In my last post, a friend who’s spent most of her career in the nonprofit world shared her positive experience as a seasonal associate at the Village Square (Baltimore MD) Williams-Sonoma store. She’s not the only one surprised and delighted by the Williams-Sonoma retail culture there.
Here are excerpts from a letter that one of her co-workers, also a seasonal (part-time) associate, sent to the chain’s top management.
“For the last 21 years I have served in the Submarine Force and as a Naval Officer in the Cryptology community of the United States Navy. I pride myself on hard work, dedication to the mission, teamwork and integrity. This December, however, I was shown the true meaning of the qualities above, when I took a Seasonal Job at one of your stores in Baltimore; specifically the store located at Village Square. I thought it might be fun to work in an environment that wasn't classified, and since I have a passion for cooking I applied for a seasonal position. I wasn't sure what to expect in the world of retail - renowned for high turnover, mediocre dedication and a demanding public - but I was eager to find out.
My experience was truly eye opening. Your store Manager Claudia and her team of full-time employees are nothing short of OUTSTANDING. I have a staff of over 130 people, and I attempted to evaluate this store from a manager's perspective as I went about my daily tasks. Over and over and over -- I was amazed at the teamwork, dedication and hard, hard, hard work these employees demonstrated. WOW!
This group is truly unique in that they understand and provide customer service - no matter what the circumstance. Claudia's attitude is that nothing is too big to handle or too small to pay attention to, and every single employee exemplifies this motto.
I was amazed that I could ask any full-time employee a question in any situation (store packed full of customers, a waiting line five deep) and I was ALWAYS greeted with a "No problem - how can I help?"
These employees ensure that the store is fully stocked, dishes washed, cash counted, floor swept, EVERYTHING in its correct place before they walk out the door every - single -night. I thought that maybe we could cheat a little after the mad rush of customers during the holidays - but it never happened.
Submarines, as you can imagine, are like fine tuned watches. Everything is routine and we can't afford a mistake because it could mean the death of hundreds of men. I never thought I would work in an environment that had the same structure and system. I have to tell you -- Claudia and her team exemplify the same characteristics.
I want to thank you for giving me such a great experience. I truly enjoyed myself - in fact - I looked forward to work and would always call to see if there were extra hours - it was that much fun!”
My reaction (to quote the author of this letter) is also “WOW!”