Do you remember when customer service was a priority and you did not have to pay extra for it? Even at forty, I can easily remember clerks or store owners going to the ends of the earth to accommodate customers.

One of my earliest memories of cistern’s service was going with my grandmother to Carter’s Supermarket in Elwood. It was our largest supermarket, but family owned – not like Marsh that later invaded our community. Carter’s was operated and stocked like any other huge supermarket – the only difference was that it was part of a huge conglomerate. The one thing that stands out the most was the bag boys placing all your groceries into the brown paper sacks (there was no question about preferring paper or plastic) with great care. After they placed them in your cart, they pushed your cart to the parking lot and loaded your groceries into your car! What a great service!

Here in Kettering (and Centerville & Springboro) we have Dorothy Lane Market – the home of the Killer Brownies. The store is not cheap, but you are provided very good service. The employees wear tux shirts and black slacks, and their job is to serve the customer. They assist with elderly and mothers with young children and have these gigantic Burgundy umbrellas for rainy days. During Kettering’s Holiday At Home parade each Labor Day, the Dorothy Lane Market cashiers and staff march in the parade. It is hilarious, and one of my favorite portions of the parade. Some of the employees push carts – imitating the Shriners in their cars or cycles, and a huge squad does a routine to music with the Burgundy umbrellas! Not that is a class act! It is a great marketing scheme, but to me it also demonstrates their commitment to our community and their customers.

In DLM, customers are always cheerfully greeted by almost every employee from management to stockers. At the cashiers place, we are always made to feel as though we are the most important customer they have had all day. Now, down the street in the opposite direction is the much cheaper Kroger, which I almost detest. Unlike the cashiers at DLM, we are seldom greeted with any degree of courtesy – unless you are in the store after 11:00pm and there is an older individual manning one check out lane. I do not mind the younger cashiers not chatting, but I do mind them not greeting me at all, or worse yet, shouting to their friends at other registers about their teenage drama or goofy stuff. I don’t expect each cashier to carry on conversations, but I do expect a little courtesy and professional demeanor. I have gotten in the habit, especially at Kroger’s, of telling the management when a young cashier has been exceptionally good and courteous.

I do not mind bagging my own groceries at Aldi or Cub Food, or loading my own groceries in my car; however, I do believe the elderly and mother with young children or babies should be afforded this courtesy. I watch elderly individuals struggle with so many things while shopping, and my heart, and often my hands, go out to them. I am so proud of my sons when they offer assistance to others, especially the elderly. They are learning that although we currently live in a society where customer service is not a priority, it is now our responsibility to show good customer service to others when in public.

I encourage others to do this as well. Another thing that we do is not park as close to the store as we can possibly get. My hope is that a senior citizen or mother with small children will have the opportunity to park closer. Plus, I can always use the extra exercise. I applaud those stores who designate senior citizen and mother with children parking. I think the DMV should provide stickers or those tags for your rear-view mirror indicating senior citizen driver or mommy with children, and all major department stores should have designated parking areas for these individuals. I have no problem with handicap parking, but I often see seniors and mommies struggling so much that I believe they should receive the same benefit.

Keep being nice to others!