The Trader Joe’s Effect! Make your customers smile

The Trader Joe’s Effect! Make your customers smile


Recently on a busy Sunday, my wife and I stopped at Trader Joe’s to do some shopping.

It was December, pre-holidays…and did I mention is was Sunday? Sundays…why do I go to the grocery store on a Sunday!

As we traversed the jammed aisles, I watched the cashiers. Do we still call them cashiers?

They were active, seeking out customers waiting in other lines so they could assist them. They were jovial…pleasant…engaging…happy.

They were not the only people I watched. I watched the customers too.

Some were happy-go-lucky. But others appeared a bit glazed over. Stressed. Hey! It was the holidays, they had been navigating a whole lot of craziness as they traversed the aisles…and, did I mention it was a Sunday?

For the most part…to a T…when the cashiers got their hands on them…everything improved. The happy, interested, service-focused, conversational checkers pretty much got them all to move from frowns, to smiles. From hunched, stressed body language…to squared shoulders, heads up and smiles on faces.

Not just onsie-twosies either. The cashiers were batting a thousand.

When the time came for my wife and I to check out…our happy guy helping us asked how our day was…and he was not fake. He commented on a couple items we were buying, and asked us if we had ever paired them with other items. We loved his ideas. He then apologized because for some reason, the store was out of the paper grocery bags with handles. All they had were the (perfectly ok) traditional grocery bags without handles.

We departed the store in a chipper mood. We were not in a bad mood when we entered the store…BUT the scene was pretty chaotic. Crazy scenarios have the potential to dampen moods.

So here’s a challenge for you here in the 1st quarter of the new year. How much of the Trader Joe’s Effect can you and your people practice on a daily basis in your business. Retail or not…you can do it. Can you be interested in your customers? Can you greet them with a genuine smile? Can your people truly believe in the power of service and improving your customers’ day?

  • It is not rocket science. We give rocket scientists so much credit.
  • It is not brain surgery. Do we put brain surgeons on a pedestal or what?

Mind blowing customer service sounds great on paper. But for some reason it is not something most businesses are great at.

It takes energy. It takes desire. It takes belief. It takes practice. And, it needs managers and owners who are adept at teaching it, practicing it, reminding about it…and keeping their eyes and ears open for ways to always improve on it!

You Can Do It!


HAPPY 2023!

  • Make it easy for people to do and keep doing business with you!
  • Look up…and surprise someone!


Spencer Rubin is a sales/marketing expert and a passionate advocate for the success of small, local business owners. To sign up for Spencer’s weekly Catalyst Newsletter, contact 971-732-4745. “Don’t give up, don’t EVER give up” ~Coach Jim Valvano