A worker at a suburban K-Mart outlet has been caught off guard, unable to explain what the K stands for in the name of the popular variety discount store.

Megan Thwaite was staffing the checkout of aisle four, serving a 64 year old customer, when she faced the tricky question.

SPECIAL K? What does the K stand for?

“He was buying some pyjamas and a new kettle,” Thwaite told Street Corner.  “I had scanned both the items, and he was making small talk about how competitive the prices are.”

What happened next could not possibly have been predicted.

“He wanted to know what the K stood for,” an embarassed Thwaite says, “and I had no idea.”

K Mart staff undergo countless of hours of retail training, which includes cash handling, merchandising and Eftpos procedures.  Each employee is also handed an information booklet, which includes details of uniform requirements.  But enquiries by Street Corner have revealed that employees are never specifically taught what the K stands for in the iconic store.

“I was just curious,” pyjama and kettle shopper Bruce Ingram told Street Corner by email.  “I have shopped at K-Mart for years, and was just making small talk at the counter.  I didn’t mind that she didn’t know, I could always go home and look it up on the computer.”

A Wikipedia search conducted by Street Corner has revealed that the K refers to original founder of the K-Mart company, Sebastian S Kresge who began the shopping empire more than a century ago.

In a statement to Street Corner, the shopping chain apologised for the confusion.  “We will update our staff training booklet and also issue a memorandum to staff advising them of what the K stands for.

“To be honest,” the statement continues, “no one at the company was sure either.  We only found out when we did the same wikipedia search as you.”

The company would not comment on Street Corner’s suggestion that the chain be renamed “Sebastian S Kresge-Mart” to avoid any confusion in future.