Trader Joe's

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

Started great, went downhill from there.

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

I have been working at Trader Joe's full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

Originally, the great atmosphere, happy crew members, advancement from within, and hearing customers say" I love Trader Joe's".

Cons

After Theo Albrecht died(German brother who owned Trader Joes), Dan Bane made massive and monumental changes to the structure of the business(If it ain't broke, don't fix it?). Trader Joe's was not broke but running like a fine tuned machine. First, destroyed the nautical hierarchy(Captain, First Mate, Second Mate, Merchant, Specialist, and Novitiate) and made it Captain, Mates(Captains-in-training) and Merchants(usually past-full timers or other long time store leaders). Making Mates a generic position was meant to promote competition for advancement and just led to back-stabbing to get ahead.
     And then came the numbers.....SPPH(sales per person hour), Comp. sales to previous year, raises being a set figure yes/no based on meeting expectations or not, lowering raises, promoting Mates from part-time status at $8-$10 LOWER than the "off-the'street" Mate hires who are managers from the Walmarts, Targets, Whole Foods, etc. and don't know the Trader Joe's culture. (In response to the 10 year part timer who had "15" bosses making $50K- $120K,- after three years of being a mate, 1 out of every 3 crew members is still making more per hour than I am under the new Mate raise system, which is once per year, so it angered me that those part-timers making $3-$4 per hour more than me would say"that's why you make the big bucks in stressfull situations". And they aren't commuting an hour to work. But I do agree that there is alot of incompetance with management in general, what do you expect from Walmart?) Basically trying to sanitize management of anybody that has risen from within as most hires are off-the-streeters and Captain positions are given to RMT's(Off the street hires put on a fast track to Captain for no good reason).
      In a nut shell, the company is now being run by an accountant(whether that be Dan or Ed) and is now treating crew like numbers instead of people. You will see poorer customer service because with fewer crew members at the store to perform the duties that need to be done, there will be little time to show you where that product is or after their 5th hour on register(usually reserved for the lazy crew member who accomplishes little on the floor so we staple them to a register to keep track of them), their demeanor at checkout is likely to be less polite than once was. But that is what you get when numbers are more important than people.
     Trader Joe's is raking in the profits. They finance all the new stores with their own money(smart) and are planning more aggressive growth(dumb). Anybody relate with the term "discontinued" or "TOS"-temporarily out-of-stock? Trader Joe's is kind of like Walmart where they negotiate deals to keep the prices low and then grind the crap out of the manufactorer to keep supply up. TJ's can't keep many of the popular items on the shelf now, how the heck are they going to do it with more stores.
     I miss hearing customers say "I love this store" and now only usually hear "oh, you discontinued that, too?"
     Watch as everything that made Trader Joe's great starts to erode under the new business plan.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Stop looking at the numbers only and hear the cries of your people.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

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

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  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Trader LOLs

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

    I worked at Trader Joe's part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good pay, customers are easy to deal with as long as you have a positive attitude. The store I worked at had intelligent great people as section leaders.

    Cons

    Lots of politics among management, no upward mobility. The police have been involved at my store (Cambridge, MA 502) because of how often top management allows situations to escalate and cannot resolve issues without the captain herself resorting to gossip, name calling or yelling at employees in front of customers. Employees have successfully litigated against the company thanks to discriminatory practices management has been involved in while trying to cut corners and exploit weaknesses in the employees with higher wages. Hopefully there will be more cases and I hope to watch journalists building a narrative around this store. I tried to turn employees cynicism into something more constructive (such as unionizing) but ultimately felt sick going to my shifts and left the store because I felt like executives were out of touch as well as so many of the employees thanks to how often management lies. Yes...the worst part are the managers (merchants and many mates) who are victim to the policies of the captain that currently works there and has the blessings of HR and the regional manager, they fear losing their own jobs speaking out against top management and will resort to lying to maintain status quo. Fortunately the captain did not get her bonus this year because the company is growing weary of her, but honestly it is the regionals who are to blame for how poor this store is run.

    On top of that, the company throws away a lot of food that are originally marked as donations in TJ's internal accounting system. There are articles that talk about how wasteful many TJ's stores are. NEVER BUY meat from Trader Joe's! And if you buy produce, it is not fresh and it is frequently mishandled from store to store (my store handled it fairly well but we still threw away A LOT of produce that goes bad quickly). Buy from your local fruit/veggie stand! Support CSA's (Community supported agriculture)! AVOID SUPPORTING TRADER JOE'S PRACTICE OF THROWING AWAY A TON OF FRESH FRUIT/VEGGIES

    You can read all these articles praising Trader Joe's high wages, but what these articles don't talk about is how many of the employees who wages were capped or near the cap of $22 per hour have mysteriously left the store? There is more to the brand that Trader Joe's has built than meets the eye.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't stonewall the concerns of your employees

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

    Love Trader Joe's!! Changed my life in the best way!

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

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

    Pros

    Its my home away from home, my second family. I have a had the best employee experience working here. Happy I got hired there. They offer flexible hours, benefits and a great work environment and a raise every 6 months.

    Cons

    Just the customers on a bad day. Im a single mom of 2 and just need a higher income.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Love them all!! Like i said, we are a family.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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