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Greek supermarket urges workers to “smile” as they have “a job” and “get paid”

“Smile” is obligatory because one has a job and get paid for it. A memo issued by the Regional Operation Manager of one of the biggest supermarkets in Greece has triggered an outrage not only among its employees but also in the society.

The bold and arrogant memo requires that employees smile all the time “because they have a job”, “are paid on time” and “are paid for the job” they do. That is, the self-evident that a worker is being paid for the job he does is in the memo upgraded to a special issue for which workers should be eternally thankful to the company.

The Regional Manager has put on a rather long list the reasons for which employees at MyMarket have to smile.

“I note some reasons for smiling for those who have difficulties to do so,” the manager whose name has not been revealed notes in the beginning of the memo.

Because …

  • you have a job
  • you are paid in time (for those complaining about the €300, I say: compared to zero 300 is 300% more)
  • you work for a company that respects and listens to your problems
  • the company has invested money so that you keep having a job
  • you are paid for it [the job]
  • supermarket customers pay you, you have to thank them for that with a smile
  • the company has so good offers that we have to advertise

She concludes her memo writing she is looking forward to seeing the workers’ response to the results of the Secret Visitor Survey of the month.”

I look forward to seeing your response to the results of the secret visitor that will take place in the month.

Contacted by media, supermarket MyMarket confirmed that there was such a memo. However, the management spoke of an “isolated incident.”

“Following this post, we would like to inform you in the most categorical manner that this particular case does not reflect and is incompatible with the culture, philosophy and mode of operation of the chain and its 10700 employees,” MyMarket told newsit.

On social media, Greeks are now calling for a boycott of the said supermarket.

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with this manager. So often in shops, supermarkets etc the assistants have sour faces and give you the impression that they are doing you a favour being there. They seem to forget that the customer does keep them in a job. Unfortunately this group of sour faced assistants seem to be the majority in Greece but there are a few assistants in some shops willing to smile and be pleasant and I go back to those shops.

  2. michele lavender

    I think people, especially Greeks who have very little facial expression need to smile,its good for them and the on looker,be pleasant anywhere you are because one day you will be dead,too late to smile,be kind or laugh,be helpful if you can and shop staff often need better,hugely better, customer repor.Sorry to say that Greeks often look at you suspicious and like you have killed their whole family and all you did was walk in their shop,come on Greeks SMILE,it wont hurt you,in fact its good for you.I read of a Jewish woman who was in a German killing camp who was a hell hole,they killed my husband but still I thanked God,Life,luck, that I was alive with my small boy and I loved life…so…love your life and smile,we know we dont earn enough and we are often feeling like slaves in the work place but smile in those minutes of life for they surely will never come back to us.

  3. I third this memo. I don’t agree with all of the reasons given. Nobody likes to be reminded that “you have a job”, but there it is…. In the end no one should be offended, no one should be upset. I appreciate that the work is hard (I worked as a supermarket cashier for 10 years) and that people take their “bad days” out on you. Now that I am a teacher, try dealing with 100+ students every day! That’s even worse. And yet, parents can complain to our professional association about our behaviour – and they often do.

    I agree with Kritiki46 who mentioned that they “give you the impression that they are doing you a favour”. I remember going into a shop, just looking around and then being sworn at when I didn’t buy anything. And, I didn’t ask for assistance or touch anything either (doing either of those would bring down the wrath of God).

    My last point, I remember reading/hearing that when Athens hosted the Olympics in 2004 many people were given “politeness” lessons.