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A J.C. Penney clerk for 41 years, Utahn witnessed retail changes

World changes over time but `golden rule’ does not, says veteran saleswoman.

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She said she tries to be direct with customers. "I can tell you what not to buy," the mother of three, grandmother of three and great-grandmother of eight said, with a slight smile.

Hansen has worked for 70 managers over those years, including some "who never should have been in the job," she said. "I’m not one to hold my tongue."

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She is deeply devoted to the store — "Penney’s has always been good to me," Hansen said — and she’s resisted several attempts to hire her away. Penney’s earned that loyalty in her book with good medical insurance, a generous pension plan, friendly work conditions and vacation time that allowed for a rich and active family life.

The avid snowmobiler and horse lover has retired twice, only to come back to work again, even after heart surgery almost a year ago. "Since my husband died," she said, "what else have I got?"

Hansen is sure J.C. Penney will be around 40 years from now. And she predicted her job will be there, too.

"I know it will," she said. "People will always need help."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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