You Can Ring My Bell…Or Not


A Kroger  opened in our neighborhood. You’ve gotta love that new store smell and the fresh and perky employee attitudes. This store is awesome! It has a Sushi Bar, a Starbucks and, the Express Lanes have a sign that states, “About 15 items.” Sweet! The pressure is off.

As usual, we are out of milk, cereal and dog food. I’m on a fast grocery run between kid pick-up and 17 other errands. I approach the checkout and see that you can ring a bell for exceptional service. When you “ding,” everyone yells, “WOOOOO!” I don’t know why this cracks me up, but it does. So I have been experimenting. If I ring the bell the moment I arrive at the cashier, does that ensure better service? If I don’t ring the bell, do the checker and bagger feel disappointed? Do I get to yell, “WOOOOO!” or is it just for employees?

After many failed attempts at gathering any true intel, I decided to ask. Except, I may have asked the wrong cashier.

“Excuse me, do you get happy when people ring the bell?”

“Not really.”


“Well, I only like it when a manager is around to hear it. Mostly, it’s just annoying.”

This was a totally unexpected answer. Seriously? Doesn’t everyone want their bell rung? (That doesn’t sound right — but stick with the story). Doesn’t everyone want to provide great service, whether a manager is around or not? If great service happens and a manager isn’t around to witness it, did it actually take place?

As a frequent bell ringer, I walked to my car downtrodden. It’s like finding out there is no Easter Bunny or the real age of Mick Jagger. Sitting in the car, I thought about what just happened and there are some great lessons here:

  • What you think motivates your employees, kids, bosses, partners… may not be what actually motivates them.
  • Hire, surround yourself and make friends with people who want the bell ringing.
  • Check your own “WOOOOO!” Are you doing things that motivate others to want to ring your bell? Great service, attitude, professionalism?
  • Are you ringing others’ bells regardless of who is or is not watching?

SO… Will I still ring the bell? Absolutely! If I truly get good service, the world should know! In this crazy life, there’s still nothing like giving and getting a real, “WOOOOO!”

Go forth today, “WOOOOO” and be “WOOOOOed.” Now more than ever we need more cheerleaders, fewer critics and better customer service.