Trader Joe's

  www.traderjoes.com
  www.traderjoes.com

Trader Joe's Reviews

Updated December 21, 2014
Updated December 21, 2014
713 Reviews
3.4
713 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits and a great place to work for people who don't mind working hard (in 56 reviews)

  • The benefits are great considering it's non-union part time work (in 48 reviews)


Cons
  • Managers sit in the office all day while crew members run the store (in 65 reviews)

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

More Highlights

59 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 7 people found this helpful  

    Don't work here

    • 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 an year)

    Pros

    Most of your co-workers at the crew level are pretty good and fun people. It is incredibly easy to fulfill the responsibilities of your job.

    Cons

    Working at Trader Joes was awful. I've worked in a variety of places including some pretty awful manual labor jobs and Trader Joes is the worst job I've had yet.

    The scheduling is awful. They more or less demand open availability. I had full availability. I would often be scheduled for 8-9 days in a row because they have you work 4 at the end of one week and 4 at the start of the next. You will close (get out at 12 am to 1 am) and then be due back at 9 or 10. The day after that you're on for 4pm to 12 am again. There is no consistency and your sleep schedule will be destroyed. This is because a computer program does most of the scheduling and management is too lazy to look at what they are actually doing. Raising concerns about your schedule to management will not change anything. You are also scheduled for right around 36 hours and obtaining overtime is very difficult.

    Your back will hurt. I'm not a stranger to manual labor and don't complain about it usually. The way the registers are set up is terrible for your body. To be fast which is demanded you must twist and lift. That combination is one of the worst known for your back. Look up the NIOSH recommendations for grocery workers. The Trader Joes checkout set-up disregards almost every one of them.

    They retain crew members by telling them they are in line for a promotion. People who would have left stay in the hopes of becoming a mate only to watch the company bring in new management from outside their store.

    If promoted to the mate level you can expect about a $1 raise. You make more money by working over 50 hours a week. Essentially you are rewarded by being allowed to accrue overtime. The scheduling for the mates is just as bad as the crew which results in sleep deprived and stressed out management.

    In years past the 6 month review/raise was around a dollar and now it is much closer to 50 cents while the company is making more money than ever.

    The captain (store manager) was entirely out of touch with what was happening in his own store and was more focused on impressing the regional manager when he would visit every couple of months. I watched him blow off valid crew member suggestions for improving the store multiple times.

    Hard work is not rewarded or even appreciated.

    There is such an emphasis on customer service that it enables terrible behavior on the customers behalf. I saw crew members grabbed by customers, called names, and generally degraded/harassed. This was routine and often by a handful of regulars.

    Working here will do nothing for your advancement in life unless you are 100% committed to a career in the grocery industry. You will not leave with transferable skills that are valued by other employers other than customer service.

    Good luck.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    From talking to my fellow co-workers who have been there for 5-10 years it sounds as though the company has lost its way. Everyone speaks of the good days which were apparently 3 years ago and later. Crew moral is low. This wasn't just in my store either as I have spoken with people in Trader Joes in different states. The company is quickly becoming just another corporation.

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

    Slowly on the way to becoming Walmart. Prepare to be intimidated and treated as less than human.

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

    I have been working at Trader Joe's part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Having different responsibilities throughout the day, rather than being stuck in one place for 8 hours
    - Fun and caring crew
    - Customers, for the most part, are nice and friendly
    - Used to be the best place to work, but, has been declining little by little, so that no-one would notice, over the years. Now it's by far the worst it's ever been.

    Cons

    - Everything is being cut, including hours and benefits.
    - Rampant favoritism - some employees are allowed to take many smoke breaks and can do very little work and still get a raise/promotion, while others are expected to pick up their slack and do double the work for the same or lower pay.
    - Other than your pay possibly increasing through raises, seasoned crew members are given no other perks. Their hours get cut because they are paid more, making it less likely for them to get/keep benefits, so the company keeps even more money in it's pocket.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Don't punish good workers by cutting their hours and not giving them a well-deserved raise just because someone above you told you to cut costs.
    - Reprimand those that don't rotate product, they are losing the store big money due to spoiled product and are making the next guy working that section do twice the work. You can keep track of who's doing this by assigning specific duties to specific crew members during specific hours. This way, when you see that products weren't rotated, you know exactly who didn't rotate by looking at the log and talk to them individually, making sure they abandon this practice next time they are working a section.
    - Apply your most important value - integrity- to how you treat your employees. Hiring a ton of new employees in the summer, when business slows down, so that you could, on purpose, cut hours of better- paid workers and in turn take away their benefits, doesn't scream "integrity."
    - Stop micromanaging employees that are actually doing a good job and instead let them properly, and with respect, train/retrain those who aren't.
    - Don't interrogate your employees about other employees, that's not how you build morale or earn respect.
    - Don't expect your employees to be friendly and up-beat when they can't afford to see a doctor (because you won't give them insurance) and have to come in to work sick or risk not getting a raise or getting fired.
    - Don't expect one employee to do the job of two or three just because you cut the hours of others, and now you have a smaller crew to get the same size job done. That sort of thinking goes against logic (and basic math), you can't have it both ways, something's gotta give.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Going downhill fast

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Part Time Crew Member in Alameda, CA
    Current Employee - Part Time Crew Member in Alameda, CA

    I have been working at Trader Joe's

    Pros

    The only good thing for me is that I can walk to work. Coworkers are friendly.

    Cons

    Captains are completely out of touch with the store and their mates. They have promoted people with zero leadership skills and the stores are suffering because of it. We have zero training for new hires, standing around and chit chatting happens all day long and nothing gets done right. Our store is so bad that it makes me sad. If customer knew how we treated the products they would shop elsewhere. There isn't enough space to describe how bad the mates are. Sad,sad,sad.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Constant training for management. Regionals need to visit stores more than twice a year and talk with veteran crew members, they are the ones who know what's going on. Something needs to change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Joining Trader Joe's as a manager (mate) was a career mistake.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager)
    Former Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager)

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

    Pros

    Decent starting pay. Get to try new food. Excellent health insurance. Great retirement package. Worked with some fun people. That's pretty much it.

    Cons

    This review is intended for people who are thinking about joining Trader Joe's store management from the outside.

    Starting compensation was decent, but yearly bonuses were laughable. My first year bonus was 1.2% of salary... For the entire year.

    Work/Life balance is atrocious and completely unhealthy. Mates work a waterfall schedule. Here's an example: tues and wed off; thurs 2:30pm-12:30am; fri 1pm-11pm; sat 8am-6pm; sun 5am-3pm; mon 4am- 2pm.

    Store level management: most of the other managers I worked with were promoted to mate and had several years experience working in trader Joe's, rather than hired directly into mate like myself. Nearly all of them were uneducated, lazy, entitled, and would not last more than a few months in a manager position at anywhere else except maybe Walmart. There is a strong disconnect between internal mates and external mates. I was met with cold shoulders and it was difficult to find one of them to help me learn the business.

    Captains: I worked under 3 captains and while all were very nice, none of them really knew how to manage a store. I don't blame them necessarily, I blame trader Joe's lack of training and development. This also explains why you have captains who have been at the store level for over 20 years. They aren't gaining the skills and experience to go on to something bigger and better. A lot of people with golden handcuffs.

    Employees: most crew members usually did as little as possible. There were a few that worked extremely hard but most of them just didn't care. A lot of people with no direction, no work ethic, and zero drive to better themselves.

    Work environment: although in a management position, as a mate you're just a glorified crew member. Breaking down pallets, stocking shelves, turning a key on a register to open it because cashiers are not allowed to do it themselves, working a forklift, are all common. This a blue collar job and it will wear your body down fast. A lot of injuries due to repetitive stress.

    Getting transferred to different stores: in my 2+ years at trader Joe's I worked at 3 different stores. There was no reason behind moving people around. They also did not care to keep people close to home. Some of the other mates had an hour commute both ways on top of working the waterfall schedule.

    Overall: Worst job I've ever had and I am blessed to have found a new career. This is a dead end management job. I would only recommend to people who are comfortable having no life and don't mind doing the same thing day after day for the rest of their lives. It's retail management and it sucks no matter how you look at it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop a training and development program for mates. Upgrade technology: new checkout stands and computers, better inventory system, get new software for the office computers (they still use windows 2003 lol). Start being more transparent. Develop a bonus structure based on some metrics rather. Hold captains accountable for mate development. I never met one person in central management that I found remotely inspiring.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Soul-sucking Grocery Store that operates like a religious cult

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

    I worked at Trader Joe's

    Pros

    Main positive is that this company gave me a job in a tough economy. Pay was okay compared with other grocery store jobs, but still not enough to live on comfortably. Work was physically demanding, so I got in shape and gave up my gym membership.

    Cons

    This company went downhill after the original owner died. They hired a new CEO and started treating employees like garbage by taking away their health insurance and creating more and more arbitrary and nonsensical rules to make work difficult. The place is very cultish as well…it was as if many of my co-workers had drank the proverbial "Kool-Aid" and didn't realize the obvious…that they were working in a grocery store that sells designer food to self-entitled rich people. I firmly believe that most employees had some sort of mental illness and were working there as a result, since many had college degrees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give back the health insurance benefits and other perks that you stole from your employees. Pay a living wage. Make it easier to advance within the company. Get over yourself and stop acting like a cult.

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

    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
  8. 7 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
  9. 8 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
  10. 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
  11. 3 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

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