Shipt Shopper Robert “RJ” Woldhuis celebrated his 10,000th shop in February. What’s the secret to RJ’s success you ask? On top of great communication and his personable attitude, the Grand Rapids, Mich. community loves to see what fun, crazy costume he’s wearing each time he shops.
RJ completed his first order four years ago, in what he expected would be a part-time gig. Months in, the military veteran quit his day job working in sales and decided to pour his passion for serving others into Shipt Shopping full time and brightening customers’ days through his attire.
Why does RJ wear hilarious costumes? He’s what he told us:
You like to wear costumes when you shop and deliver orders - so many people at your local store even recognize you! Tell us more about that.
As a veteran and avid runner, I started wearing tutus during the Veterans Memorial 150, a 150-mile race across Michigan that serves the veteran community. So, when I started shopping for Shipt, it felt like a natural fit to sport my fun and outlandish costumes during my day-to-day shops and deliveries. I’ll wear anything from onesies to fedoras to patterned socks and wigs. I’ve dressed up for several holidays as well, everything from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas. At its core, my costumes are an icebreaker; they make me memorable and unique.
When I’m shopping in my local store, customers and employees recognize me and always want to see what I am wearing that day. Recently, a grandmother came up to me to tell me how much she appreciated my colorful outfits because they gave her grandson the confidence to not care what other people think of you.
Several people have also told me when they were having a bad day, they saw me in my outfit and it just made them smile and laugh. In the end, my goal is to deliver smiles alongside my groceries, because sometimes I’m the only interaction people experience in a day.
You’ve made a difference in so many customers’ lives in the last four years. Are there any stories that stand out?
There are many customers I’ve gotten to know well - some I’m even friends with on Facebook. Out of all the wonderful experiences I’ve had shopping, my 10,000th order is definitely one that stands out.
I wanted that shop to be special - so, I reached out to Laura, a Shipt customer I knew and have delivered for several times over the years. In fact, I was actually a guest speaker at their children’s school a few years back, so I had a longtime connection with this family.
I made sure to structure my day accordingly so that I would be sure to deliver this important order to this special customer. When I came to the door, I saw that their kids had drawn signs and hung them on their windows to celebrate with me. I truly enjoy delivering to that family and I’m so glad I got to celebrate this special moment with them!
We even asked RJ’s customer Laura about this celebratory day. She said, “I’ve known RJ for at least 3 ½ years now, and we’re always excited when we see he’s picked up our Shipt order. When RJ told me that we were his 10,000th order, our entire family - including my kids - were excited and so honored! He wore a sparkly, green jacket for this shop, and even brought us a cake to celebrate.”
“I think the best thing about RJ is that he lives every day to the fullest and never takes anything for granted,” Laura added. “He chooses to spread joy to everyone he meets, and it has been a blessing to get to know him!”
You recently completed your 10,000th shop, congrats! What does it mean to you to hit that milestone? Any advice for other shoppers?
I’m excited and so thankful for what this job has given me. I so appreciate the lengths Shipt will go to show appreciation for shoppers. It makes shopping all that more rewarding!
As far as advice for other shoppers, communication is so important! It sounds simple, but if you communicate with your members, order the correct items and just show up with a smile, you’ll do great. I always find ways to connect with customers on a deeper level, and it makes such a difference.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I used to organize breakfast meetings and pedicure parties for other shoppers in my area to get to know them and give advice. While we can’t meet in person right now, I’m looking for ways that we all can gather safely. I want to continue to help guide and assist new shoppers so they can be just as confident in their orders as I am. Our shopper community is so strong, and I can’t wait until we can all meet up again in person!