Trader Joe's

  www.traderjoes.com
  www.traderjoes.com

Trader Joe's Reviews

Updated November 20, 2014
Updated November 20, 2014
682 Reviews
3.4
682 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Trader Joe's Chairman and CEO Dan Bane
Dan Bane
431 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits and a great place to work for people who don't mind working hard (in 52 reviews)

  • The benefits are great considering it's non-union part time work (in 47 reviews)


Cons
  • Managers sit in the office all day while crew members run the store (in 64 reviews)

  • It can be physically demanding so entry jobs are best for the young and fit (in 40 reviews)

More Highlights

54 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Great people; ZERO incentive and opportunities; had to take another job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Crew Member in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Crew Member in Denver, CO

    I worked at Trader Joe's part-time

    Pros

    Employees were good people; no expectations (if you consider that a good thing; I don't). Smile, be cheery and a little weird and your set!

    Cons

    Trader Joe's is great at hiring just the right person that has no incentive to make more money or move up. As long as they smile and are cheery and have no drive, you are the perfect employee. There is absolutely zero opportunity. You can work your butt off and you will get paid (sometimes less) the same as people that take 10 breaks, go out in back to smoke constantly, chat with their co-workers all day and become buddies with the mates. Again, the people were great and nice, but they just don't have a work ethic and Trader Joe's doesn't care that they don't. This did not apply to everyone, but about 80% of the people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create some sort of opportunity to make more money for the people that sincerely deserve it. Add a few layers besides just Crew and Mates. You constantly lose employees due to the fact that they want to work hard, but there are no opportunities. It seems like Mates have been told to not create any type of confrontational situation by actually having to be tough on slackers sometimes. I wanted to stay, but it is tough to come to work and know you get paid less than people that put in half the effort that you do. You have totally eliminated any type of incentive to work hard. It was impossible for me to work in that structure.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Apply at your own risk. Advertised benefits and pay to lure employees no longer exist.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Section Leader in Indianapolis, IN
    Current Employee - Section Leader in Indianapolis, IN

    I have been working at Trader Joe's full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    10% Discount on already reasonable priced products.

    Cons

    Due to Obama Care the company is trying to boot as many people off the insurance as possible. This means that they overhire to get the job done while cutting hours to the minimum. Employees who've relied on the company for years to pay their bills are now scrambling to make ends meet. And you can't get a second part-time job because then you're dropped from scheduling. Our store has had almost 30% turnover in the past two years. Another pretty crappy thing they do is advertise the great benefits, hours, and working conditions that they had 3-8 years ago, but no longer exist. New hires are lured in with promised of promotion and great pay. Many have left better paying jobs to work for us, only to find out they were flat out lied to because part of the "New Paradigm" is no in-house promotions. If employees get organized they'd have a great shot at a lawsuit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The joke is on you guys. You're making $50K to $120K a year. Wake up. . .Once the company is sold or goes public, which it's pretty transparent that that's the end game here, you're all going to be losing you great pay and upper-class houses. But why didn't you see this coming? Oh, because corporate only promotes the most dim-witted and greedy people to management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    Absolutely one of the worst experiences of my professional career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Forklift Operation in Stockton, CA
    Current Employee - Forklift Operation in Stockton, CA

    I have been working at Trader Joe's full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Full Time hours and discout on food items.

    Cons

    I have to say I used to be a fan of Trader Joe's but after working in there distribution center in Stockton California for just a few weeks I came to realize how bad of a company they are.
    First off we have old outdated products being sent out to various stores from our
    "Order pickers" who take the online orders and send out.
    Salad's in the wharehouse are Never Rotated by the morning Shift crews and to save the company money the "Leads" Will actually send out expired or "last Day" products to various stores in hopes of saving costs.
    Trash is everywhere and Sometimes the food spilled in the back is not cleaned up for Days until the smell gets so bad or mold starts to grow. Food and produce is spilled over and over with no one taking ownership of what happens, accidents are prevalent almost on a Daly basis, workers are Not properly Trained on how to use equipment. When I first got hired there the agency stated there is No onsite training or management who can train new employees who come in. Basically if you say you "know" How to use the equipment, your hired with No background check, No references or No Equipment license. Rodents (mice & rats) are Everywhere and tearing into dry good, produce and boxes in the building. Some of the Rat traps are right above the food boxes with dead corpses stuck in those traps sometimes for days on end until they begin to smell.
    There is No leadership and employees basically do as they please, most take time in the break rooms and nothing gets done on the floor, pallets are dropped, damaged and Not safely moved with no shrink wrap. I have hundreds of photos I'm sending into the Business headquarters to try and get a response back on why the distribution center is ran this way, 90% of employees don't speak any English so when you need something done, there is a severe lack of communication. If you see this review, ask the management in the stores how carefully there products are sent to there stores for consumer use.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please Do away with the Delpoy & full steam staffing agency's! !!!! Its the main reason so many bad things are happening there. They do Not offer onsite training for new hires!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    My experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Trader Joe's part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    At the beginning it was great
    can be a fun place to work
    You will only advance in the company if you like to wear knee pads

    Cons

    I had worked for TJ for 2 years. I had only 1 bad review and 3 good one's, They dropped my insurance shortly before the beginning of this year(sure they gave me a $500 dollar check for healthcare but I never got any help finding insurance ( lowest I found was $150/month), they directed me to go to websites, management told me to call the same people they said just look at the healthcare site blah blah.Was not accepted to medi-cal because I earned and worked to much at Trader Joes.
      I injured my knee off the job a little over 7 months ago, I got all the doctors notes for excused time off.
    I made a post of Facebook in a medicated state that was dumb, but I never mentioned nor was work info on FB.
    Basically saying the company lacked its number value called "integrity"
    My boss told me about it and said he took personal offense and basically told me im gonna get fired.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to fire all of the old timers that earn $15-$20 and complain about not getting paid enough sob sob sob
    The $10-$14 earners will glad take their hours and benefits and not complain.
    I just wish you guys helped stay health and not be forced to go to the ER and pay out of pocket.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great job for a college student. Definitely not a long term stop.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Crew Member
    Former Employee - Crew Member

    I worked at Trader Joe's full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The food is really good and the people who shop there are typically very fun. The benefits were decent-never stellar. And, they are becoming ever more frugal as the company culture is changing. The happy go lucky image that they work hard to portray is not really what's going on, despite the fun Hawaiian shirts.

    Cons

    Lot's of nepotism in the workplace guarantees many privileges to a few individuals. Not a lot of room for advancement. The money is ok and they would argue that it is better than other retail stores, but it is still not enough for the labor contributed. If you want to take this job- negotiate your pay well in the beginning. They are happy to pay you ten dollars per hour for the same workload that a peer could easily earn eighteen for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote qualified candidates from within the stores-instead of bringing in inexperienced manager trainees. Also, the management should be subjected to peer reviews by the crew members. They are able to provide feedback on the performance of others to help with employee development. They should also be subjected to a review by their subordinates and not just their management peers. A Crew member review of the "Full-Timers" would assist regional leadership with insight on who the strongest leaders are within the company, so that they could strategize their growth with precision.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 12 people found this helpful  

    It's a sad skeleton of what was an exemplary retailer in how to treat and retain customers and employees.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Crew Member
    Current Employee - Crew Member

    I have been working at Trader Joe's part-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    As a company, Trader Joe's has not yet found a way to control the thoughts of individual employees. So, you can still think what you want, but your opinion is not welcome (because Kaizen is ancient history.)

    Cons

    As a company, the Trader Joe's I was hired by no longer exists. The culture we once embraced is gone. The employees have been smacked in the face with the new reality but the customers are just beginning to figure it out.

    Benefits and pay raises have been slashed, any perk available on the store level has been cut, no incentives for employees or even a thank you at the end of the day. There is a universal feeling that management is gunning for highly paid and/or older workers- hiring lots of youth and making life difficult for higher paid established workers. Store management is in complete turmoil, running scared of the corporate drones. The product quality has declined to the point where there is not any consistency from one shipment to the next. Trader Joe's is always looking for a cheaper way to produce a product and most of the time it comes in reductions in size or quality. The labeling errors are at best hideous, and at the worst, legally actionable. We say we don't add MSG to our products but that's only because we can call it 50 other things to try and fool you. There is no safety equipment in the stores so the injuries to employees from repetitive stress injuries are rampant. Scheduling is spotty, full schedule one week, no days the next. Take a sick day? Uh Oh, the next week you find few hours. This reeks of punitive scheduling practices.

    The CAPTAIN of the store is the one in charge and to whom the middle managers answer. This is the individual who has a finger on the pulse of the store and controls the total environment- for the crew and the customers. A great Captain will run a tight ship with high standards, clear expectations, and a happy and productive crew. These captains are few and far between because of the pivotal shift in the direction of the company. Overall, the morale of the employees company wide has taken a nose dive from the days where we had great benefits at 20 hours a week, decent raises based on performance, and wonderful retirement. That's all history now, and it shows on the face of every employee who experienced the decline. Customers are seeing the new culture now, employees are not as happy as they used to be.

    Management is unprofessional. Managers are inexperienced and misdirected as to what management really means. It doesn't mean being the company cop, or gossip facilitator, or the one who hangs out in the back doing nothing for hours. It means LEADING A CREW TO ACCOMPLISH A GOAL by mentoring rather than standing around talking with their fellow do nothings. Crew working with management on this level is frustrating and unproductive. It is a wide spread problem.

    Favoritism and gossip being spread by management is rampant. Not a favorite- better watch your back and every word that comes out of your mouth, as your semi annual review will be written by someone you don't work with and will be based on gossip. Have a difficult customer? Be prepared to defend every word you said to them, because if a customer is not happy there is a crew member to blame and if you are the daily target, it might be you.

    Top management in the store fails to lead, perpetuates negative morale with out of place and sometimes public employee reprimands, and has trumped up issues to collect write ups to force employees out the door over minor issues that do not lead to firing of all employees, just the ones on the hit list (older and/or highly compensated). It does appear to be a company wide trend to force out the high wage and/or older employees...

    .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a moment to reflect on why injuries are up and morale is down. Look at the engagement surveys and see that the the loss of culture leads to injuries, bad morale, and reservation in complete engagement with customers. Figure out why crew thinks that management doesn't have their backs- because they don't- the new culture is each wo/man for themselves. There is no personal growth when the company is looking to have stores full of "faceless" employees that can be plugged into a schedule without regard to the requirements to do a job. Yes, I am talking about your new scheduling program that squeezes hours so employees cannot have a life or benefits.

    Trader Joes as a company is cultivating bad behavior in the customer base. Customers abuse employees and they are expected to take it. Management does not back up an employee who is a victim of an abusive customer. There is no joy in a job that makes you feel like you are nothing and can be abused by both customers and management. Employees have learned that is is not safe to stand up for the truth without having someone make a huge ordeal out of it or have it written into your review as a negative event. Even if you are right, you are wrong.

    It is depressing and uncomfortable to come to work and have a mate grill you about your personal life only to have it repeated to others. Let store management know that it is not ok to have managers who do not work with an employee, write their review and fill it up with gossip learned from others.

    Consider increasing the AR given to employees so that each can actually take a vacation yearly and be sick or not scramble for hours on a holiday week, and still keep benefits.

    With the changes that have come down in the last year and a half, employees should be looking a how they may benefit from UNION protection.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 8 people found this helpful  

    Company has been on the decline for the past decade.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Captain in Crystal Cove, CA
    Current Employee - Captain in Crystal Cove, CA

    I have been working at Trader Joe's full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    It's fast paced and very active. Products are well priced and the quality is ok...except for the perishables. There are a lot of quality people working in the stores but most everyone wishes the company would reverse it's current course.

    Cons

    Company has integrity issues. There is a big disconnect between management and the crew. You never know what is going to happen next and there is a general fear factor that is supposed to be motivating. The CEO leads from an elite and entitled perspective, blanketing his "Chairmen Circle" with I am god mentality that has everyone running scared. The basic format has been greatly changed and the result has crew members scratching their heads in frustration. What was once a great company to work for is now a place that barely resembles a fun and upbeat environment, it's turning into just another grocery store where nobody really wants to work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the surveys and stop using them to identify the "disengaged". Take the responsibility of making it a great company to work for as a priority and stop taking things away because "It's way above industry norms"...That's what made it a great company. Stop blaming the crew for not getting it...take a look in the mirror and start participating in making decisions that benefit the crew .

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 9 people found this helpful  

    Used to be 5 star

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager) in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager) in San Mateo, CA

    I have been working at Trader Joe's full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    We are family. Working with the public.

    Cons

    Work Life balance. Accumulative stress/injury. Despite continued comp sales increases, gaining national market share, nationalizing supply chain, consolidating warehouse infrastructure, and saving a crap ton of money moving a good portion of the crew to the ObamaCare, the company is scaling back retirement contributions by over a third, dramatically reducing the bonus incentive, re-restructuring management after a dramatic fail at their first attempt, and implementing a extremely divisive, secretive, and vague upstream survey of supervisors.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    In 20 years I have not seen lower Morale, even at the receiving end of a TD tongue lashing. Please see the survey for what it is. Its a perfect opportunity for disengaged crew members to get back at supervisors. Honestly, there are some bad supervisors who need to receive real feedback. What is happening, however, is that a very small but vocal contingency of employees are smart bombing good supervisors because they know the impact of their comments, especially if coordinated, can detrimentally impact a career arc in the long run and their bonus short term. I have worked in quite a few TJ locations and can confidently state that this is not unique to one store. It is a fact that the crew knows that this is a tool to get rid of or hurt someone. A supervisor has no recourse other than just bear out without given the chance to challenge the validity of the claims. All comments seem purposefully vague and conclusions are drawn without giving any specifics even when asked for. Prompt Often and Specific, POS feedback, is something we are all trained to utilize to get the best out of our crew. Why does this not apply to supervisors? When HR coaches us on writing incident reports or tough reviews they reiterate time and time again to state only irrefutable fact and to exclude opinion. Why is it acceptable in this system of reviewing supervisors? This bugs the heck out of me and I am certainly not alone. It wasn't always like this. A few years ago, some cheeky analogy from the top emerged about getting bad apples off the bus became a popular idea and eventually became a mandate for the Captains. In order to show results the Captains did their best, and sometime worst, in satisfying this goal. It revolved around numbers and not understanding our crew. The Moral tapestry that created our legendary dynamic tension was now without the glue of genuine compassion. It was a lazy, indiscriminate methodology and a huge mistake. This was an order that we should all have disobeyed. . Those who actually supported their captains when asked to "clear the bus" are now being thrown under the bus. Its quite brilliant, actually, if this was the plan all along. Something something Machiavelli... I know there is no going back to the way things were. I just dont want to see the company I love working for turned into a sandbox for bad business theory at this crucial point in time in our growth. Thank you for listening.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    crew

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Crew Member in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Crew Member in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Trader Joe's part-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    "Seemingly" fun work environment. It's retail ok? except with the "be happy or else" mentality. I've never been treated so poorly in my life. No matter what store I work at within the company. False enthusiasm. Certain things I can not speak of in fear it will be connected back to me, but its really really bad there. No on is happy but if you can pretend you will go far. If not you can "walk the plank" as they say. Harassment is rewarded, there are no unions, device tactics that make us compete for bread crumbs while stepping on your fellows to get some more crumbs. Intimidation and neurotic fear is the underlining current in the air among workers. But as long as we are forced to smile you think we are happy.

    Cons

    rediculously high job "performance" standards. Performance as in acting happy and fake. you get to cower to the whims of your "mates" as the employ favoritism and bully mentality. If you are lucky you might not get verbally abused on any given day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    you do not care. you only know how to pretend,

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Ugh...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Part Time Crew Member
    Former Employee - Part Time Crew Member

    I worked at Trader Joe's part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The Crew was fun to be around.

    Cons

    Not organized at all
    Left job with notice over a month ago and they are withholding my final paycheck. Totally unprofessional for a company that is supposed to be so fun and awesome.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be better communication when inquiries to HR are made. Orientation was totally un-organized and boring. 10 managers there with 100 employees, one manager running the training and everyone else stood around including the Captain who should have been the most vocal. With 10 Managers, each one should have taken a group of 10 new hires and did like 30-40min training and then after the time expires, rotate to a different manager and learn something else instead of one manager running the show and 100 employees standing around. Total waste of time. Had to leave the job for medical reasons and they are still withholding my final paycheck. No communication back from HR. Very frustrating.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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