Check out this first-rate operator
Nelson checkout operator Shelly Hermon can proudly say she is the best in the country at her job.
The Fresh Choice employee won Checkout Operator of the Year at Fresh Choice and Super Value's national checkout championships in Queenstown on Wednesday.
She was notified of her win in front of more than 200 people at the company's awards dinner.
"For a second or two I was like, ‘I can't believe it's me'."
Ms Hermon was awarded a prize of $3000, which she plans to put towards a trip to visit her mother's family in Scotland. She enjoyed meeting Kiwi celebrity Sam Neill when she was taken out for a celebratory dinner at Queenstown restaurant Rata afterwards, saying the win also coincided with her 10th anniversary as a Fresh Choice employee.
"We didn't go short of bubbles, it was a nice way to celebrate."
Ms Hermon said the national checkout competition had two sections.
In the morning, she and five other high-scoring checkout operators from around New Zealand had their accuracy tested by challenging customers who pulled tricks like hiding items in their trolleys and not writing the right codes on their bulk food bags.
Later in the day they had to take a questionnaire that asked about company policy, business, health and safety and other operational matters.
"That was probably the worst," Ms Hermon said.
She said she had chatted with her regular customers at the Nelson store while going through the regional checkout operating competitions, saying she was now receiving a lot of congratulations. She said she liked working at the supermarket because of the people she met.
"It's fun dealing with the public, I love it. I get to gasbag to people all day."