With a smile on his face, Joe Gliniecki always went above and beyond to assist and make customers feel welcome while working as a door greeter at Walmart.
“(I enjoyed) interacting with the customers, and when they came up and asked me if I knew where there was an item that they were looking for and couldn’t find, I was able to explain to them where the item was located,” he said. Taking care of customers was pivotal for Gliniecki, as he wanted to help to make their shopping experience at Walmart the best it could be.
Gliniecki, 73, retired after 16 years of working at the store in June. He worked at Walmart since 2004, first starting out at the Junction City location before moving to the Manhattan store.
“Over the 16 years that I was at Walmart here,” he said, “I’ve seen quite a few changes and there’s been times when things got a little rough and that, and you just have to kind of take it all in and make the best of it.”
Gliniecki worked at the old snack bar, as a cashier, in store maintenance and the auto department while at Walmart before eventually making the transition to greeter.
“There are not too many departments I have not worked in,” he said.
Gliniecki said he felt like it was time to retire because of some health issues. He said he recently learned carpal tunnel returned back to both of his hands and has diabetic neuropathy in his arms and hands.
“So I just kind of figured that it was better just to go ahead and retire,” he said.
Prior to working at Walmart, Gliniecki worked for the Junction City school district in various positions and also delivered newspapers.
Beth Ann Riley, a friend of Gliniecki, who also works at Walmart, said Gliniecki is one-of-a-kind.
“You felt a warm and welcomeness when you come through the door, and you could tell him a story or something funny or something in the news, and he would always have a comment,” she said. She said his friendliness and kindness are what made him such an amazing addition to the staff.
“He enjoyed a conversation,” she said. “He enjoyed a visit; it’s the simplicity of life. He enjoyed meeting new people. He enjoyed hearing a story or something.”
Riley said Gliniecki knew several customers who came through the doors.
“He had that small-town social,” she said. “He knew people. He read the paper.”
Gliniecki, who was born in Wisconsin, served in the Navy for four years from 1965-1969, going to places such as Japan and Vietnam, among others.
“I really, really enjoyed seeing the different ways that people lived in each country, and it just kind of makes you wonder just how good you’ve got it,” he said.
Gliniecki’s dad was in the Army, which eventually led them to Fort Riley and the Manhattan area.
In his retirement, Gliniecki said he tries to stay busy and often enjoys giving a helping hand when a person needs assistance. In addition, he said he enjoys taking walks, using the computer and watches television, too.
“So I keep active,” he said. “I mean I just don’t sit around all day long and then go to bed at night.”