After becoming a parent, they won me over in a whole new dimension -- namely their crew members' wonderful way with kids in their stores. The crew members for the store closest to us were incredibly understanding when child #1 became unexpectedly ill on aisle 2; their "things like this happen, please don't worry" response was a very relieving surprise. When they still handed out balloons, they would accommodate balloon colour requests like they would be at Nordstom's. They *tried* to get me to see the funny side of my toddler child #2 swiping a carton of eggs and turning it upside-down just out of my reach and the cart (and refused to let me help clean up or pay for it).
Several crew members are familiar with both kids by now. If I make the weekly run by myself, they ask where the kids are. One woman asks specifically after James. His happy hunt through the store, looking for the Peanuts plush doll of the day makes people smile. When he finds the character, he runs up to the front desk and reports its location for his coveted prize: a red TJ's lollypop. Talk about motivation to speak a sentence clearly!
This week, however, he was unable to find Lucy, and he began a semi-frantic, howling meltdown, right as I was in the checkout line, trying to check my list and make sure I'd gotten everything. I got him to calm down enough to ask a crew member for a hint. They sent someone to look for her in the store. When they discovered that Lucy was AWOL, they hid Charlie Brown, and gave James' sister a "cold" clue for where they could find him. She then took James on another search, which had a happy conclusion in the freezer section, amongst the cookies.
I know they would have done this as soon as someone brought it to their attention, but these people also seem to understand how something not being in its right place was driving James into a panic. Because when his big sister told him "Lucy's on vacation," they said "That's right, and she'll be back later." Immediately, James calmed down, and afterwards I did not hear him asking constantly where Lucy was (which is something he does when someone/thing is out of place in his world).
And after a tough week (like this past one), small kindnesses mean everything.