This February, will mark my fourth anniversary at Kroger.
February of 2008 I had raised my children and was looking for a job. It was hard to get a job with no experience. I worked in our own rental business, and had cleaned for friends while raising the kids but there was nothing current I could put on an application. So I was getting frustrated. I decided I would not do the online thing first. I told myself, I’m going to meet a manager first. So…. I went into Kroger. I first talked to Amber, who was working there at that time. I told her my story. She paged Stirling. I saw him and thought,… he is no older than my son!!! Wow! Anyway, I told him I was a good worker, and it would benefit him to hire me. My application would be no reflection of that. I have experience from twenty years ago, but there’s a gap from where I raised my kids. He grinned at me and told me to put my application in online, and I would be called for an interview. He kept his word and hired me.
When I started, I was leery of having a boss who was so much younger than myself. I thought, what can he know? But MAN was I fooled! Stirling was a genius! At getting us motivated…. at satisfying customers, at teaching us how to deal with customers, he was absolutely the BEST. I truly believe he is the reason store #647 was always in the top of the Atlanta division. Through the years of working there, Stirling has worked with me when I needed off for my frequent trips, he has been a confidant when I needed to talk to him about other managers, (tehe), or something job related or personal….and he was a text away if the robots freaked out on me late night. So, now it is difficult to think of #647 without him!!! The whole spirit of the store is limp and sad now. It isn’t the same….. It isn’t happy. I truly believe Stirling WAS the heart and soul of #647.
Stirling leaving #647 is sad. I hope that Stirling’s positive effect on Kroger will negate the negativity. I’m sure he will get enough negativity from others, so it doesn’t have to come from his friends. As for me, I love Stirling, miss him, and wish him the very best.
POSTNOTE: 3/17/12 Friday’s shift at Kroger, minding the robots. I had a lull in customer flow, and noticed the bags on the “time out” (express lane #5) wheel were getting low. So I got some bags and began to refill. Had to get some small bags…..as I always do after I come back from a weekend off….seems like I’m the only one who cares about keeping small bags on the time out wheels. So, I mentioned to the cashier that Stirling had always drilled it in me to use small bags when possible. Even putting milk in them. haha The cashier says…. “Someone just asked me about Stirling. WHO IS STIRLING?” I looked at her and was a little shocked. I don’t know why. But I always thought that in store #647 those words would never be uttered. Dayam!