Trader Joe's - Started great, went downhill from there. | Glassdoor
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There are newer employer reviews for Trader Joe's

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Helpful (42)

"Started great, went downhill from there."

Star Star Star Star Star
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager) in Philadelphia, PA
Current Employee - Mate (Assistant Manager) in Philadelphia, PA
Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

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 Management

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

Other Employee Reviews for Trader Joe's

  1. Helpful (6)

    "The job is great... when you first start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Crew Member in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Crew Member in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Trader Joe's part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun work environment, flexible scheduling, better than average pay. The coworkers make this job fun!

    Cons

    Absolutely no room for growth. I had frequent repetitive movement injuries and the managers would not report them because I could not "prove" that I got hurt that way on register or while stocking. The job is very physically demanding, which is fine, but be prepared to feel exhausted.
    Since TJ's is usually placed in higher end neighborhoods, dealing with the seemingly ungrateful and uneducated (about seasons and food) clientele can be awful.
    The work environment is not really all that pleasant. So much drama all the time. If you're a person who can work in a gossipy environment, all the more power to you. The stores can be pretty incestuous. Many people in upper management don't have a life outside of their work.

    There are always favorites. My store in particular was a "bro club." It was hard to feel recognized as a hard worker when management would socialize with less hardworking co-workers outside of work.

    Trader Joes is known for benefits, but honestly they can be hard to come by. My schedule was written so that I specifically didn't receive health insurance.


  2. Helpful (8)

    "When I started, I really liked this company, but now it feel like a completely different place."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Part Time Crew Member in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Part Time Crew Member in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I like that reviews occur every six months. I like that you are rotated around the store every couple of hours, so that you do not get bored. I like that there are weekly tastings of the store products.

    Cons

    I feel that switching managers around so much leaves the store disjointed. I feel that the standards to become a manager are slipping. I'm worried that the family/neighborhood store atmosphere of the company is disappearing and is slowly becoming more corporate. I feel that the entire store dynamic changes based on who the Captain (store manager) is.

    Advice to Management

    I feel that the Captain of the store should make it a point to come in at random times in order to check if the managers are following store standards and rules. Managers should also learn to communicate better with each other and with part-time crew members. If you are a manager you should make a point of answering crew member questions, instead of just saying "oh I don't know" or just brushing it off in some other way.

There are newer employer reviews for Trader Joe's
There are newer employer reviews for Trader Joe's

See Most Recent

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