Trader Joe's - Started great, went downhill from there. | Glassdoor
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Helpful (42)

"Started great, went downhill from there."

StarStarStarStarStar
  • 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 (1)

    "Overall a nice job, couldn't do long term."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Crew Member
    Former Employee - Crew Member
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits are awesome. From my understanding even part time employees got benefits.
    Relaxed, laid back work environment. Never hassled by management, breaks encouraged.
    Good company ethics and products.

    Cons

    Couldn't get passed the physical demand. I am a 23 year old female who is fit & works out.. and was finding that work was putting huge stress on my body. You get awesome health benefits because YOU WILL NEED tHEM. In the year I worked there I started feeling back and knee pain. At 23!!

    You are out getting carts one hour, on register the next, in a freezer the next, unpacking heavy boxes from a pallet the next. It is like legit manual labor.

    Managers get all tied up in their work lives because the poor souls have to spend all their time in the store.

    Advice to Management

    take a chill pill. At the end of the day you are selling groceries, not building atom bombs.


  2. Helpful (13)

    "Shark = Jumped"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Crew Member in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Crew Member in Evanston, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Rapid advancement available to outsiders with retail experience.
    Job Security
    Mostly pleasant co-workers and most management

    Cons

    Trader Joe's has tightened their fiscal belt quite a bit over the last few years, even though sales per store are increasing. More money moving up in the company, while hours decreasing for everyday workers.
    Benefits to non-management crew members are slowly being chipped away (eliminated in the next few years?)
    Very little honesty in upper management.

    Advice to Management

    Realize that you are a multi-billion dollar company built on the customer experience. Your average worker is slowly becoming less and less happy and this will reflect itself in your stores. You are slowly killing a Golden Goose, maybe you need to do more for the crew that stocks the shelves, runs registers, serve samples, unloads trucks. . . you know, the actual work?

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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