History and Insight Into the Job of a People Greeter
The position of People Greeter was first set up by Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, as a way for senior citizens to supplement their Social Security checks by spending their remaining days being verbally abused by the general public.
Management was ordered to go out and find little old men and women who had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel and position them at or near the front entrance to each store. Their job was to greet strangers and since, for most of them, even their next of kin were strangers now, this job was a natural.
Their other duties included handing these strangers a shopping cart, as long as they could do it and still keep one hand on their walkers. Those confined to wheelchairs were exempt from this responsibility.
Management of each store was ordered to designate one assistant manager to make hourly checks of the Greeters and make sure they still had a pulse.
So the next time you walk into a walmart store and you see one of these geriatric welcome-wagon people, take a closer look at them. What you are really seeing is a person who, in all likelihood has spent a lifetime working. They might have climbed the corporate ladder until age knocked them off, or they may have built and ran their own business successfully. Many of the men you see are members of that Greatest Generation who fought through WWII and now all of them have one thing in common.....They are fated to end their days at a front door of Walmart.
Something else they all have in common: They all say a prayer each night before they go to bed: "Please God, don't let me drop dead at the door."
My own story is a bit different from these poor folks. I came to the door after sustaining an injury when I was working in the meat market. I was the victim of a falling box of frozen turkeys.....a story for another time.
While I mended, I was put on the door to fill in. One of the regular greeters was recouping at home from a quadruple bypass surgery....Walmart had given him a week to heal and get back to work. Who says corporate America doesn't have a heart.
Well I enjoyed what I was doing so much I decided to transfer to that position full time. Besides where else could I work where my co-workers would refer to me as "The Kid"? All of them had at least twenty-five years on me.
The first negative thing I noticed about the job of Greeter was that because of the advanced age of most of these folks, customers seemed to think it was alright to verbally abuse them. I have seen greeters cursed, pushed, and even spit upon. So, the first thing I did when I started as a greeter was to reeducate some of my more rude customers.
Suddenly they were faced not with some frail old Greeter, but with a fifty-something, six foot, one inch guy with a bad attitude. The first time I greeted someone in a friendly manner only to have them say: "Shove it up your ass", I yanked off my badge and invited the guy outside. "I will put something on you Ajax won't take off buster."
That pretty much set the tone for door greeters from then on and we suddenly got a bit more respect at my store. Now don't get me wrong, I am not some bad ass who goes around looking for a fight. I merely make it a practice to treat everyone in the same manner they treat me.
So there you have it....a little about the job of People Greeter and the people who do that job. Now do me a favor and the next time you go into a Walmart store, go over and gently shake the greeter, wake them up and give them a warm, friendly "Hello". They might go right back to sleep and not remember you being there at all, but I promise you, you will feel good for having done it.
Just remember, when you get old, you may find yourself in an old folks home living on rice pudding, or at the front door of Walmart being a greeter.
Do yourself a favor...stay in the Home.