05 May 2010

My Day at Frager’s (Pt. 2)

Sandra Mejia, Frager's employee and proud US citizen.

On more than one occasion I have walked into Frager’s with a vague description of the item I just had to have.

“I need a thing for drywall, a screw, but it should say ‘Bull’s Eye’ on the box. Do you have something like that?”

The request, made by me on my husband’s behalf, didn’t even make sense to me, but it made perfect sense to the Frager’s employee who greeted me at the door. I would learn that my odd request, and ones like it, are the norm at Frager’s.

When I set out to work at Frager’s, the one job I knew I wanted to try was that of “Frager’s greeter”—or what the employees call floor duty—for no other reason than to see or hear what others walking through the door wanted to buy at the store that seems to have it all. Like Elizabeth in the gardening department told me, “if we don’t have it at Frager’s than you probably don’t need it.”

After meeting the ladies working at the registers—on this day it is Sandra Mejia, who proudly says that she just became a US citizen, and Cary Caldwell—I make my way through the aisles that hold everything from nuts and bolts to copper pipe and meet William. He has been living on the Hill for years but has only been working at Frager’s for three years, which makes him relatively new to the Frager’s family.

I wanted to know what odd requests or questions William has had to field, and he is willing to offer his fair share of odd requests, but only after he thinks about it for a bit.

“I once had someone ask to have a piece of glass cut for a normal Capitol Hill window, “ says William. I ask what is so odd about a request for glass. “Well, they didn’t have any measurements! They assumed I knew what the measurement of their standard window was.”

Yeah, that has my request for drywall screws beat.

But William doesn’t stop there. “We get lots of descriptions. We need to read minds. We need to be knowledgeable. We even need to be Dear Abby, because sometimes people share too much.”

Just as William is about to reveal a more unusual Frager’s encounter, Dora Acevedo approaches and invites me to the front of the store to work floor duty—I’m finally a Frager’s greeter—and the store is just starting to get busy.

I ask Dora why she works at Frager’s. “Frager’s is a nice place to work.”

Yet another happy employee.

But are the employees just as happy in the paint department? Stayed tuned to find out.

(Hint: the answer is yes.)

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