17. November 2010 23:02
My family shops at Whole Foods Market in Princeton. We’ve been buying our groceries there for about 5 years now. It is truly an amazing place, and each time I go I fall in love with it even more.
Our visit begins with a smile.
We pulled into the parking lot and found a spot far out into the lot, as it was a crowded Sunday morning. My wife usually likes to find a cart and bring it over to the car so we can load our bags and our son and get everything situated.
She was having some trouble finding a shopping cart in the lot, and then spotted an employee pushing a chain of carts towards the store. She asked him for one, and he politely offered to stop what he was doing and push a cart up to the storefront and “have it waiting there for her”. She thanked him for his kindness and explained that she would take the cart back to her car. When she returned to our car she explained to me how polite and caring he had been, and how rare that is to see.
Outside is great, but it’s what’s inside that counts.
Once inside the store, my wife and son headed to the fresh pizza counter to order some lunch. Upon her arrival, the gentleman working behind the counter asked: “May I prepare a vegan pizza for your son while you shop?”
You see, our son is allergic to milk, and therefore cannot enjoy regular pizza. The Whole Foods employee – who had not seen my wife in 6 months! – recognized them immediately, and remembered my son’s vegan requirement. For those of you who have children with food allergies you can just imagine how much that caring gesture meant to my wife.
More coffee, sir?
While my family was at the pizza counter, I was waiting patiently at the deli. It was crowded, and I’d been standing there a long time. A third Whole Foods employee noticed I had a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup in my hand and quietly offered, “Sir, if you wish, we’d be happy to refill your coffee cup at our coffee bar for just 75 cents.” I was very impressed by how attentive and hospitable he was for volunteering that information.
I could tell stories like this for hours.
The point is, Whole Foods Market is not just a gourmet grocery store. It is a comprehensive customer experience. The management and staff cater brilliantly to all of your senses while you are in their store. Your body and mind begin to feel better after only minutes of being around their fresh organic foods. Their staff isn’t just trained to be helpful and polite, they actually seem to be that way naturally.
Whole Foods discovers and develops people who believe in what they stand for, and hires people who they know will truly love their job.
The proof of the Whole Foods pudding is in the eating…and the caring.
Whole Foods is much, much more than just an amazing market where my family shops. Their overarching business model is an inspiration to me - a wonderful example that centers around creating a simply unparalleled customer experience.
P.S. Nobody paid me to write this post.
Mention me on Twitter @michaelpmills and let me know what you think.