Mark­ing mile­stones


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.

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