95 Year Old Brand Ambassador
I think it is safe to say that Reg Buttress is Britain's oldest supermarket worker and now approaching 95 he has decided that it is time for him to finally retire. He did try to retire once before at 65, an age that most people would usually associate retirement, but it wasn't for him. After just six weeks of retirement he was bored and returned to work where he continued for a further 30 years! That alone is a complete working life for some people.
Previously I have written about the benefits of an older workforce and the changing face of retirement and I make no apology for writing about Reg this time. It's an important, and interesting subject and I believe we should celebrate these stories and the businesses that realise the value of an older workforce. In the case of Reg, it's Sainsbury's who have employed him for 35 years. A spokesperson said "Reg is a fantastic colleague. His wonderful personality and energy is an inspiration to us all. Our customers love seeing and chattng to him and it will be a very sad day when he retires in September." Reg says of his work at Sainsbury's "In 1982 I started working at the store, I enjoy my work, meeting the customers who come in. It's wonderful when people tell me their stories."
No one is suggesting that Reg's contribution is as the fastest shelf stacker in the store or that he can push the longest line of shopping trolleys in one go. His contribution is something that could easily be overlooked or dismissed because it is not seen as having commerical value. However, for me there is a lot of value in Reg's role, he's a brand ambassador. He is the person who is employed by the business to represent the brand in a positive light, whether this was the intention or not this is how the role has evolved.
Reg is what you would call a 'community influencer' he's the person that makes the difference, it's Reg who meets and greets the customers as they come into the store and stops to chat to them. It's he they look forward to seeing and he who they'll miss when he retires. Clearly his absence won't stop them shopping there but their experience of the Sainsbury's store won't be the same once he's gone. The warmth and fondness that they speak of is for Reg, who happens to be wearing a Sainsbury's uniform.
Karen Perry, Founder alice chilton In-Home Care Services Limited