It’s a typical weekday morning, and I’m at Albertsons in Spokane Valley. Jeff Philips is the Dairy Manager and his job is to stock the shelves in the dairy section. The dairy products are kept at a chilly 35 degrees in the grocery store refrigerator, but it’s easy to work up a sweat.
"It really gets you in shape," Jeff tells me.
The first thing you’ll notice in the back room is giant stacks of boxes. From whipped cream to sour cream, milk to butter, all of these eggs are in Jeff’s basket, so to speak.
“I run the dairy,” Jeff says. “I do all the ordering. I make sure everything's safe for everybody.”
His world has a different lingo, too. I learned quickly that you don’t “stock” shelves; you “throw.” Throwing means taking items like a carton of milk and putting it in the display fridge. “Facing” means turning the label so the customer can see it. “Rotation” means putting the products with later expiration dates at the back of the display, so the older items are up front and get sold quicker.
As far as Jeff’s expiration date, he’s been with the company for 20 years. He tells me he’s got plenty of throwing, labeling, and rotating left to do.
“I don't plan on going anywhere,” Jeff says. “You get good benefits, a decent wage, and a second family. I'll do it as long as I can.”