Over the past few days, 253 checkout operators from New World, Pak n’Save and Four Square stores across Auckland went till-to-till in Foodstuff’s North Island’s 70th annual Checker of the Year competition.
Waiuku New World’s Paige Brown was one of the entrants who competed on Thursday 5 July. Entering for the first time, she came away with the top place for the Auckland South region.
“I got a big cheer from the team at work the next day,” she said.
After hearing about the competition through her work, and through her manager, she decided to enter. Each Foodstuffs team could enter up to seven people. “I feel like I couldn’t have done it without the team. They definitely backed me up,” Paige said.
The checkers competed on stage against one another while being judged by a team of eight senior Foodstuffs staff. They were assessed on their speed, presentation, customer service and accuracy as they scanned 30 items as quickly as possible, while also staying friendly and composed. “Customer service and speed are definitely the two things you need to do well,” Paige said.
She said the atmosphere at the event was amazing. “Everyone was dressed up in team colours.”
When crunch time came, she said she was nervous. “I really did enjoy it, but I had a lot of nerves, which isn’t like me.”
She was prepared for the event though, with the team training for an hour on Sundays in the lead up to the event.
The Waiuku team also came away with a few other prizes including top scoring store.
Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin said the competition celebrates the skills of those who are at the front-line of the public’s experience. “Our checkout operators are the face of our business, and this event is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on them and show our sincere appreciation for the contribution they make every day to our success in meeting customer expectations,” he said. The event this year celebrated 70 years of the Checker of the Year competition, which used to be called the ‘Listing and Adding competition’. Participants back then used a pencil and paper to tally up the prices.
The winners of the Auckland regional heats, including Paige, will go on to compete against the winners of the seven other regional heats. Each winner will be mystery shopped between August and November to determine the overall North Island Checker of the Year winner and two runners-up.
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