I walked into Whole Foods Market last night to pick up a few groceries. This is not a typical occurrence for me. Whole Foods is not close to my house, and thus for convenience reasons, I regularly shop at Harris Teeter just a few blocks from my house.

Affectionately referred to as “Spend Your Whole Paycheck Market,” I got out of there for $100 on the nose. If you have ever been into a Whole Foods, it is easy to see why people just can’t resist spending. For starters, the store is beautiful…warm, inviting, and well merchandised. Second, all of the food looks so damn tasty. Third, and most important, the employees of Whole Foods really love working at Whole Foods…not something you sense at most other grocers.

As I was checking out, the cashier fired up a conversation with me. I told her that I had purchased 1 lb. of fresh scallops from the seafood counter for dinner. At first glance, I thought the price read $2.99 per lb. After the seafood dept. attendant had selected the scallops, weighed them, wrapped them, and handed me the container…I realized it said $21.99 per lb. Gulp. Whoa! The cashier immediately stopped dead in her tracks, she looked at me square in the eye and said, “You don’t have to buy these. I can easily take them back.” I thanked her for the kind gesture, but reassured her it was okay and I would enjoy every bite of these scallops for dinner. She wished me all the best for an enjoyable dinner, and I was on my way.

As I walked to my car, I got to thinking: “would a cashier at any other grocery store do the same thing?” While I can’t say NO with 100% certainty, I feel confident in my answer. There is a noticeable difference in the attitude of the people of Whole Foods compared to any other grocery market. It is evident that Whole Foods people are foodies. You can tell that they are aligned with the vision and mission of the company. That alignment is displayed in every conversation that Whole Foods employees have with customers.

By taking good care of their people, Whole Foods has turned each and every one of their employees into their best salesperson. Their employees in turn take good care of their customers, building bonds and relationships that last.

While their food is awfully good, their people will keep me coming back time and time again.

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