Company has changed for the worse: Faux progressivism
Trader Joe's…what a great place--to shop. When I started at Trader Joe's five years ago it actually was a pretty good place to work. The starting pay was average for the time, $10/hr. The benefits were good and what a great 401K plan. The hours were relatively flexible and it was incredibly laid-back and fun. Most everyone worked hard and it was a fun environment. The customers could sense this genuine good feeling, and everyone was happy. You could basically choose what kind of work you wanted to do depending on your interest (demo, cashier, stocking, helms, etc.) The raises were great too. The company really stuck to their core values of integrity and "kaizen" (constant improvement and betterment for customers and workers.)
However, this is no longer the case. Trader Joe's now merely pays lip service to these values as it has become more corporate and profit-focused. In 2013, the company eliminated health insurance for anyone working under 30 hours per week, and the year prior to that cut back on raises. The 401K disbursements, while arguably better than many other companies, also shrank by one-third. In the meantime, profits and sales were on the rise and Trader Joe's began to open more stores than ever. There are no shareholders, so all this money goes to fund the members of one of the wealthiest families in Europe. Meanwhile, the average crew member does not earn a living wage and hours are not consistent. These changes led to many of my great co-workers leaving the c
After spending three years as a full-time employee at Trader Joe's of Amherst, NY, I can tell you this of my experience:
-- The work is generally very physically-oriented. Be prepared to participate in the unloading process of the morning truck or the night truck. Make sure your organizational skills and attention to detail are up to par, as you will help to sort through multiple pallets of various products. Be constantly aware of any temperature sensitive products as well! Good sneakers are a must-have! Always tell a manager if you are feeling sore or need to work in a less physically demanding part of the store. Generally, they will try to help to make sure you aren't taking an unnecessary physical beating.
--- Be upfront about your intentions right away if you wish to grow with the company. Do not just tread water and treat Trader Joe's like it is any ordinary job. The salaries can be incredibly lucrative and (most of) the employees will treat you like family. The opportunities to show your stewardship of certain areas of the store will come often; seize the opportunities and grow your relationships with your fellow crew, mates and captain.
--- Keep your MIND on the GRIND. During the open store hours, look for the many ways you can help your customers feel at home. Your attentiveness and care for your customers will serve you well, and you do not want to become a "grunt" who simply throws stuff on the shelf and coexists within the store. The grunt attitude will stand
I've had some of best mentors there, and feel I got above the standard training in leadership overall. However, being because there is so much trust in each store's management, the area I worked in which was growing faster than some the companies past growth & perhaps for a lack of quality people "in the pond", Trader Joe's got the best of what they could, having worked other retailers, but I did feel a strong sense of favoritism at management level in a few stores. Not all Store Managers operated this way & some were fair, or just didn't have the tools to do better. Being smart about pairing up training & coaching groups to make everyone shine is what I was taught at one point, but it seemed my supervisors missed that lesson. Other teams (store Mates specifically) were very pitted against each other. I felt penalized for not hanging out with my crew members after hours (even though it was frowned upon (kept hush hush), was very much so a part of how managers I countered on opposite shifts garnered a commraderie among the team.) Sometimes I felt proud to be "held to a higher standard among my peers" because of my tenure & other managers made it feel like I couldn't succeed. I truly felt undermined & used in my last store working there. Being compared to peers who had more help or staff or stronger employees is often a rebuttal I had to make with managers who didn't take time to make that observation before chastising me. It wasn't always like that, but having had better st
ProsGreat job if you aren't above any task, Be open to challenge yourself, Flexible hours mostly vary 4-5am or pm- midnight
ConsStores can be run differently, Not a good fit for someone who likes 1 thing all day like just cashier or just stocking, For that reason is a Pro for me but it's not for everyone
I've been with Trader Joe's for over a decade, and when I started, it was one of the best retail companies to work for. Amazing health benefits, bi-annual reviews where you could make up to a full dollar raise at each review depending on your performance, 10% 401k contribution, and some of the most amazing people you'll ever work with. One of the things that stood out about Trader Joe's was that for a retail corporation, they treated the "lowest" of employees like gold, and placed high value on the tenured staff.
Unfortunately over the years as the company has grown, it has begun to change into what I can only describe as "your typical corporate company". COVID has only furthered these changes. While Trader Joe's claimed they lost money in the pandemic by giving their employees "thank you pay", they were actually one of the few businesses that benefitted from the pandemic, having abnormally high sales days at the beginning, and then leveling out to normal, every-day sales, even with restricted customer access. After giving us the "thank you pay" for about a year, they announced that because of the extra money we had been receiving (just front-line workers who put their lives at risk every day for the sake of the company making ANY sort of money), and how much it supposedly lost them, that we wouldn't be getting a raise in the summer review, and the usual bonuses they offer to a small handful of exceptional employees would be withheld.
Instead, they continue to open brand
I've worked for many different companies in a number of different roles over the past 20 years, and I can say with assurance and confidence that Trader Joe's is a one of a kind place to work.
First of all, the people are amazing to work with. I haven't met one person that wasn't pleasant to me upon meeting me, and everyone seems to enjoy their work. As far as retail goes, I don't think you could find a better place to be employed. The managers (or captains, mates & merchants as we call them) are kind, patient and professional. They give you constant feedback to help you improve and grow; they correct you when you've made a mistake in a constructive way, and are sure to give you kudos when you've done something well. The other crew members are super helpful and great too. Most have worked for TJ's a decent amount of time and love what they do.
I think the reason that the crew members and I love what we do is because it doesn't get too boring or stale; we are constantly moving, and what we do changes from day to day, even hour to hour. I've worked in retail jobs where all you do is help people bag their groceries, or only ring them up, or just stock the shelves. At TJ's I'm doing more than one thing every shift. I could be stocking the shelves at one moment, then checking a customer out, helping another crew member with bagging, demo-ing samples of our food, or walking around the store interacting with customers the next. It is nice to be able to have variet
Prosgreat culture, awesome co-workers, no micro-managing, nice benefits, variety in job responsibilities, opportunity for advancement
Conscan be very physical work (lots of lifting, standing for many hours at a time, etc.)
1. There are really only 3 main categories. The head of the store, the managers, the crew. There are more hierarchies within, but not really functionally. Everybody does everything. This actually is applicable, and there is no true snobbery, power plays, or separation. The main difference is the shirt one wears and the dedication in time, which is a lot. When one goes full-time, one is expected to work above 40 hours. When one is part-time, one can work 0-40 and that's it.
2. People there actually do enjoy working there. It's a very relaxed environment in most stores.
3. Dependable company, very generous management most of the time. Very fair. Small business mentality. Head office is very, very small, so it goes both ways. Very friendly, very dependable, can be a little incompetent in business matters when it comes to connecting to things like the 401k company, disability, etc, but overall very excellent and trustworthy.
4. My typical day was set up by a shift calendar, just like everyone's. I wrote an order for almost the entire time I worked there, which was ten years. Something like: One hour cash registers, one hour doing write-offs and stocking section, one hour writing order, break, one hour cash register, one hour cash register, 2 hours demo (food demonstration), one hour closing. I'm very small and have an invisible progressive illness, so towards the end of my tenure, they allowed less taxing things like this. In the beginning, I would h
Love the culture, upper level management doesn't seem to live up to company values?
Shifts at the Orem Trader Joe's are typically 2pm-10pm or 6am-2pm which can make work life balance difficult, but I've been able to make it work as a student. You typically spend your days stocking the shelves and ringing people up on register. You're expected to work hard but also have fun which I love. I love pretty much every employee, including the store management team. Everyone has been very supportive of me and all my life decisions.
The hardest part(s) of the job have come with the onset of the pandemic starting with the emotional toll of enforcing mask and social distancing policies and ending with recent company decisions regarding wages. Employees began receiving hazard pay during the pandemic which was a huge blessing, but eventually it was taken away and one of our regularly scheduled bi-annual raises was skipped the reasoning being we'd received a high increase of wages for a sustained period of time. Now, however, new hires are being paid more than veteran employees who have been with the company 4-5 years and it's actually impossible to negotiate wages and there's no transparency regarding how or why these decisions are made so there's nothing veteran crew can do about it except leave scathing reviews of the company on the internet. As someone who has been with the company for 4 years, it's been insulting and frustrating to have to train new hires when they're making more money than you, especially at a company that has integrity as its number one value. I
Prosfunniest, quirkiest, friendliest coworkers, discounts on groceries, food tastings, medical benefits, not a desk job, encouraged to have fun at work
Constypical work schedule is not a 9-5, have to work weekends, company currently doesn't live up to its values (no integrity), work can be hard on the body
Working at TJs definitely has its benefits. The 401K, raises, and health insurance is awesome. Sometimes you get really lucky with mates and sometimes you dont. If youre stuck working night shifts and the mate who makes the schedules doesnt composite or rotate days for other crew members then youre life is literally trader joes 24/7. You go to work at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, then get off at 9 or 10 at night and stay up late cus you worked so late, go to bed, wake up later in the morning, go to work and repeat. Again, this isnt every location.
An average day working is register, then working up some product the next hour, then register again, and repeat. If youre really unlucky, youĺl get register for two (maybe even three if you have some call outs) straight. If youre a real social butterfly and can put up with the stuck up soccer moms then sure reg is great! If youre like me then working product is your ideal place to do and reg kind of makes you want to scream. And im not just being dramatic. lol
One thing that i think was an awful idea the company came up with is no belts at the register and you having to bend down and grab everything out the basket, scan it and bag the item. The amount of pain your shoulders and back is in by the end of the day will put you in a bad mood (on top of the heavy lifting you will do on your product hour)
Trader joes as a company is GREAT company. you get .60 cent raises twice a year based on your performance, a 401k that the company pu
This was a really great company to work for until it wasn’t. I worked for the company for 5 years. I met a lot of great people along the way (this was the only thing that kept me at the job for so long), but ended up having to leave for my mental health. At the end of the day it’s a corporation. All they care about is profit no matter how many times they deny it, so if you start working there with the expectation that they care more about their employees than they do their public image or their bottom line like I did then you will be very disappointed. It is a very fake, draining, and frankly toxic work environment. It is no different than any other corporation except for the fact that they insist on a daily basis to their employees that they are not like other corporations: “We care, employees first, no bureaucracy! It is a privilege to work here! You are so lucky to get to work here every day!” Concerns and suggestions were always brushed aside, even when brought up with our store’s regional manager. The gaslighting was unreal. Corporate has been taking benefits/wages away from its long term employees at a rapid rate since covid hit. I won’t even bother going into the lack of urgency toward safety protocol for its staff that the company demonstrated during the pandemic. Everyone at my store felt terrified, stressed, and helpless on a daily basis going into work and close to nothing was ever done to help or reassure them. In a nutshell: they talk a big game with wage
Amazing company to work for. They don't just say they care for their employees, they consistently show it. They are quick, efficient, and progressive with their policies. There's no question to why they are a Top 100 company to work for. Their benefits and pay are amazing, especially for a retail/grocery store. Their products are basically white-washed versions of other culture's food, but the quality isn't all that bad and its probably closer to authentic than any other grocery store. Especially for the price.
Unlike most businesses, you aren't in a specialized position all day. Everyone's job responsibilities rotate every hour and everyone does time on the register. It makes work a lot less existential and keeps you fresh and away from turn-over. You are also given freedom to help your customers. You're encouraged to treat them like family and open up items for them or give them flowers for free. It creates an amazing relationship between you and your customers and makes the job that much easier.
Management is there for you. They are there to support you and set you up for success. They are flexible and understanding and are more like your coworkers than they are your boss. Sometimes they are a bit too lax though, and this brings me to the only flaw about Trader Joe's:
Your experience there will depend on your store. The company is so progressive that sometimes its easy for unproductive coworkers to take advantage of it. The lax management will always avoid holding peopl
Prosamazing company and work environment
Consno accountability for unproductive coworkers
Questions And Answers about Trader Joe's
What is the best part of working at Trader Joe's?
Asked Dec 9, 2019
The people, crew and customers alike!
Answered May 27, 2022
You get a long enough break
Answered May 20, 2022
If you were in charge, what would you do to make Trader Joe's a better place to work?
Asked Jan 25, 2018
Answered Jan 8, 2021
Change the pass or fail raise. Give your better crew members a chance to make more money. Otherwise your rewarding everybody the same. Let’s be real. It shouldn’t be like that.
Answered Nov 29, 2020
How are the working hours at Trader Joe's?
Asked Aug 8, 2016
The worst. Shifts start as early as 4AM or if you are participating in a remerchandising of the store you will have to do it on an overnight shift. If you want to advance within the company this is a requirement. Also though you may be scheduled only until 12am you are expected to stay if the work isn't complete. This happens often as crew often calls in sick and stored are understaffed to save money to begin with. It's not as fun as they make it out to be.
Answered Jan 22, 2020
Long and hard
Answered Jan 21, 2020
Do you have to pass a drug test to become a Mate at Trader Joe's?
Asked Jun 9, 2017
Haha of course not. That’s why we can manage to keep so many “weird” and awesome crew members. They want people to be themselves.
Answered Mar 23, 2020
No, otherwise more than half the crew they have wouldn't have passed.
Answered Jan 22, 2020
What tips or advice would you give to someone interviewing at Trader Joe's?
Asked Apr 28, 2017
you have to be willing to work, always under the general supervision of the "mate". There was no reason to go out side the established procedures. What is important is to do the task with the best of your ability, to work consistantly, to be at work when you are scheduled, certainly not 10 minutes late