Trader Joe's

  www.traderjoes.com
  www.traderjoes.com
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5 people found this helpful  

Not the place it once was

  • 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 8 years)

Pros

Awesome environment
Great benefits
Not stuck in one department
Opputunity to grow

Cons

They have changed the management structure and are deadset on hiring more managers from outside the company instead of inside hires. There is a particular culture that someone "off the street" doesn't get and it is demeaning and detrimental to the morale of the crew to have these corporate minded people be our bosses on the first day
Some customers just can't be handled

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Stop ignoring the people and culture that made Trader Joe's what it is! Don't forget the "little"people and consider going undercover to see all the double standards that go on.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
No opinion of CEO

713 Other Employee Reviews for Trader Joe's (View Most Recent)

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  1. 11 people found this helpful  

    Good Employer If You're Management. If not... RUN!!

    • 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 part-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    -Decent starting wage. Trader Joe's has an awesome retirement package of 15.4% if you're age 30 or over
    -Very friendly PT crew members and customers
    -Offer Medical/Dental/Vision/Retirement benefits
    -Family atmosphere that makes it an enjoyable job if you can fit a niche
    - If you can get in good with a low-level manager, do so. These lower managers(Merchants) often times have more on the job experience and have been with Trader Joe's for years and have simply not wanted to move up the ladder. I worked with countless Merchants who had a positive outlook and knew more about the store than the Captain

    Cons

    I was with the company before and after things took a turn for the worse. Almost 10 years.
    - For starters 2/3 of all hires are age 29 and under. By doing this the company saves millions of dollars every year, because they only pay 5% retirement benefits as compared to 15.4% for crew members above the age of 30. They also love to cut your hours as a way to save money. You could have 40 hours one week and the next your down to 24 hours wondering what happened with little to no explanation from the manager writing the schedule.
    -Many of the stores are somewhat of a throw-together and are only about 9,500 square ft. on average. This makes for small narrow isles and a lot of accidents. It also saves the company a TON of money in real-estate fees. You're average conventional grocery store is 50,000 square ft.
    -Management expects you to go to them and ask for feedback when it should be the other way around.
    -There is also no formal training guide from which crew members and management can learn how to do things. Managers go to Trader Joe's University(TJU) to get training, but people have told me it's more of a party than training. It's sink or swim and more often than not you end up sinking, because of the lack of training your managers have received over the years, which is miniscule. Captains and Mates will often times make your fellow crew members give you training who are surprised this is part of their new job description. Many times you will be told you're doing the job wrong simply because you're not doing it the exact same way someone else, usually a Mate or Captain, would do it.
    -Management likes to promote their friends within the company and often times the mates they bring in "off the street" and crew member they promote are not even remotely qualified for a position in management. Many Mates and Captains had unsavory attitudes and nothing, but contempt for the employees and really don't know how to create a fun working environment.
    -Stores are also dusty and dirty and not cleaned for long periods of time. I brought this up to the attention of management multiple times at my store and was told "Corporate has a 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mentality"
    -The Registers and computer systems at the front desk were running on outdated software . My store was still running Windows Microsoft Office 2003. The Registers, especially, are breaking down at an alarming rate at the older stores,mine being one of them, which have not been updated in many years.
    -Corporate is now hiring an extremely high number of people for the position of "MATE"(Assistant Store Manager) at Trader Joe's to help fill the void when they open new stores in the future. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but Trader Joe's has a very unique culture and way of doing things that you don't see at other grocery stores. It is a culture that someone "off the street" doesn't get and having these people as your boss on the first day is very detrimental and demoralizing to the crew members and managers.
    -Captains and Mates are not required to adhere to Trader Joe's founding principles, or "Core Values", many of which are useless and outdated anyway. Crew Members, on the other hand, are held to these "Core Values" like superglue.
    -There is NOT a lot of room to move up in the company unless you're really good at positioning your lips on the Captains buttocks. If you're a suck-up you'll get all the opportunities in the world whether you deserve them or not and if you're like me and have a good, hard work ethic, sorry, no opportunities for you. I must have asked 100 times to do more and every time the answer was the same "NO".
    -Crew Members often times will tattle-tale on you to the Captain and Mates in order to get more opportunities in the store.
    -Management will do whatever it takes to get ahead including lying on your reviews. I'd work hard all day doing the work of 2 or 3 people only to get a "have a good night" from the Mates as reward for working 3/4 of the load. As another reviewer said it's the 80/20 rule. 80% of the work is done by 20% of the crew.
    -There is no accountability for crew members or management in place when an employee does not follow "company standards(the biggest oxymoron of them all).
    -Absolutely terrible communication on a store level. Crew members are always expected to give a WOW! customer experience and yet we are not given the training and resources to help us deliver that level of customer service. If you chat up all your customers you're golden.
    -Safety Training/equipment is an afterthought. The Fork lift and pallet jacks are all out of date just invited daily injury. So, be ready to blow out your knees and lower back, because there is no equipment besides a red knee pad and a few step ladders to save you. Management is absolutely oblivious to the fact that SAFETY COMES FIRST. They simply don't care to correct this or any problem in their stores
    -Reviews have gone from 1-5 pts system(1 being the worst, 5 being the best) to now a "MEETS EXPECTATIONS" and "DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS" systems and you are never really told what the Captains definition of EXPECTATIONS is, since everyone perceives it and therefore you different. I would be reprimanded verbally by the Captain for having Poor Customer Service and then told on my review that I have outstanding Customer Service. Contradictions like this are the order of the day in stores especially with many of the new "off the street" Mates and Captains.
    Trust me, the list could go on indefinitely, because of the new direction the company has taken. Trader Joe's is sadly, becoming more like Safeway everyday and they don't even know it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let's start with the 7 "Core Values". Most managers are so inept that they don't even meet "Core Value #1- Integrity". In the last 4 years I worked for TJ's, 3 of my 4 Captains did everything in their power to make me quit, so the company wouldn't have to pay my retirement benefits any longer(15.4%). Speaking of Values, please drop #4- No Bureaucracy. If you think there's no politics at play then the only person you're kidding is yourself. I would be yelled at from half-way across the store by a Merchant who was trying to look good in front of the Captain. As you grow as a company Value #5- We're a National Chain of Neighborhood Grocery Stores, is falling by the wayside also.NEWS FLASH: we're owned by a German family. Last time I checked Germany is outside the USA. That makes you INTERNATIONAL. With stores growing bigger and bigger all the time you're losing that Neighborhood appeal that has made Trader Joe's so great for so long. Unfortunately the bigger you grow the more people will view you as just another Supermarket. That and the more people you will stomp on to get to the top of the food chain. And WTF is KAIZEN! doing in there. I know it's to improve every day, week, month,year,etc. You can only improve if management allows it, which in my case NEVER HAPPENED!
    -You MUST do something about the Register area for a couple of reasons. First, the gap between Registers is very small and makes it hard to get shopping carts through after ringing up customers. Spacing the Registers even 2 or 3 inches farther apart would make a HUGE difference. Second, the software used on the Registers(this could apply to all computer software) at my store was 10 years out of date. We had 4 computers running on 3 different types of Windows software. The time to fix it is NOW!! not in 10 more years.
    -When your Regionals come in the store they never look at the store and talk to customers and crew members to see how things are run. They just conveniently run off with the Captain and Mate and talk. Go undercover and take a REALLY CLOSE look at the stores. Talk to the crew, talk to the customers, get down and dirty in the trenches like the rest of us part-timers and you will see and understand how bad things have become. Trader Joe's used to be THE PLACE TO BE, both as a shopper and an employee. Now it's just a cheap grocery store that sales items at a discounted price and treats their employees like they work at Safeway.
    -Make sure your organic items are "certified" organic and that your so-called non-GMO policy is enforced. I have seen first hand how items are often times mislabled as organic and have no GMO's in them when the opposite is true.
    -Start using social media as a way to not only market yourself as a company, but to train the crew. You can easily post videos on either YouTube or the company website explaining how to properly work each section. It would be a HUGE first step towards bringing Trader Joe's into the 21rst century. Word of mouth will only get you so far.
    -Do away with the Fearless Flyer. You talk about being environmentally-friendly. Start posting the Fearless Flyer to Facebook and Twitter or e-mailing the flyer. The average employee spends 2.5 hours at work on social media anyway. This way you could make sure they are looking at Trader Joe's media.
    -Keep a close eye on who you promote. It seems that these days you promote anyone in their 20's-30's with a pulse. Be more thorough with management hires. Hire people with a proven track record in business who come with business degrees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Team Member

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

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

    Pros

    Crew (employees) are active and cheerful in their work and interactions with customers. Work varies from cashier to stocking to customer interaction to demos. It's fast paced but the day goes fast that way. With good relations with captain and first mate it can go well. Honest company to work for in my experience.

    Cons

    Depends on the captain and first mate(s) (management) of the store. These folks work long hard hours and therefore often expect the same from team members.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep listening to team members and continue to treat them as people with lives that need to work for them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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