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
Crew Member | Maryland | Nov 18, 2015
A Truly Different & Refreshing Work Atmosphere
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.)
Crew Member | Monrovia, CA | Apr 15, 2019
Take care of their own.
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
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
Crew Member | Sacramento, CA | Sep 25, 2020
Great Company, But the Store Matters
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
Crew Member | Palmdale, CA | Jan 10, 2014
Trader Joe's is a store with a great atmosphere that allows employees to have fun while they work.
Everyday at work, we usually do the same things. Some days are busy and some are a little quieter, but we always manage to have some fun and get our work done. Working at this store really has tought me a lot about people in the world and how businesses work. I've seen how high in demand our products are and how important it is to serve the people. I have learned that hard work is very necessary and can feel very rewarding when you accomplish it. The managers at our store love to see us working hard and using our skills.
The management is very relaxed and helps us to see things in our job in a more positive light but also encourages us to work hard and perform our jobs as best as we can. I have learned that you will never like every single one of your co-workers, but it is always important to work as a team with everybody and not to bring any drama into your work place. Fortunately, I have been given some amazing co-workers who have really make this job a life changing experience. They make tough days at work not seem so bad.
The hardest part of my job is that sometimes, no matter how friendly or helpful you are, there will always be some people that you can never satisfy. The thing to always remember about this is that no matter what, as long as you put all you're effort in and do everything in your power, you should not be discouraged by someone being unappreciative. The most enjoyable part of my job is all the things I've learned and all the great people I'm surrounded
ProsWe are rewarded for our hard work with things like free meals and snacks, and we are encouraged to have fun.
ConsSometimes when there is extra work to do you become exhausted, since most of the work is physical labor.
Mate | Philadelphia, PA | Sep 4, 2012
Great job for a crew member, bad for a manager
I've worked at this company both as a "part-timer" aka a crew member that works 40 hours a week or less, and as a "full-timer" or a management type roll. The company treats its crew members very well. It's a fun place to work most of the time, and it is incredibly physically demanding. Especially if you work a lot of shifts before or after customers are in the store. It's hard work and a lot of people go home sore and a lot of injuries happen, but it's a really great bonding experience and you make a lot of friends. It's a great work culture and you get to eat a lot. And the benefits are good for a grocery store. Sometimes it's a shared suffering type of environment, but I had a lot of fun as part of the crew.
When I became a manager automatically you get treated a lot worse. You're subject to the whims of whatever captain is in your store at that moment (captains and managers are constantly moving around the region) or whatever off handed comment your regional makes about how the store is merchandized. Your constantly in charge of re-merchandizing the store several times a month sometimes and cutting payroll and hours whenever possible, which makes running shifts difficult. Work/life balance is non-existent, and being able to take a day off or a vacation is incredibly difficult. You can do really well if you have a captain that likes you, but captains and managers are always getting transferred, and very easily you can land a captain that you don't work well with, who can ve
Prosgood benefits, great food, fun place to work most of the time
Consno work/life balance, difficult to get time off, constantly changing people and stores
Crew Member | Naples, FL | May 10, 2016
Lack of professionalism
Typical day at work was enjoyable overall because the product, prices are great! I enjoy helping and sharing genuine friendship health beauty tips and food recipes and culture!
I learned to cut boxes with knife and to lift more than 80Lbs boxes.
Management was not on time at all, The lack of communication between each other and the peer pressure was to obvious.
Co-workers were sometimes bitter, but most of the time was because of the lack of job security/advancement
Hardest part of the job was to keep up with inconsistence management and constant change of ideas between supervisors.
Hardest part was not having the right products that they were posted on the flyer.
Hardest thing was to see some co-workers eating food without paying because they couldn't afford it or seeing them chewing the spoil food in the garbage.
The most enjoyable part of the job was being able to communicate with my neighborhood and share a big smile with food healthy culture and old world traditions! The beauty was being able to engage them trough the great products and wow them with a great smile and sincere hello! Also I make new friendships with customers co-workers.
I learn to eat more variety of food and build up couple muscles!
My co-workers were sweet and some of them were very caring!
And learn to multitask and become accurate while lifting boxes and using a knife box cutter.
Receiving great complements from customers after providing a great service was awesome!
ProsGreat Food And Prices
ConsLack of consistence in the managment department, poor quality while managing food. lack of professionalism
Crew Member | San Francisco, CA | Jul 31, 2018
Best customer service job I have ever worked
-Each shift is 8 hours and each hour is blocked out so you'll be doing something different each hour
-A normal open or close shift you'd have 2-3 hours on register at and a normal mid day shift you'd have 4 hours on register (never back to back though)
-You'll be assigned a section to keep stocked each non register hour or asked to clean, chat with customers, give out free samples, etc.
-At busier stores you have to learn time management and gain a great memory. After about a year you'll be able to say what shelf each item is on and where.
-The Mates (Assistant Managers) are usually very chill. Like all managers each has a specific way of doing things. There doesn't seem to be a set training to say how they need to run the store so each close and open varies in what you'd be doing.
-Customers can be terrible but thats retail. People can return anything to the store with or without the item and with or without the receipt so for the most part the rule of thumb here is the customers literally always right so they stay on good behavior. The company is known for great customer service so if you can't handle getting yelled at when you've done nothing wrong don't try and work here.
-They don't say it but they really do hire based on personality. The people you work with are a reflection of who your managers would ant to work with. Usually it just means a lot of fun people.
Trader | San Francisco, CA | Oct 26, 2018
A great to start and possibly stay
I've worked here for six years and overall this has been a great company with wonderful co-workers and managers. I started as night crew, and let me tell you, night crew is for living loud. It's a fun time until 12-12:30am of working hard and TJ's managers blasting music and pumping you up till the end of your late shift. Nights are hard but great to get aquatinted with the company. You'll come in and start on register for a couple hours, then you'll transition into closing mode, clearing out the back and facing the front, setting it up for morning crew. Mornings are much calmer but you're still going to work hard. You start early, shifts are 4am, 5am, 6am and so on. Your job is to take in the pallet deliveries and set the store up for opening. Some stores are nice about morning tasting snacks, to keep everyone going. Some stores also have a tasting program where someone puts a whole table of new food to try together once a week. The schedules are incredibly flexible. Don't have the absence reserve to get paid while you're out? can still afford it? The manager will have no problem letting you go as long as you ask for it off in advance. The managers are great, they treat you like people and have your best interest at heart. The hardest part of the job is probably being on register. It's hard on the body and mind as people can be difficult. The best part is the crew and the lasting friendships you'll make while there. The corporate level isn't so great, but the indiv
ProsFlexible schedules, free food, great raises every 6 months, nice people, understanding managers, advancement if you want it.
ConsStart pay not great, physically demanding, possible super early or super late hours.
Questions And Answers about Trader Joe's
If you were in charge, what would you do to make Trader Joe's a better place to work?
Asked Jan 25, 2018
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
Be more accommodating to those with physical disabilities.
Answered Nov 22, 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
At my store opening shifts are 6-2pm, mid shifts are usually 11-5pm (unless you’re in high school in which case it’s usually 3 or 4 to 8pm), and closing is 2-10pm or 3-11pm
Answered Aug 31, 2019
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
Hard works pays off
Answered Feb 26, 2020
Be engaging and entertaining. They hire people based on their personality.
Answered Dec 20, 2019
How did you get your first interview at Trader Joe's?
Asked Jul 21, 2016
1st Interview was held outdoors, on a bench, in front of Starbucks. The new TJ's is being built.
The captain said hello and observed, his two "mates" conducted the initial interview. Why do you want to work here? How do you deal with stress? What qualities would make you a good fit for Trader Joe's? Lasted an hour, bees crawling all over the table and us all. Do you have any questions for us? Standard stuff.
Answered Sep 17, 2019
I applied online and got an email back inviting me for a first interview about 4 days after I applied. It all went well and I was invited to a second interview where I was told they would let me know in a week if it was a yes or no but they called me back the next morning and gave me the job.