Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


Garrett’s Goodbye – Enjoy the moments that don’t suck…

< Blog home

Garrett’s Goodbye – Enjoy the moments that don’t suck…

After 20 years of service, these were the parting words of one loyal but lazy store worker. 

Garrett McNeill was an employee and announcer at Cloud 9, the megastore where the brilliant Netflix series Superstore is set. He’s charming, honest, sarcastic and slack, claiming that ‘he’ll only ever do the bare minimum to not get fired’. Yet his words of wisdom offer plenty of food for thought when it comes to engaging employees…  

Garrett is one of the main misfits in the team – a unique family of employees, from the annoyingly enthusiastic newbies to the long-in-the-tooth veterans, and the clueless Christmas hires to the dedicated but dog-tired managers. 


Spoiler alert!

Sadly, in series 6, the store succumbs to the pressures of online shopping and converts to a fulfilment centre. Most of the employees lose their jobs, including Garrett. 


Garrett gets emotional

Despite Garrett’s obvious apathy towards the job, there’s something special beyond the paycheck that’s kept him clocking in for over two decades. On closing day, as he makes his final announcement over the tannoy, Garrett’s goodbye turns out to be a surprisingly open and emotional one:

“It’s a job. If jobs were fun, they wouldn’t pay us to do it. But occasionally there were moments that weren’t so bad. Most jobs suck 99% of the time, so you’ve really gotta enjoy those moments that don’t. Those bits of fun you have during downtime, or an interesting conversation with a co-worker, or something happens that you can laugh about later, or you do something you’re actually proud of. If you’re lucky, maybe you even get to be friends with a co-worker or two along the way. I’m not sure what else you could want in a job.”

At the end of the day, Garrett’s candid comments make it easy to unpack what matters. While he may only be a fictional character, his words represent the sentiments of many real workforces, as well as the cultures that exist across organisations and industries.


Building a positive emotional culture 

In her research, specialist in employee communication Dr Rita Men determined two types of culture with related styles of communication – cognitive (transactional, factual, rational) and emotional (relational, engaging, experiential). While cognitive based communication is necessary, workplaces focused on building an emotional culture encourage joy, happiness and compassion between colleagues. And judging from his comments, these emotional connections are the reason behind Garrett’s devotion to his job.

White cloud tipped with blue with the text 'workplaces focused on building an emotional culture encourage joy, happiness and compassion between colleagues'

All the feels

Garrett’s deadpan attitude suggests he’s a cold character, but the moments he reflects on reveal that what mattered was much more emotional. Let’s take a closer look at some of his poignant remarks to explore how we, as communicators and connectors can support an emotional culture and encourage more of these meaningful moments… 


Those bits of fun you have during downtime…

The Joy of Work by Bruce Daisley talks about just that – maximising joy and loving your job. Daisley explains that laughter can stimulate creativity, help with challenges and balance out intense emotions. By building a culture where laughter is encouraged, and employees have a cheerful perspective, teams can get closer and happier.


Consider this: Now, we can’t all have fun by hijacking the forklift for a joyride or holding supermarket trolley races in the carpark, but we can recognise those times when we need to step back and allow space for colleagues to simply enjoy one another’s company. Know when to cut the comms and leave spaces free for fun, enjoyment and connection. White cloud tipped with blue with the text 'Know when to cut the comms and leave spaces free for fun, enjoyment and connection.'


An interesting conversation with a co-worker

From music preferences to dating disasters, family troubles to fighting stereotypes, and childhood memories to bird-based anecdotes, the Cloud 9 crew are always sharing a story, helping them build connections and relationships with one other.


Consider this: No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work, by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy encourages us to, ‘share stories about who we are, not what we do, and invite others to do the same.’ Whether in-person, during meetings or through internal social channels, enabling more conversations about what matters to people can improve emotional culture and create a greater sense of belonging.


Doing something you’re actually proud of

According to Sue Dewhurst and Liam Fitzpatrick in the book, Successful Employee Communications, ‘Purpose matters. It matters for people, because it means that when they come to work each day, they come knowing that they make a difference, that their work means something, and that they are contributing to something bigger than just making money for shareholders.’


Consider this: Garrett spent 20 years making announcements to co-workers and customers and he was proud of it. Sharing news, motivating others and making messages fun was part of his purpose. Help employees find meaning at work, show them the impact they have on people’s lives by sharing stories and celebrate successes and progress. Help them to feel proud of the contributions they make. White cloud tipped with blue with the text ' Help employees find meaning at work, show them the impact they have on people’s lives by sharing stories and celebrate successes and progress'


Making work not suck

Despite all the tiring shifts, troublesome customers and tedious training sessions, Garrett and the Cloud 9 team still managed to create many moments of joy, love and laughter that we viewers were only too happy to experience. 


While Cloud 9 may now be closed, Garrett’s touchingly meaningful memories can inspire us to influence many joyful moments to come! 


By Caroline Roodhouse

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
Alive logo