DENNIS OARY (HE/HIM)
HELPER CLERK | WEST SEATTLE
Dennis Oary is incredibly cheerful and upbeat. But those aren’t the only reasons he’s a perfect fit for his role as Helper Clerk, a job he’s held for more than 16 years, the longest he’s worked for any employer.
Connecting with customers is one of Dennis’ special skills — he loves helping people. He can tell if someone is having a bad day or just feeling quiet, and he’s learned to speak more softly and kindly.
“If I see someone walking around the store looking for something, I always ask if I can help and then take them to the right place,” he says. If he doesn’t know the answer to their question, he finds someone who does and uses the opportunity to learn so he can be of assistance next time.
He’s also memorized more than 800 of his customers’ names, adding, “A little effort and care go a long way.”
When Dennis arrives, he puts on his apron — loaded with pins he’s been awarded for bagging, communication and outstanding work — then begins sterilizing the scoops in the bulk department, cleaning handrails and wiping down freezer doors.
No detail is too big or too small for Dennis, whether he’s building displays or anticipating his cashiers need for extra bagging assistance.
Dennis takes a lot of pride in his work, always thinking about how he can best represent PCC. By having a great attitude, never arriving late or calling in sick, and being there when people need him, he’s earned every pin on his apron. Plus, he’s always ready with a joke. Ask him to tell you the one about the centipede.
Since he works mornings, Dennis takes a short break about halfway through his shift, relaxing with a cup of coffee. And just breathing. For someone who used to be shy, he admits, “This job has really helped me learn to be comfortable and feel more confident.”
Dennis says that PCC is like his adopted family. They’ve taken such good care of him, which is why he works so hard for them. His store directors genuinely care about their staff’s well-being, making sure everyone has what they need to do their job. “It feels more like a family place than a workplace,” he adds.
Another great benefit of working for PCC? Bus passes. Dennis doesn’t drive — and takes the bus all over the Seattle area — so discounted public transit is extremely handy and appreciated.
The store gets busy right around the time Dennis’ shift ends, so before he starts his final responsibilities for the day — which include monitoring the status of the bathrooms, sweeping the floors, and ensuring there are plenty of shopping carts out front — he’ll check in with the cashiers to see if they need any extra help, which they often do.
Dennis is a team player, and as he likes to say, “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”
Always on the go, Dennis likes to stay busy even when he’s not at work. You usually can find him at his local West Seattle gym lifting weights or using the bike or elliptical machine, or taking the bus to Bellevue or Southcenter to grab dinner with friends.