Kmart opens Mainland doors for cashier champ

LIHU‘E — Jazzlyn Pasion-Saflor had never been to the Mainland until she started working for Kmart.

Pasion-Saflor will be on a plane today bound for Chicago, Ill., where she will be competing against 11 other winners of Kmart regional Ultimate Cashiers.

“This will be only the second time I’m going to the Mainland,” Saflor-Pasion said Saturday, returning from her lunch break to the electronics department. “I had never been to the Mainland until I started working at Kmart.”

Her first trip came about three weeks ago when the Waimea High School graduate made the trip to Ontario, Calif., where she competed in the Kmart Ultimate Cashier regional competition.

She earned the trip to California after successfully edging out seven other Kmart stores in the state.

In California, Pasion-Saflor successfully beat out 12 other states in the Ultimate Cashier competition to advance to the national competition, which starts Monday in Chicago at Kmart’s corporate headquarters.

“All I can say is I’m better than 11,000 other cashiers in the Kmart stores on the West Coast,” Pasion-Saflor, a candidate for Miss Kaua‘i Filipina earlier this year, said.

The daughter of Leondro Pasion Jr. and Lorene Saflor, Jazzlyn said the competition at the state level was broken down into three levels — Smart Product, Protection Plan and running a register where a manager would see how she operated the machine.

That competition stiffened at the regional competition, where Pasion-Saflor said she was interviewed on the Sears Game On program, the Pebble social media, and the Rewards program, the number of questions increasing from 40 at the state competition to 80 at the regional competition.

“I think Hawai‘i people have an advantage at the Mainland level because we always push the Rewards program,” Pasion-Saflor said. “On the Mainland, they don’t push the benefits. We want our customers to get as much benefits as they can by shopping at Kmart.”

She said during the competition, the judges want to see not only how proficient your are on the register, but how well you can sell and represent Kmart.

After winning the state competition, Pasion-Saflor said she got a $25 Kmart gift card, but Jarret Chytka, the Kmart manager, and the rest of the Kaua‘i staff treated her to a Disneyland trip during her regional competition.

Her winnings from the California regionals included a $200 Kmart gift card presented by Steve Debber, the regional manager, and a large trophy which is proudly displayed in the employees’ lunch room.

Facing the national competition, Pasion-Saflor is a little apprehensive about facing the panel of judges which may include the head of the Kmart stores as well as the national managers.

“I think there’s going to be more than a hundred questions,” she said. “I don’t really like panel judges, but I’m hoping I can do well.”

She said there is a grand prize which won’t be announced until Tuesday at noon when all the competitors are treated to a luncheon aboard a boat where the announcement will be made.

Gerard Buckholz is Pasion-Saflor’s lead at the Kmart electronics department, noting that he teaches all the department candidates as much as they want to learn.

Jim Wilson is the electronics department manager and Chytka is the Kaua‘i store manager.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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