You are currently viewing Paeroa’s got the top girl for checkout
Inuri Kuruppu from Countdown Paeroa won Checkout Operator of the Year last month. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Paeroa’s got the top girl for checkout

Out of the roughly 5000 checkout operators working for New Zealand’s Countdown supermarkets, Inuri Kuruppu from Paeroa is the country’s best.
The 22-year-old checkout supervisor claimed the title after being judged in several rounds, walking away with $3000 and bragging rights.
“I feel very honoured. I know people may think: ‘Oh it’s just a checkout operator award’, but to me, it’s such a cool opportunity and who knows where it will lead me,” she told The Profile.
“The whole experience was so awesome and I’m really grateful for it.”
Inuri started working for Countdown while studying towards a business degree in Hamilton. After graduating at the end of 2020, she returned to her hometown of Paeroa and got a full-time job at the local store.
Most of her shifts are nine-and-a-half hours long, but she said keeping the enthusiasm up for the entire work day came easy to her, in part thanks to the happy customers – some of which she is on first-name basis with.
“I have really good relationships with a lot of customers. You’re not always going to get the nicest customer, so it’s great when you do get a lot of lovely people,” she said.
“And Paeroa is such a small community, so everyone knows everyone.”
Inuri was nominated for the national award by Countdown Paeroa’s assistant customer services manager Suzanne Lee, who said she always knew Inuri was a winner.
“To me it wasn’t just about being an operator, it was also about consistency across the whole board: customer service, interacting with the team… nothing really is a problem [with Inuri].
“At the end of the day, anyone can be a checkout operator, so it’s about how you actually execute the whole shopping experience… and I knew she was a winner.”
When it comes to being crowned the nation’s best checkout operator, Inuri said maintaining good relationships with the customers was key.
“You want to know about their day and put in a bit of effort to smile, and yet still be conscious about scanning items because people want to go home – you just want them to want to come back,” she said.
“When you do have a stressful situation, or when you do see lines, you know your team has your back and they’ll go as hard as they can to keep the customers happy.”
Inuri wanted to thank Paeroa customers for often “making her day”.
“Thank you for being so lovely and understanding… oh,” she said, “and patient.”