You’re In For Something Fresh: Customers First…At Jewel!

Welcome back to Training Video Hell (or Heaven, depending on your perspective)! This time around, we move from away from the grocery store chains of the Northeast (as featured in my previous post on training videos), and to the midwest. This week, we’ve been hired by grocery store chain Jewel!

Back In New Hire Hell!

Welcome to the Chicago suburbs, specifically, Elmhurst. The year: 1988. Your new job is at Chicago-based supermarket Jewel, part of the Albertsons family of grocery stores.

Meet your friendly Jewel co-workers!

They’re here to make shopping at Jewel a pleasure! And since they’re your co-workers, you’ll be learning how to perform your job effectively. You’re going to do great!

But before you begin working for Jewel, you’re going to watch a video. It will only take eight minutes of your training, but you need to know store policies.

Are you ready?

Customers FIRST!…At Jewel!

Here at Jewel, we take our customers VERY seriously.  Our training method involves the following steps:

Friendly Intro React Smile Thank You

And if you need a splashy visual, Exhibit A doesn’t disappoint:

Think of every late 1980s/early 1990s graphic t-shirt you’ve ever owned. This is how we drive the point home!

Also here to drive the point home, your trainer:

Her red grandma housecoat is on point!

And speaking of on point, you’ll be learning the do’s and don’ts of working for Jewel, as demonstrated by two of our fine employees!

Be sure to follow their good examples!

At Jewel, You’re In For Something Fresh…Our Awesome Training Video!

According to the video description, YouTube user (and former Jewel trainer) nickycheese took this tape with him upon leaving his job. I think I speak on behalf of the world when I thank him for unleashing this gem (I didn’t say the store name!) on the unsuspecting world!

Bask in the glory of Elmhurst, Illinois’ 944 York Road store location’s (which still exists to this day!) contribution to the corporate training video niche!

For the love of everything sacred, click play!

Upload via nickycheese

Afterthoughts: Takeaways From This Training Video…

Because educational value!

1. Attitude (and grandma’s housecoat as uniform attire) are unnecessary…

2. Not Uncle Sam is a thing…and his name is ASRE!

3. This title card looks like an OP t-shirt!

Of course, what we should take away from silly videos like this (and the others I’ve covered in past articles) is that they’re aiming to teach us the proper customer service skills. They’re striving to be effective. If they were, then good. We’re just there for the entertainment.

And speaking of previous articles…

Related Readings

If training videos have taught us anything, I’ve covered it!

Blockbuster had LISTEN, THINK, ACT (and later, Driscoll and Egbert teaching proper customer service through fake movies).

FuncoLand had The GAMES Process, and the most enthusiastic sales manager in the world!

At GameCrazy, customer service associates had mad selling skills, Zelda Scott, and the “Not Ready for ESPN Players.”

Loss prevention issues (and sales associate Jeff with the funky sideburns) was surprisingly not Montgomery Ward’s undoing.

You can BE THE DIFFERENCE working in a Key Food-owned supermarket, when you use the CLEAR policy of excellent customer service!

This post is dedicated to the Circa 1988 Employees of the following Jewel location:

We salute you, Employed by Jewel Supermarket Players!

(No, that’s not their actual group name, it just sounded cool!)

Be The Difference…In A Grocery Store Training Video!

Oh yes, I’m going there again. We’re back into the fertile ground of training video Hell (or Heaven, depending on your perspective). Specifically, we’re diving into the world of grocery stores, with a grocery store training video!

New Hire Hell

I think corporate offices look for new and creative ways to teach new hires the ways of their company, or at least, they did in the 1980s and 1990s. Corporate training videos contain material and acting the Human Resources Representative expects you not to laugh at. I haven’t watched a corporate training video in ten years, but while the times have changed, the cheesiness factor has not. Once upon a time though, the videos felt worse.


I’m convinced I’ve found the worst, but you’re going to have to visit the grocery store with me to decide for yourself!

Be The Difference…In A Grocery Store Training Video!

In the 1980s, Staten Island-based Key Food (the owners of several food store chains) made a training video about the proper approach to effective customer service. Their method is CLEAR:

Calm, Listen, Empathy, Apologize, Refer

And in case you don’t understand, here’s a convenient screenshot.

Additionally, this training video focuses on keeping shelves properly stocked and labelled, greeting and assisting customers, store cleanliness, and personal appearance.

CLEAR The Way For Scenarios!

The video demonstrates several customer service scenarios – both postive and negative – and how the CLEAR method promotes good customer service.

And, of course, no training video would be complete without fake smiles, terrible acting, and a host like this:

More specifically, what grocery store training video would be complete without my favorite retail go-to:

Best excuse for not helping EVER!

And now that you know all about the very existence of this video…why don’t we watch it?

Be The Difference!: The Shopping Environment

Upload via mrwolfie88

So, now that you know (and knowing is half the battle!), get out there and show us the CLEAR method!

And, if all else fails, smile!

Are You Familiar with BEST Products’ Store Layouts?

Well, by the end of this article, you will be familiar with BEST Products store layouts.

And if this isn’t enough, the music – er, MUSAK – is catchy. So there’s that.

First Architecture, Now Store Layouts!

I swear these documentaries about BEST Products stores just pour out of the woodwork, don’t they?

Last week, we watched a 1979 documentary about incredible feats of experimental concept architecture employed by nine BEST Products stores during the 1970s. We saw buildings with walls that literally removed themselves from the storefront, peeling facades, tilting walls, and a living rainforest.

The architectural feats were a feast for the eyes, but what happened in the store was equally innovative.

Mine had a conveyor belt that came from the upper warehouse, from which products arrived to a happy customer.

Facades of amazingness weren’t the only thing BEST was known for. They also had two different types of store layouts, and thanks to Homeplate Media, those layouts, their pros and cons, and MUZAK make for a great college project video. About Best Products store layouts.

Doesn’t get more exciting than this, folks!

The “SOT”: Store of Tomorrow Vs. Regency

Best Products employed two different store layouts beginning in 1985: “The Store of Tomorrow” (or SOT) and Regency. Each had their advantages and disadvantages. Every store adopted a certain layout.

Admit it, you came to look at blueprints! It is my contribution to “splashy visuals” that draws people in!

In 1990, Youngstown (Ohio) State University college student Ron Flaviano (of the aforementioned Homeplate Media) and fellow classmates made a video explaining each layout, their advantages, and their disadvantages.

Comparisons were drawn for each layout by examining two stores utilizing each layout – one in Parma, Ohio, the other in Niles, Ohio.


Complete with Muzak and the “spontaneous” phone call method perfected on House Hunters (look it up), this video is a total treat.

Would you like to watch it…on one of these TVs?

Of course you do!

Well, you can watch it, but not on these TVs.

BEST Products – Catalog Showroom Comparison

Upload via Homeplate Media (check out this channel!)

And now that you’ve seen both unusual architecture AND creative store layouts, I’ll back off of BEST for a while.

Unless I find something else, because you know how well I do at “backing off a topic.”

Hey, one can never have enough Chicago, David Foster, and Kenny Loggins articles!

BEST Products Store Architecture: Seeing Is Believing!

Seeing is truly believing, but you won’t believe your eyes when you see the amazing architecture design of Best Products Catalog stores.

BEST Products: History Lesson Time!

BEST Products (it is important to capitalize “Best”) was a catalog showroom retail chain, founded in 1957 by Sydney and Frances Lewis. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, BEST was in business until 1997. Sydney Lewis worked with his father, managing an encyclopedia sales operation, and came up with idea of selling additional merchandise along with the encyclopedia bills. The first catalog went out in 1957, with the first showroom opening at 4909 West Marshall Street in Richmond.

The store employed a catalog showroom model. I shopped at a location near my grandparents’ homes as a kid, and the concept was like nothing I’d ever seen (and haven’t seen since). I recall finding merchandise on the showroom floor, taking a slip to a counter, and the product coming on a conveyor belt from the ceiling. To a kid, this seems like magic. I loved this store the way most kids love Toys R Us. Don’t get me wrong, I love Toys R Us, but seriously, the magic conveyor belt from the ceiling was truly an structure of amazement. Like I said, there’s nothing quite like it, and hasn’t been since.

BEST Products filed for bankruptcy twice – once in January 1991 (re-emerged June 16, 1994) and again in September 24, 1996. The second time was the last, with the entire chain (169 stores, 11 jewelry stores, and a nationwide catalog) closing by February 9, 1997. Many of these stores are now Best Buy locations, and there is nothing of this sort in existence.

If you’ve ever shopped at a BEST store, they weren’t just known for their cool store concept, they employed a unique concept in another respect…

A Marvel of Amazing and Unique Design

In the 1970s, BEST Products contracted with James Wines’ “Sculpture in the Environment” (SITE).

Cutler Ridge, Florida location

The purpose was to design nine highly unorthodox storefront facilities; among them, stores in Houston, Richmond, Sacramento, Towson, Maryland, and Hialeah, Florida.

Hialeah, Florida

To describe is to not give it justice, but to show you…oh, I can do that!

“The Peeling Project” – Richmond, Virginia

In 1979, a documentary was produced to show the concept, construction, and public reaction to these stores. The facades are incredible. I’d say they were ahead of their time, but they’re not ahead of any time. They’re truly…different.

The Notch Project – Sacramento, California

I bet you’re wondering, “Allison, where does such a documentary exist?”

Well, newly informed friends, allow me to show you the way!

The Tilt Building – Towson, Maryland

But first, find your way behind this tilting wall!

Witness The Amazing Structures of BEST Products Stores!

Retroist friends, for your viewing pleasure, the amazing design and reaction to the incredible construction of several BEST Products stores!

Upload via azbats1

That rainforest concept is incredible, and definitely my favorite!

Final Thoughts

I’ve looked up BEST Products in the past, and usually have only come across photos. I’ve really been after commercials and videos, so to find this documentary gave me a bit of optimism to find other bits of information about the stores.

As I was finishing up this post, I came across a college video about the layout of the stores. That, my friends, will be a story for another time.

Why not close with another interesting concept?

The Antisign – Distribution Center, Ashland, Virginia

Makes me dizzy just looking at it!

Related Reading

SITE – BEST Products Store Designs

Highly-detailed photos of the structures SITE created for BEST Products!