Long-serving ‘‘checkout chick’’ Sandra Goodwin doesn’t get what the big deal is.
The chirpy, popular operator at Palmerston North’s Plaza Countdown supermarket has just breezed past a couple of milestones that her managers thought were worthy of mention.
Now 70, Goodwin, known by her colleagues as Sandy, has clocked up 30 years at the innercity store.
‘‘I don’t like being made a fuss of. Other people have worked here for 30 years – I think all this is because I’m the oldest.’’
She may now only work part time, with a regular Monday shift and helping out with extra hours during the week, but Goodwin knows many of her customers by first name, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Goodwin began working as a checkout operator in 1987. Recently completed, the then Foodtown supermarket was ‘‘the newest in town’’.
At that time, the Plaza shopping mall was in the process of being developed out of the former PDC (Premier Drapery Company), or ‘‘The Co-op’’ on The Square.
The supermarket was built as a stand-alone at the end of The Plaza’s Ashley St wing that used to house the city’s first foodcourt.
Goodwin begun her working career as a hairdresser and had a salon above where The Verdict cafe is. It was nerve-wracking applying for the checkout job at the age when proverbially ‘‘life begins’’.
‘‘It was my first job interview. It was a bit of a fright for me at 40... but well, I’m still here.’’
There have been plenty of changes. As a checkout supervisor, Goodwin used to have to look up products on a Rolodex.
‘‘Scanning is better now, it’s quicker. The scales used to be separate – the machines have changed quite a bit.’’
She enjoyed working alongside young students – they gave her an updated perspective on life, although it was sometimes disconcerting to discover she was serving the grandchildren of her original customers.
‘‘I enjoy the people contact. The customers here are wonderful and we’re a happy bunch. It’s good fun and I don’t have to take my work home.
‘‘I think I’ll keep doing it until I’ve had enough. One day I’ll decide, hand in my resignation and quietly walk out. I don’t want any fuss,’’ Goodwin said.
Sandra Goodwin, who has clocked up 30 years at Countdown in The Plaza, serves customer Bryce Mills.