FOR more than two decades, Ben Muller has known exactly what customers want at the checkout.
From strawberries to mince, Mr Muller has been been the helpful product-finder, shelf-filler and food-scanner at Coles stores across the county for 25 years and this month is celebrating the milestone in his role as manager at the Ipswich store.
He's revealed the odd combination of food Ipswich shoppers put in their trolleys most often.
He's come a long way since he started part-time after school at Coles in Port Macquarie, having worked in 15 stores across his time, but Mr Muller has stuck it out much longer than the national average of three years in similar roles. He said the secret to 25 years at Coles is working hard and having fun.
"Going to work is easy when you work with a fantastic bunch of people and are serving wonderful customers," Mr Muller said.
"The best part about working at Coles Ipswich is the friendly and generous nature of the thousands of customers we serve every week."
For the second-generation grocery fanatic, retailing is in his blood.
"I started stacking fruit and working the register at my father's green grocer when I was about 10 years old and started working for Coles as a part time checkout operator and trolley boy at 15," he said.
"I love the fast pace of supermarket retailing, especially during big events like Christmas and Easter.
"I've progressed through many different positions in stores during my career journey starting at checkout operator then onto grocery team member, dairy manager, dry goods manager, fresh foods manager, store support manager and now store manager."
Mr Muller said plenty of change had revolutionised the grocery experience for shoppers in the past 25 years.
"When I started at Coles there was a box of pricing guns out the back," he said.
"I've seen the early days of barcode scanning through to today's modern checkouts with self-serve registers and pay wave on your mobile phone."
What are the most popular groceries Ipswich shoppers reach for?
"At this time of the year strawberries are extremely popular and all year round our $8 BBQ chickens, four pack cheese and bacon rolls, three Star 1kg mince and free range eggs are some of the most popular items in the store," Mr Muller said.