I read recently in my Oregon Stater magazine about an organization at the University that works to impress upon students the importance of gaining skills wherever they are.

They were hearing students comment flippantly about their coffee shop jobs (and the like). Comments about their jobs were that they were

  • ‘just paying the bills’
  • ‘temporary’
  • ‘they were pursuing a career’ in ____
  • ‘not their dream jobs’
  • ‘punching the clock’

True statements! These most likely aren’t their dream jobs. However, what’s wrong with these statements? There are two giant red flags. One flag on the owners, and one for the student employees.

  • Owners, (nor customers or fellow employees), don’t benefit from someone who is just “punching the clock”. It’s a detriment and money loss.
  • Seasonal, or temporary workers can, and SHOULD be gaining skills to take them to their next position. It’s attitude.

Warm bodies are not the best thing for growing businesses and making an impact.

Seasonal workers are necessary, most especially in fields of tourism. But for heaven sake, owners are hurting their business if they simply hire someone, then they only train how to take money and operate the transaction system. Manning the till and taking money are the LEAST of your worries!

I was in a local store yesterday and it was painfully obvious that the young man taking my money was “punching the clock”. He got off his stool only as I approached the counter, didn’t look at me when I approached, barely said two words to me during the money exchange, and actually looked away and sat back down before I even left the register! That interaction tipped my precarious mood over the edge.
Not the good edge.
They say sh$% runs down hill. . .

He could have done some SIMPLE things to brighten my day, help sales, and make me want to come back.


We need to train how to do service. We must begin with the basic THREE. (this blog outlines them step by step).


We need to give employees a bigger picture. What is the purpose of their job? (Hint, it’s NOT just taking money and being a warm body.) What is the store promoting? Who shops there? How can an employee have an impact? What are the transferable skills? How do they greet customers? Need a cheat sheet? Begin HERE.

  • We must give employees meaning in order to motivate.
  • We must give them a purpose and reason for them to grow.

Without this they are simply warm bodies and honestly, it drags down the performance of everyone and negatively impacts your business. It takes intentional training and raising awareness.

Employees who are disengaged and not giving exemplary Customer Service Experiences, are not helping businesses, they’re hurting them!

It’s our responsibility as owners to serve something good. Employees are seated at the table, and they’re hungry.


You NEVER KNOW who is standing in front of you at the counter. I was constantly surprised at the hotel who walked through our doors. One would never know by looking at many of our guests how influential they actually were.

Impressions are important. Connections happen all the time.

Heaven forbid this boy at the register comes to me to interview for his ‘dream job’. Rest assured I would bring up his lazy, dismissive attitude interacting with me at the store. Probably passing on that candidate.


You have great untapped power at this job you’re using as a stepping stone. You have the power to impact people’s daily lives in a very positive way, changing the trajectory of their day for the better.

You have networking opportunities by the scads right in front of you, they’re your customers.

You can gain valuable people skills that will be useful throughout your entire life.

These are just some of the things that your ‘stepping stone’ job offers. You just have to have an attitude of learning, looking, seeking, growing, and contributing.

If your boss isn’t training you more than how to operate the till, then pick up this book, invest in your future: Hug Your Customers. Grab a used copy if you’re on a budget. It is a book filled with golden life nuggets.

Ask your boss questions! Ask them about the store’s mission. Ask them to share sales stats with you. Create your own improvement game for yourself and set your own sales goals if your boss sits on his keester.

You have a lot to contribute, a lot to learn. Don’t sell yourself short by just punching the clock.

What surprising thing did you learn about, or from, a customer?

Shoot me a note at: info@kaizen.zone

Your place for continual improvement and inspiration!

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