If there is one thing I love about winter, it's snow, and this year there has been no shortage of the white stuff in the northeast. But it might surprise you to know one of the reasons why I love snow. It's not because I'm a skier, or a champion snowman builder, or an ice fisherman. Nope, it's because I like to bag groceries, and there is no more interesting time to do some bagging than right before a snow storm.
Think about it: when the possibility of being stuck in your house arises, how do you prepare? You run to the grocery store and fill up a few bags with your snow day essentials! Here at Whole Foods Market, we prepare for a snow storm by making sure we have everything you need, and by calling in extra help to get everyone in and out as quickly as possible! This winter we've had a few storms, which always makes for exciting and busy days. Here's an example of the types of bags I see on the days before a big snow fall:
The Baby Bag: tons of baby food, milk and diapers, diapers, diapers!
The Single Guy Bag: toilet paper, frozen pizza and chocolate chip cookies.
The Family Bag: Water, macaroni and cheese, cans of soup, multi-vitamins, chocolate milk, cupcakes and stew meat.
The Unexplainable Bag: 20 heads of broccoli.
Personally, my own bag contains ice cream, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, a loaf of bread and wine (where available).
Of course, the day right after a snow storm is typically slower, since the weather keeps a lot of people inside. But at Whole Foods Market we're still open for business, and we find plenty of things to do with our day. One of my favorite things to see my Team Members doing on slower
days (or any day) is taking advantage of the training programs that we provide. Each of the stores in the North Atlantic region has an In-Store Educator, whose job is to prepare classes and keep our Team Members up to date on everything from organic standards to new types of bread. My In-Store Educator, Susan Phinney, does a great job with our classes. They range from short "I Wonder" sessions that take only a few minutes, to longer sessions that include PowerPoint presentations or videos (featuring many Team Members from the region, including Michelle Hirsch, our region's Associate Coordinator of Learning and Development).
One of these longer classes, the Customer Experience class, focuses on emphasizing the importance of customer service to our Team Members. Recently, members of this class participated in a "Foodie Fight" where they answered questions ranging from "What are the ingredients in a gremolata?" to "What are the most common foodborne illnesses and how do we avoid them?" The winner of the "Foodie Fight" gets to take on the winner from another store, and the top three winners will participate in the championship Foodie Fight for a pretty hefty grand prize.
Slow days are always a good time to get creative, like the day our prepared foods team put together a "Rasta Pasta" dish in honor of Bob Marley's birthday, or the night before the Super Bowl when they staged a "Skins vs. Wings" grudge match in our service case! Come to think of it, with all this extra training and creativity, there's never really a "slow" day at Whole Foods Market.
What do you put in your bag as snow day essentials? What do you do on the slow days after a snow storm? We'd love to hear your thoughts!