witnessed a Walmart greeter run quite a distance to alert a woman that her laundry detergent was leaving a trail behind her. It's all in a day's work.

Meet Ken

Ken, a Walmart greeter in the small town of Mesquite, NV, has been brightening my days for over a year now. He quips that he applied for the job because he was "getting in his wife's way" at home. He is retired from another profession, as are many Walmart greeters.

Typical day

Ken tells me his workday starts very early in the morning. He follows a basic routine each day. After clocking in, Ken scours the area where he'll be posted to make sure it's in tip-top shape. He dusts the window sills, picks up the cigarette butts left from the night before, and clears out any debris. He makes sure that the carts are all lined up and ready to go.

Meet and greet

A Walmart greeter's main job reflects its title: Greet the customers enthusiastically. Ken says that he is also responsible for putting pricing tickets on return items. One of his most challenging responsibilities is making sure that all goods are accounted for as buyers exit the store. He has run across a few indignant patrons when he's asked to see their receipts. Ken has no complaints. He says that the good outweighs the bad in his job as a greeter at Walmart.

Crazy customers

There are bizarre incidents regarding Walmart greeters, and they're-making news across the nation. News 10 in Ceres, CA, reported that a Walmart greeter was attacked when he asked one couple to see a receipt for the flat-screen television they were carrying out of the store. It just so happens they were shoplifters, who in turn, assaulted the worker.

On a lighter note, Sedalia, MO's daily newspaper, the Sedalia Democrat, gave an account of one of their Walmart greeters who has become a Facebook sensation. This is all due to the efforts of a teenager who thought "Smitty's" friendly nature went above and beyond, and he should be celebrated.

Ken from Mesquite says that his days are not quite as eventful as what he's read about in the news -- and he's thankful for that. The most distressing matter he comes across is when customers are rude to him for no apparent reason. One time when he bellowed his usual, hearty "Welcome to Walmart," the retort was (to put it more mildly than the customer did), "Screw you." That took Ken aback. He says he is sad that parents would act that way, especially when they have children in tow. Ken is to be commended for his consistent, friendly nature.

As a small stockholder in Walmart, I appreciate their valuable customer-service program. If it were abandoned, I believe we'd all miss those smiling faces greeting us at Walmart entrances.

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