TALLINN – The Estonian operation of retailer Rimi, which has deployed 170 office staff to stores for the holiday season, estimates that the Estonian service industry is short of 2,000 employees.
"Christmas and the year-end are the busiest time in a grocery store, as our daily sales increase manyfold and clerks have their hands full of work," Rimi Estonia manager Vaido Padumae said in a press release.
He said that to help relieve the burden of service personnel, almost all office staff decided to come to the aid of workers at stores, working in the hall and at the checkout lane.
"Almost half the working age population of Estonia works in the service sector -- I invite all patrons to be friendly and understanding towards shop personnel and definitely to give a smile more often. The work of a shop clerk is not easy -- every piece of positive feedback helps you do your work better still, no matter whether you are a clerk or a top manager," Padumae said, adding that he finds simultaneously communicating with patrons and scanning goods at the checkout lane to be the most difficult thing.
"I've been helping out at the checkout lane for years, but I have yet to achieve the level of a clerk whose hands work fast and whose communication is smooth at the same time. This is not an easy task," Padumae, who started his career in retail as a packager of orders in a storage room, said.
As at the end of 2017, Rimi operated altogether 82 stores -- 15 hypermarkets and 67 supermarkets -- in Estonia. The company employed 2,686 people and its wage costs during the 12 months totaled 22.4 million euros.
The sole owner of Rimi Eesti Food AS is Rimi Baltic AB, a holding of ICA Gruppen AB of Sweden.