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Beloved supermarket worker says her customers are ‘like family’ after a quarter-century of service

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 September 2020

Long-serving Asda Beckton worker Janet Oakley is popular among regular customers for her friendly service at the checkout tills. Picture: Asda

Long-serving Asda Beckton worker Janet Oakley is popular among regular customers for her friendly service at the checkout tills. Picture: Asda

Archant

A supermarket employee beloved by the community for her friendly service over a quarter of a century says her customers are “like family”.

Janet Oakley, 55, started working at Asda Beckton as a Christmas temp – and she’s still there 26 years later, putting smiles on customers’ faces at the checkout.

The popular mum and grandma from East Ham is a familiar face for the regular customers who make a beeline for her till.

Although she’s worked in all areas of the store over the years, Janet enjoys the checkout and chatting with customers most.

“Every day is different, but there are so many customers you see every day that you recognise and say hello to,” she said.

“When you come into the store it’s like a family - you recognise people and you care about them and your colleagues.”

She added: “I used to have a sing-song and a dance behind the till - but only before the store opened.

“I love music and singing and dancing - I haven’t got a good voice, but I enjoy it.”

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In a sign of her popularity, a Facebook post by Asda celebrating Janet’s years of service received more than 100 comments from customers expressing their gratitude - from calls for her to receive an OBE to explaining what her kindness has meant to them.

Janet says the camaraderie in the Beckton store during the pandemic has been unlike anything she had experienced in her time there, with regular customers coming up to thank her and her colleagues for their hard work as keyworkers.

“When someone first came up and told me to ‘keep up what you’re doing’ and said ‘thank you’ it was just so nice,” she said.

“I’ve been here for so long everyone feels like they know me personally – customers start talking to me and they just don’t want me to walk away.”

Janet says her secret to staying young and keeping her energy up is spending time with her grandson.

But not only has Janet become a grandma during her time working at the store, many of her customers have, too.

“I used to see people come into the store with children of a similar age to my children.

“Now those children come to my till and bring their children,” she said.

“I’ve seen whole families grow up.”


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