Trader Joes Sucks

January 8, 2007 · 103 comments

in Rants

So it has been a while since my last post, but that is all right since I have been saving up the rage.

On December 6, 2006 I went to the Trader joes in La Grange Illinois and spent $69.90 in my standard bi-weekly grocery shopping extravaganza.

Well I get home from the store unload my bags and load up the fridge. A Few hrs go by and I prepare to make some lunch. I check the date on an overpriced item I just bought called “Shredded BBQ Chicken” The use or freeze by date was 12-2-06… 4 days before I bought the shit.

After this I look at my other items and find Brussels sprouts, and some muffins I bought were already past their expiration date.

Well there are a few reasons why I am angry… the first is because I did not check the dates on the shit I just bought, the second is the fact that I need to check the dates on everything I buy, because the store is so poorly run that they have expired items on their fucking shelves.

Being a nerd, I go to the Trader Joes website, and write in a comment to them regarding my purchase and my unhappy experience at their store. A month has gone by and those assfucks have yet to write back or refund my money, making me have to use this fine website to voice my opinion.

FUCK YOU TRADER JOES. You assholes owe me $10.47 for the expired grocery items that you sold me.

You need to learn what customer service means, and you should actually reply to complaints sent into your website. Fuck you, I am shopping at Wild Oats, a true health food store.

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1 httpwebwitch 01.09.07 at 12:51 am

reminds me of my own experiences with RONA, lovingly documented on my own blog. Trader Joe's sells rotten food? RONA SELLS BROKEN CRAP.

2 meepmop 01.11.07 at 4:36 pm

you can return anything to trader joe's, even if you just didn't like something. they are the best about refunds.

3 meepmop 01.11.07 at 4:40 pm

"You need to learn what customer service means, and you should actually reply to complaints sent into your website. Fuck you, I am shopping at Wild Oats, a true health food store."

you should also learn about how to be a responsible customer, i.e. how to complain to the proper chain-of-command. start by going to the store manager. then district. corporate doesn't give a shit about your whiny comments.

and trader joes='s has never claimed to be a "health food" store. they are in a different niche market than wild oats or whole foods.

keep cryin' yourself a river, though… your life is like hard and sad and stuff….

4 Werty 01.11.07 at 11:44 pm

They are an "upscale aldi" Same owner.

As far as my complaint, it should be read and replied to regardless of the channel I use. You are a half wit for thinking otherwise.

In regards to my life being hard and sad I would have to disagree. I have it pretty easy.

5 charles 02.28.07 at 11:10 pm

Trader Joes REALLY SUCKS. Its a hellhole shopping experience. The lines run completely around the entire perimeter of the store back to the front door where the cashiers are and the line starts. You can't see or get to anything on the perimeter of the store, and the isles are narrow with wall to wall shopping carts jammed from every direction so you cant move or see what they're even selling. Its like going to the monkey house at the zoo on free day in the summer when every camp, scout and youth group is there, except then at least you're taller then the kids and they don't all have shopping carts jamming you in from all directions. Trader joes-the worst shopping experience ever. Are you really that desperate.

6 louise sa 03.29.07 at 8:26 pm

cottage cheese goes bad.Cutie Tangerines were the smallest ever and cost the most almost of any store in town.Great cheese. Obnoxious very young mgr's called Captains.Company needs to send them and ship mates to Dale Carnigie for "How to make friends and influence people."
Mostly are too young. Older persons are really great.But few and far between.Poor demonatration items except when one creative guy is there. Other wise it is cream cheese on a cracker.So creative. Mexican frozen stuff with TJ's name poor quality and bad tasting. Great frozen chinese orange chicken however. Large Chocolate candy bars great. Rather bad yogurt at a high price. i stopped going almost all tgoether to TJ and now have saved over $200 to $300 a month and we are much much better off with Sunflower markets great quality and regular super mkts. Terrible dog food. See consumer reports ratings . Owned I am told by two German brothers. so money leaves US.I read this in one of the trade magzines I believe or in the Wall Street journal, some time ago. ( last year. )

7 Lili 05.22.07 at 3:09 pm

Hi. I'm very glad there's a website where I could go to complain about Trader Joe's without fear of being fired by a sexist first mate who should not have a high position at all, especially in a company that claims to be of equal opportunity for everyone. I've been working for the company as a part timer for several years, and have proved myself to most of the fultimers except two new ones who think it's ok for a worker to come to work drunk and cursing obnoxiosly through the isles as long as that worker is male,on the other hand if the worker is female and she does something as insignificant as forgets her name tag or stops for a moment to get money out of her bag to pay for lunch she gets yelled at like there's no tomorrow. Also smokers can get all the little breaks they want without having to clock out, I'm sure it would not be this way if the first mate was not a smoker. Unfortunately corporate companies really don't care much about their employe's feelings thoughts and ideas, they only care about how they seem to the customers because that's how they make money. I wish the customers would realize that the better the employees are treated in places of business by their employers the better the service is. If the employees complain about how they are treated not many people in the business will listen to them or rectify the problems if any will listen at all. On the other hand, if the customers were to complain about the treatment of employees it would strike a chord and perhaps things would change and the service would change accordingly. I'm sorry about your experience with Trader Joe's. If ever you decide to go shopping there again and if you encounter any problems, I assure you it's not the employees, it's the management and their lack of responsibility to making their employees feel safe and comfortable with the store and with the company. If you are being treated unfairly you are not going to work as well or as hard if you would if the company didn't take advantage of its employees and didn't treat the employees that were working for them longer worse than its new hires. One example of this is paying the newer workers more money for the same exact jobs the older employees are doing for much less. Isn't that nice of them?

8 Phyllis 06.19.07 at 2:12 pm

Like any other store, you have to be selective.. I don't buy TJ's produce (some of it is actually rotting in areas you can't see through the plastic), but they are tops for meat, and sell it in forms I wouldn't take the time to try to make myself from scratch (rolled flank steak w/blue cheese filling, apple-sage stuffed bonless pork chops, manderin orange chicken).. the fish selection is also wonderful. Eggs here are the cheapest in town by the dozen (.99).. wine selection impeccable with a wide variety from which to choose. TJ's will continue to receive the bulk of my "other-than-fundamentals" grocery money.. and if I get a lemon in terms of quality of a purchase, I have only to return the sales slip for a FULL refund w/o undue questions or arguments.

9 jason 10.24.07 at 7:23 pm

I am actually a supervisor of a Trader Joe's and I can honestly say that I understand your frustration. While finding 4 items that were expired is unacceptable you know that even aftter this time you can get your money back…just go into the store and explain your situation and I guarantee that they will refund your money. No hassle refund is part of the Trader Joe's experience. Don't let one bad experience ruin it for you:)

10 jason 10.24.07 at 7:28 pm

This comment is for the part timer: You are a part timer and not privy to the things that goes on behind the Captain's Desk. We're an at will company but you still cant just fire someone. As a full timer I got to see first hand the amount of time, energy, documentation, etc that goes into just writing a person up. Keep your head up and know that your full time staff is doing whatever necessary to fix the problem.

11 Bill C 11.12.07 at 7:28 pm

I don't know what is worse, the hippies working in the place, or the yenta's who need to chat with one another and block the aisles, they think it is Macy's or Bloomingdales, stupid bitches

12 Rayanne 11.28.07 at 9:23 am

4 expired items? That sucks. At my T. Joe', they check for spoils every night. You shouldn't wind up with expired crap. That's pretty terrible.

"Being a nerd, I go to the Trader Joes website, and write in a comment to them regarding my purchase and my unhappy experience at their store. A month has gone by and those assfucks have yet to write back or refund my money, making me have to use this fine website to voice my opinion."

No, being poorly informed on the typical chain-of-command, you got on the CORPORATE website and told the CORPORATE office about something that happened at an ILLINOIS store. There are more than 280 Trader Joe' stores. It isn't even corporate's fault that the stuff wa expired, even if it had time to deal with your problem. When Abe Lincoln was in office, he said, "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attack made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business." Similar concept. Corporate has bigger fish to fry. The captain of your local Trader Joe's does NOT. It is his JOB to fix what went wrong under his management. If you take your case to him, I'm sure he'll give you a refund. Oh, and please be polite. It's just common courtesy. People forget about that.

"Fuck you, I am shopping at Wild Oats, a true health food store."

Oh, how sweet of you. Actually, Trader Joe' doesn't claim to be a health food store. It's jut a "unique grocery store."

"They are an “upscale aldi” Same owner."

No, they are owned by the same family as Aldi. One brother owns Aldi, and the other brother owns Trader Joe's. They are completely independent business operations.

"As far as my complaint, it should be read and replied to regardless of the channel I use. You are a half wit for thinking otherwise."

No, it shouldn't. There has to be order and a system to business. If you are going to do business with business, you should learn that. Perhaps a bit of selflessness while you're at it. You are an incredibly rude person.

"In regards to my life being hard and sad I would have to disagree. I have it pretty easy."

Wow! That's even worse! At least if your life has been sad and hard, you would have had a sort of excuse, or at least some pity. You seem like an incredibly bitter person for having had such an easy life. I'm sorry for you.

13 P. 02.04.08 at 5:35 am

Pretty stupid entry. I'm a part timer at TJ's, and have only been there around 5 weeks.

It sounds like you have a crappy TJ's in your area, and that's the fault of the captain/mgr there. In my store spoils occasionally slip by, true, but you would never get four out of date things in one trip there, because spoils are checked every night.

It also sounds like you're not very smart if you think you can leave a message to a corporation expecting them to fed-ex you a refund or something. Go to the store you bought it from and they will bend over backwards apologizing while giving you a full refund.

14 Mot 03.03.08 at 4:52 am

Wah Wah Wah. Try checking your dates before you buy.

15 Werty 03.03.08 at 11:38 am

Mot, I tend to always check the dates, but sometimes you forget.

Would you not agree that it is totally unacceptable that the store would sell a product (a meat product) that is 4 days past due?

16 Tyler 05.01.08 at 11:34 am

If you have a fucking problem just go and return your groceries. Trader Joes has the most liberal return policy out there. Dont go through the web page, what are they going to be able to do about it, give you a tissue and tell its going to be ok. Also, all the products in Trader Joes are made without preservatives, so ya the food does go bad quicker than most grocery stores, but its also a whole hell of a lot better for you. Before you complain why not man up and just go to the store you had a problem with instead being a "nerd"/pussy and using a non-confrontational web page.

17 Werty 05.01.08 at 1:36 pm

Tyler, I did not feel as though I should go back to the store to return my spoiled shit that they sold me.

I think they should take pride in their company and actually answer emails and complaints from customers.

It is unacceptable that they would sell items that are beyond their expiration date.

I always try and look at expiration dates, but sometimes I am in a hurry or forget. The fact that 3 out of the 20 or so items I bought were already past due, shows me that this store is poorly managed, and attention to quality is non existent.

Also Tyler, your anger would make you think you got fired over this or something.

18 j swizzle 05.24.08 at 3:19 am

dude, get over it. you won't return something just because the the codes were bad, yet you complain because CORPORATE won't send you a refund. so what if codes go bad, every store in the WORLD has the problem. i love how you got 3 things that went out of code, and will NEVER do business with trader joe's again, simply because of that. in most cases, if items go out of code, they're still edible. in i'm also 100% sure that the "shredded bbq chicken" was not overpriced, you're frustration just makes you exaggerate. but go ahead and try to point out everything i said which you don't agree with, and write a response that i won't read, because i don't give a shit about your whiny bitchiness. i've been shopping with trader joe's for 20 years, and i'm only 25. i'm not a hippy, nor anything like that. trader joe's is 50 times better then any national chain store (kroger, etc. etc), and if i've ever had a problem, i just take the item back for a FULL refund, no questions asked, much like costco. so stop your bitching you lazy ass, cry me a river.

19 Werty 05.24.08 at 5:45 am

I was actually not that upset about it, but I knew if I exaggerated my "anger" I would get suckers like you to flame me and add to the content on this page. If anything I was mad at myself for not checking the dates. I always try to, but sometimes I forget or in a hurry.

20 Anne Y. Monous 05.29.08 at 6:38 pm

I've been a part timer at Trader Joes for several years, "part time" by the way, meaning 5 days a week. Anyone not a manager is considered "part time," even if you word 40 hours a week. They are a terrible store to work for, most of the management is related, and many of the part timers are related to these people. It's nice for people who are relatives or friends of the full timers, but anyone else gets stepped on and picked over to no end. I tried calling corporate once to complain, and nothing happened. The customers are also generally annoying because they seem to think that Tradre Joes is different from all other grocery stores, and all employees must love working there. Who wants to work at a grocery store though? It's a freaking grocery store people, it sucks to work at. If we look happy all the time it's because if we don't we get fired. And I don't need to be in management to know what is going on behind closed doors, you hear about it all the time–management is screwing around with half the part time sluts they hire, and going out drinking with the other half. Okay, more like a third and a third, because the last third are us poor suckers who don't get drunk every night or cheat on their spouses (by the way, if your husband or wife works at a Trader Joes in L.A., chancer are high that they are cheating on you), and we have to do all the work. It's a god awful store with god awful people. I hope it rots away one day.

21 Derek Swanson 05.30.08 at 10:22 am

I could CARE LESS about customer service. It is usually sub par AT BEST in my experience. The problem I have with Trader Joe's is the quality of the foods they are offering. To me, their food quality is average to below average AT BEST. Time and time again I've bought their products, only to be disappointed at the risk I took. I am slowly phasing them out as I'd rather pay a little more and get great quality at Whole Foods.

22 Werty 05.30.08 at 1:20 pm

I totally agree with you Derek. It seems like maybe 1/2 of their items are good quality.

I think frozen fish is usually a hit, as is the peanut butter and cheese. Produce is always questionable as is 1/2 the ready made items.

ANother thing that irks me is the way most of the produce is packaged… like 4 apples in a plastic container… talk about lots of waste.

23 Jonnny Montez 06.13.08 at 10:51 am

Wow..what a jerk!Please do not ever shop at Trader Joe' seem like a total fricken psycho..Quality varies from store to store,..I know it shouldn't be that way but you should stick to the JEWEL OR DOMINICKS

24 Werty 06.13.08 at 10:58 am

Hahahaha, I love you Jonnny. I normally shop at Costco for the main items, and then local places for fruit and such.

I have not been to Trader Joe's for about 9 months or more now.

25 kate 06.14.08 at 1:24 am

Most people would never believe it but behind all those smiles workers at TJ can be really miserable. They shove their management thru really fast and promote easily. Most of them don't know what their doing. Also TJ customers are the worst I've come into contact with. I could go on about this one but lets just say that they only seem to love TJ if they get some major ass kissing. The most absurd people ever. Trust me we are all making jokes about you and going WTF! behind your backs. The only reason to work here is the wage and benefits.

26 Werty 06.14.08 at 5:18 pm

Kate, I totally believe it. Most jobs are terrible, and I would think anywhere you need to deal with the public that much would make it even worse. I could not handle it.

It is interesting that you complain about the management. That is something I would have never thought of. It makes me wonder how my decisions and actions affect the lives of my employees.

27 eggs mgee 06.19.08 at 2:55 pm

Dumb ass…why didn't you just go to the store and get your money back? instead of crying about it on a corporate website?

28 anonymous 06.22.08 at 2:29 pm

I too am a 'part-timer' at TJ's who is fed up with the nepotism and favoritism exhibited. Yes, the pay and benefits may be good, but the work is back-breaking and demeaning and the full-timers (i.e., "novitiates," "first mates," "captains," et cetera) are clueless when it comes to dealing with anybody except you customers. I fucking hate my job at TJ's.

29 Robbie 07.22.08 at 11:30 pm

As a nurse,I refer my patients to Trader Joe's, as the food is nutritious and delicious for many patients who are needing to restrict their diets to low sodium and low fat and also need the convenience of easy preparation. It also helps them think in a healthy way about eating. Yes, I feel Trader Joe's is a speciality store, yet they offer mostly healthy foods. I personally love many of the foods offered. I also believe that every Trader Joe's is different. This is dependent upon the management, the size of the store and the employees. I shop at a Trader Joe's of my choice, not the one closest to me, as I have had very bad experiences with rude, unhappy employees. Still cannot understand why I was confronted and harassed like I was everytime I went shopping there. The store I shop at is wonderful, the freshest food, excellent and helpful employees, good management creating a well-organized store with employees and customers happy alike. I commend the management and employees of Trader Joe's in San Clemente, CA for making this store a pleasant experience with reliability in quality of food and employees. Thank you, San Clemente Store, you are the reason why I still shop with you and the main store where I purchase my food. Robbie

30 G Teter 07.24.08 at 10:02 am

I love Trader Joes. What a success you've made of Trader Joes. I remember a small store on Mission in So. Pasadena, CA many years ago. That may have been the first store.
Only thing missing in your stores is some sort of Mocha Mix (lactose intolerant creamer for coffee, ceral. ) It is a "big" item in my home. Wish you carried it (for health reasons) for all of us who use it daily. GT

31 jhn doe 08.04.08 at 8:43 pm

your a fuckin idot

32 Werty 08.05.08 at 1:21 pm

JHN DOE, it should be either you are fucking idiot, or you're a fucking idiot.

Either would apply to you as well.

33 Agent Cooper 08.23.08 at 3:11 am

I too am a "part-time" TJ employee of (gasp) SEVEN long years… I will now share my experience of what it is like to work at Trader Joe's.

Working at TJ's is great if you like to:
a) deal with hundreds of demanding people all day long
b) work with a never-ending rotating crew of annoying nineteen year-olds
c) work with (some, but not all) people in the 85-90 IQ range who have never read a book in their life.
d) get bossed around by idiots on a power trip
e) smile and pretend that you haven't heard that line about 8 million times already. Example: "could you keep all of my cold stuff together?"
f) lean over and unload cart after cart of non-stop groceries… then bag all of those same groceries. There's no conveyor belts at Trader Joe's! We do it all!
g) experience chronic back pain
h) listen to people yap on their cell-phones and blue-teeth about absolutely nothing… Example: "yah, I'm at Trader Joe's. What? What! No, I have olives already…" SIDENOTE: I hate cell-phone etiquette in general. People: you don't need to answer your goddamn phone just because it's ringing… you can "call people back"
i) spend 40 hours a week doing monotonous, soul-killing work. My seven years at TJ's has made me almost loathe humanity. But at least I have benefits.
j) work in an environment with a "nautical theme" where you're required to ring bells, and call people "captain" and say words like "helmsing"

If this sounds good to you, come aboard! And it's true: managers DO make 60 thousand a year after a while. It's easy. Just sign away your life and your soul, 'cause you'll be LIVING at Trader Joe's, 55 to 60 hours a week!

34 Agent Cooper 08.23.08 at 12:49 pm

oh, and one more…

k) have customers say "cute" and demeaning things to you like, "wow, you're a great bagger!" or, "I love watching someone do what they're good at.." instead of helping to bag their own groceries.

and in regards to "C" in the list above… it sounds a little too harsh. Some of the smartest people I've ever met are also working at TJ's… but they're trying to get the hell out of there!

35 P 09.06.08 at 3:50 am

Check the fucking dates yourself ya tool. What do you expect, specially shopping in La Grange. With your snotty little shit attitude, trek up 294 to park ridge. Trader Joe's is a glorified 7-11, plus, they have an open 100% return policy, so all you had to do was bring the shit back.

Lick fat beef curtains!!!

36 linda 10.10.08 at 1:38 am

I know what a dork. I 've had bad experiences with Trader Joe's too, but it's obvious with the wide selection, the majority of their groceries is good. I would still go back and shop their again, I would just avoid buying those items.
You'll find incompetency everywhere, your just being bitter, and difficult.
Trader Joe's claims their foods are so pure and organic, yeah right. They are just another corporation that cuts corners like everyone else.
You can't expect them to get back to you off their website, do you know how many trader joe's there are in this country.

37 Mark 10.31.08 at 11:03 pm

I work as a part-timer at my local Trader Joes and have for 3 years now. I spent two of those years working my ASS to the bone to get promoted into management as frankly they make a LOT of money for the position. I was told for months on end that I had what it takes and was oh so close to promotion. The ol carrot loves to dangle at the Joe. The most ignorant asshole I have ever had the displeasure of working with was promoted over me in a bout of the afformentioned favoritism to the shock of many. I'm not claming to be the hardest worker nor the best, but I know I deserved that position. As long as you are willing to jump through hoop after hoop for this shithole, you're promised glory. The problem is that this isn't the reality in every case. In my case I did absolutely everything necessary to move on up and better support my wife and two kids and the guy who gave out sporting tickets his rich dad bought him to managers got the promotion. Inside info – Trader Joes claims (as one of there "core values") to be void of beuracracy……utter crap. They'd love to believe they are still the innocent loving happy company they once were but at this point it's all a bluff, a mask put on for you the customer. Typically we employees are miserable and disenfranchised due to the hypocracy we have to deal with from the management. The only thing that keeps me going at this point is my salary and my family. But by all means please keep shopping here and enjoy your mandarin orange chicken. Just know your money isnt going to the happy faces you see at the checkout who truly deserve to reap the funds of this multibillion dollar privately held company, it's going straight to the elitest managers and corporate. Enjoy it while the bullshit facade lasts, soon it will be just another piece of shit retail grocery store. Integrity is well on its way out of this company, which is ironically also their FIRST "core value". Or if I may take a moment to vent in a more neadratholic way – FUCK THIS PLACE.

38 L 11.12.08 at 8:28 am

To all employes, part time or full time…If it sucks to work for Trader Joe's find a better place to work!

39 R 11.15.08 at 1:45 am

WOW. I worked for TJ's for almost 10 years and loved most of it. There are crappy things about everywhere you work. If it's really that bad, go somewhere else. I've looked- there's not a lot better in this industry- so good luck. Don't blame the company for being an unhappy person.
As a lot have commented on here, Trader Joe's has a great return policy, just return your bad products. Further more, the missed code dates are just that. They were missed. People, just like you, do the job and sometimes mistakes are made. Things get looked over. It's not bad management or bad employees or no attention to details, it's just a human mistake.
As far as the sucky lines, proves that there is something good about the place. At least your not paying through the nose for groceries in a huge market with a ton of empty registers. Overall they provide genuine service with quality products.

40 R 11.15.08 at 1:47 am

This is to Mark… WOW BITTER!!

41 Agent Cooper 11.22.08 at 12:00 am

R: kudos to you for making it ten years at Trader Joe's. The fact that you "loved most of it" makes me question your sanity a little bit, but hey, whatever. Were you actually on register for four hours a day during those ten years?

Mark does sound bitter, but I know exactly what he's talking about… some of the biggest idiots get promoted at TJ's. Here's what I have to say to Mark, though: be glad you didn't get the promotion. You still have your soul.

Also… maybe "R" worked there back when it was less corporate. As a veteran, I can attest to the fact that the place has changed dramatically in the last few years. They used to be a lot more fun and carefree. Now TJ's is on a mission to land in every neighborhood across the country. Small, local grocery stores protest whenever a new TJ's opens up… and guess why? Because TJ's is there to crush and destroy them. They are the Wal-Mart in sheep's clothing… just as Mark said, it's all a facade. Make no mistake: Trader Joe's has a dark side.

I'm off to bed now. Trader Joe's awaits its loyal servant for yet another soul-crushing shift.

42 Gary 12.14.08 at 11:22 pm

I bought a prime rib at Trader Joe's earlier today with the intention of cooking it and serving six of my friends. I had never shopped at TJ before but had seen an ad for prime rib at 9.99/lb. Once I seasoned it
and cooked it for over two hours, I took it out of the oven and began to carve it. At least 50% of it was fat. Not just the kind of fat that ripples through most meats but this was so dense that you couldn't even trim around it. I had thrown away my receipt and only had the approx amount of the sale and approx time of day that I bought it.

I called the store right away, asked for the manager and explained the situation, and the manager said "No problem. Just tell me about how much you spent and I will either give you a replacment or a refund, your choice." He also said that it was not necessary for me to bring in the bad meat, but that if I did save it to please bring it in and he would send it back to his vendor to show them the kind of crap they have been sending TJ.

This was simple, fast, and efficient. Why would you send an email? What a moron! Pick up the phone and call the manager, you chicken shit!!

43 Trader Joe sucks 01.06.09 at 1:03 pm

The aisles are so thin, the lines are so long but worst off all their inventory sucks. They are always out of stock.

They suck, I wish they would close.

44 Leigh 01.09.09 at 12:13 pm

Most of you people don't know what you are talking about. My husband is a full-timer at TJ's and has loved every minute of it! Tj's is a fantastic company to work for even for the "part timers". I know for a fact 'part timers" are paid more than any other grocery chain and even eligible for benefits after 20 hours!! The benefits are great as well!! The health ins is wonderful and the charge to employees is next to nothing! My husband works very hard and does everything that any part timer has to do, stocking shelves, register, bagging, bringing in carts!! In these times, be thankful you have a job with a good company and stop your whining!!

45 Jake 01.10.09 at 1:08 am

Plenty of grocery stores accidentally leave expired produce on their shelves. I've seen it at A&P, Food Emporium, D'Agostino, Wild Oats, Whole Foods, you name it. Four is too many and whoever's in charge is clearly not running a tight ship. That being said, what kind of idiot complains about his spoiled produce on a corporate website? Airplane tickets yes, a quart of milk, no. That's not how things work. You go back and ask for a refund or at least call the local store. It sounds like the writer just lacks people skills and was too lazy to use the proper modes of communication.

46 jose Navarro 01.10.09 at 11:29 pm

People who work at Trader joes are nothing but a bunch of morons who think they have the best job in the world. They don't realize that top chain grocery stores are also offering organic foods at excellent prices. I mean really how smart do you have to be to sell two-buck chuck!

47 Trader Joe 01.15.09 at 7:41 pm

Hey, how many of you have seen this article?:

Three of the four pictured are no longer employed with TJ's. The one that still is? Well, THAT PERSON IS A SPECIALIST (Second tier of being a full-timer). Can you guess whom it is?

48 John 04.13.09 at 9:14 pm

I've been working at Trader Joe's on the East Coast for a while, now, and it's one of the best companies I've ever been involved with. I don't plan on being there forever and as soon as the job market picks back up I'm off to continue on my chosen career path. As suchs I have little vested interest in upholding TJ's reputation. But, for someone who is looking at this company as a temporary stop-gap, I have to admit that I find the core philosophies involved in TJ's operations – if followed by the individual stores (which are fully autonomous) – create one of the best customer service experiences I've ever seen.

The store I work at sticks to the TJ's model 100% and I really enjoy my work environment, I've never encountered a customer who left the store unhappy… despite any problems that may have arisen during their stay (and we're talking about a HUGE store, here), we will return and exchange absolutely anything, we'll make price concessions without batting an eyelash and we like the customers and the customers like us.

The biggest complaints that I receive from customers are that the lines are too long (which they are, but they move fast), that we've discontinued one of their favorite items due to slow sales (supply and demand, after all) or that they had an item to refund or exchange. The food is extremely well-priced, with most customers over-estimating their purchases by about 20%, we receive unending compliments about the quality of the goods and the service and every customer who comes into the store has a great attitude.

Maybe I'm just lucky to work in NYC and maybe only the good employees work here and only the good customers shop here and only the good food ends up at my exact TJ's and for some reason prices at all the other TJ's in the world are magically higher than they are, here, but my Trader Joe's experience – aside from the occasional problem with a co-worker, here and there – has been overwhelmingly positive.

Bad experiences at TJ's for employees or customers are generally identical to every other workplace squabble or miscommunication. The difference between every other workplace and TJ's, though, is that someone at Trader Joe's will work hard to ensure everyone comes out happy, as long the lines of communication are open and honest.

If you buy one thing or two things or three things or four things or five things and they're past date, bring them back to the store and say "these are all past date. I'd like a full refund." You will receive a full refund.

Your other option is to complain when, really, there's nothing to complain about.

49 randy 05.16.09 at 9:57 pm

I HATE Trader Joe's and have a wbsite dedicated to thier crappy employees and food.

please sign myguest book…

Thnks your site ROCKS !

50 randy 05.16.09 at 9:58 pm

Trader Joe's SUCKS !

51 Luke 07.19.09 at 9:57 pm

First off, if you ever have problems with a product and are not satisfied with it then TAKE IT BACK TO THE STORE! I am a frequent shopper at Trader Joe's and every time I am not satisfied with a product or bought a product that is spoiled, I bring it back and I get a 100% refund… NO QUESTIONS ASKED. I even get to swap it for another one. So I get my money back plus I get to select a fresh product. Why would you go to the website for a refund when you can just stop by the store and get an immediate refund? You waited an entire month for a reply on your refund request and never got a response… if anything I would have waited a week and if no reply then I'd go to the store… unless you don't like interacting with people face-to-face?

Another thing… the goal of Trader Joe's is NOT to be the only store customers shop at but to be the FIRST STORE PEOPLE SHOP AT. They don't expect their customers to buy everything they need at their store. Their goal is for customers to come in to Trader Joe's first and buy most of their necessary items and then go to some big supermarket chain to buy remaining items (like a customer's preference for their favorite pop or beer, certain produce, detergent, shampoo, soap, paper towels, toilet paper, exotic spices, etc.). I get most of the items I need or that I love at Trader Joe's… but I don't get everything. I go to the other supermarket chains to pick up my favorite beverage, beer, bathroom supplies, and certain produce that are on sale. It's this approach and attitude by Trader Joe's that separates them from their competitors… and the reason why they have been so freakin successful and expanding so quickly.

52 Daave 08.06.09 at 1:36 am

I have yet to ever consume any food or drink sold by Trader Joe's that even remotely tasted good. I, without a show of doubt, believe that Trader Joe's is all hype with all of this goody, goody earthy tripe. They get a lot of customers hoodwinked by all of this organic hoopla. Is going organic really all that superior? A growing number of skeptics think not. Save your money; Trader Joe's isn't worth it.

53 CDarcy 08.06.09 at 3:51 am

You're an idiot. First thing you do is go to the store with your expired goods and your receipt. Most corporate-owned supermarkets are instructed to accept unused goods back with no question since they value you more as a customer than they do the 30 cents they make on the muffins.

Also, just because food is past its sell-by date doesn't make it bad. They are notoriously conservative. If the Brussels sprouts looked good, then they probably are good. Meat is the only thing you need to worry about. Don't be pussy.

54 James 08.08.09 at 11:11 am

I've worked at TJs for 9 mos. now and since I've started there they stress nothing else but the rotation of product the checking of dates. The products that Tjs sells have shorter shelf life and needs to be consumed due to the all natural/no preservatives/organic nature. It's not Costco People!! Plus shoppers are picky…they like to dig for dates unnecessarily, making a mess of proper rotation of products/dates.
Tj is not a Whole Food/Health Food store…They are a specialty foods (hard to find ethnic foods). Tjs also has a no agrument return policy…no receipt necessary. If you dont like something bring it back. They'll even let you try something right there in the store….just ask! Any product with some exceptions.
Anyways you Tj bashing morons have irrational expectations of Trader Joes and are Idiots!

55 MF 08.16.09 at 9:06 am

I worked for a Trader Joe's on the east coast for a couple of years. It was the second worst job I've ever had in my life. Only beaten out by the small family business that I worked for where the owner obviously beat his wife and kids who were also the majority of his workforce.

They didn't pay a living wage relative to their location. They start you low, promise you raises and expect you to rise above and beyond.

Their health benefits were pointless since I couldn't afford the copay.

Many managers dipped frequently in the company pool.

A few managers showed up for work intoxicated frequently, and while it was obvious, nothing was done about it.

One manager had an employee complain about sexual harrasment (he definately did it. This guy was the creepiest of creeps) and after they mishandled the whole ordeal, he was simply moved to another store.

Management was often verbally abusive to their employees, constantly demeaning them so that they wouldn't feel like they deserved a fair wage (again, I'm talking just enough to pay the bills).

The place is like a cult. Drink the kool-aid, sing the song, chant the mantra and do not under any circumstances think about what you are doing or why and you will go far. Otherwise you are totally expendable.

I could go on and on, but the most important thing I can say is this; don't work for them. You are better off homeless and starving.

56 grocery store guy 09.26.09 at 3:52 pm

I understand what your complaint is. However if you just went to their counter and asked for a refund you wouldn't have had to bad mouth them just because of your own lack of responsibility. I work at a different Chicago-land grocery store and I can tell you from almost 20 years in the business, stuff sometimes is found on the shelves past the expiration date. Now I understand you being upset as I often find these mistakes when I shop at Meijer, dominicks, jewel,ultra foods, aldi and many other grocers and it does not please me (notice I check the dates nobodies going to hold your hand in this life). However, if it were a major problem the store would more than likely already be out of business, the government has inspectors as well as every store conducts their own. It's not good business for anyone and has nothing to do with how terrible a store is run, often it is a customer moving things around. I see customers put things into their carts only to ditch them in many random places in the store as well as other good people trying to help and putting things back on shelfs after they are expired. I agree you should NEVER pay for something that is expired and you absolutely deserve a new product or your money back (Aldi will give you both), but to act like a child and have a tantrum really tells everyone why they should wish to NEVER HAVE YOU AS A CUSTOMER. Your online rant is ignorant, pig headed and shows you deal with things in an immature manner. So my suggestion is to stop complaining online as you only seem to be able to make everyone aware of how angry and ignorant you are. Next time ask a manager, just a thought.

57 jose A Navarro 11.01.09 at 1:08 pm

Trader joe's is a racist grocery store; therefore, you will never see a trader's in Oxnard, Santa Paula, and Fillmore. But is better that way. They are starting to build Fresh and Easy markets, which are by far better than Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's don't like hispanic customer's. I shopped at the one in Ventura, until I heard one of the dumb guys tell the manager. "When did we start serving Mexicans", That really pissed me off. I will never shop there again. I hope one day, a true organic store with good prices will wipe Trader Joe's off the market, believe me anything can happen!!!!

58 trader joe's part-timer. 11.14.09 at 7:30 pm

i'm so glad i found this site, if just for the small comfort i felt while reading about some of the other part-timer's experiences.

i've been working at tj's for more than a year now, and i have grown to truly, truly despise it.

it's a complete and total boys club in which the bosses favor the pretty, young girls they themselves hired based on those qualities alone. bosses easily get away with making sexist remarks on a daily basis, they sexualize their female workers and walk around on power trips all day and night long there. management is beyond awful, my captain likes to think of himself as the "good guy" because he wants us to govern ourselves when really that's the coward's way out.

the amount of favoritism and sexism i've encountered there in this past year has literally spiraled me into the worst depression of my life.

i know, i know, why don't i just quit? i've been looking for another job with equivalent pay & benefits and so far no luck. :(

i think this company loves to feature itself under the guise of an amazing progressive company but in reality it's full of huge gaping holes in the "progressive" area.

59 jerod 01.16.10 at 4:02 am

You my friend are the most stupid ass hole that I have run acrossed. How long do you think perishable food lasts.

60 this place sucks 01.25.10 at 4:57 am

don't EVER work for trader joes. they suck at eveything.

61 jaded part timers 01.26.10 at 12:05 am

Well let me start off by saying i've worked for the company for 3 years and some of my relatives 20+ years. There are good stores where managment is on the ball and everybody is happy. The ones that I see being compained on here about are far and few between from what I here from a lot of part-timers who have worked for TJ's for years you always run into the captain who wants to control everything and then you have the one who doesn't wanna deal with the resposibilities of being one. I've had both types of captains and there is nothing fun about it but i've had way worse bosses at other companys. All I can say and it does work most of the time if there is a serious issue call HR ( it can be anonymous) because you can compain on here till your blue in the face but it will get nowhere trust me it may not get rid of that shitty merchant but you can get a compromise out of it. Especially with the sexual harrasement I see being mentioned because even though your captain might take it lightly the people above them have zero tolerance for that behaivor and even with part-timer/full-timer sex scandals are at least in my region is a instant firing on the spot. There are things you can do your not powerless as some of your managers might make you feel TJ's is by no means perfect but be glad you got a job because with the economy the way it is a lot of people would kill to have it so stop whining or quit and make room for someone who would appreciate it more.

62 Jean P 01.28.10 at 1:43 am

I've been a part-timer for two years at a Trader Joe's in New Jersey. It's certainly not the worst job I've had; I get full health insurance coverage after 20 hours per week, co-pays $20 or less doctors and perscription, raises every six months and a whopping 10% off.
All that being said, if upper management thinks I'm being 'insubordinate-' a judgment made at their discretion, i can get written up without warning or a valid reason. They can also judge, also at their discretion, whether I'm 'productive' enough, or have a 'sense of urgency' while I'm working. As a result, since most TJ's aren't unionized, I have NO, and I mean NO, job security, which means those 20 hours I need for benefits can disappear in a matter of days and those those fantastic benefits are down the drain.
More often than not, part timers who have moved to the higher end of the payscale after many years are treated with such disrespect that most request a transfer or just look for another job completely because upper management doesn't want the higher payed employees working full time. Despite the fact that most of these employees work in a grocery store just support themselves, just like they do, but don't get paid fifty thousand a year. In short, the more money you make, the worse they treat you, including getting reprimanded on a daily basis or getting written up, when the opportunity arises, for things as basic as getting angry with a manager, who was probably telling you something like he 'doesn't like your body language' or the like in the first place. There's no arguing with them because you'll just get written up, or fired depending on how much they don't like you.
And those wonderful $1 max (impossible) raises are also biased. They're never guaranteed, and they'll judge you on things like your tone of voice, facial expressions and 'working safe.' (i.e. using ladders)
I can't speak for all stores since I've only worked in one, or all management and everyone's experiences, these are just the ones I've, personally, had. I do generally get treated well mostly because I work so hard I end up waking up sore on a daily basis and sleeping for about ten hours a night. But, of course, that's not enough for them anyway. I can confidently say that we're not as 'cool' as all the wonderful, smiling, pain in the ass, customers think we are.
It's frustrating, not worth that frustration, and ridiculous very often. Management takes themselves way too seriously, It really is a 'boy's club'; you'll come across a female manager about 1 in 8 instances. It's always excuses after excuses after excuses with them. That company is their own worst enemy, and they're going to pay a price one day soon. I always say TJ's is going to be that place that you'll one day say, 'I knew that store when…' because they're not invincible, but they'll never admit it.
But when push comes to shove, it's just a job working retail in a grocery store.

63 Lynn C 03.26.10 at 6:05 pm

I want to add to Trader Joe's arrogance. I called in today to ask about a marketing opportunity. I guess they only do the fearless flyer and radio. That is fine I get it. But the manner in which they told me was incomprehensibly rude. They said, if you send anything in, we'll throw it in the trash. Really? How about we get so many inquiries so it is unlikely we will respond but we really appreciate your interest. Our address is…FYI the corporate address is easily found on the Internet and the customer service just wouldn't give it to me. I know I shouldn't have asked, I wanted to see how she would act. When I told them that for her rudeness I was going to boycott Trader Joes she said "good" and hung up on me. Honestly, even though a lot of the produce recently at Trader Joes has been rotty – they in store people are sooo friendly. I guess the corporate doesn't care how they behave.

64 Deborah Smith 04.22.10 at 11:40 pm

I have found that many of Trader Joe's cheeses are old and taste sour. I used to be impressed with the store… but after I returned some health food bars and I was given a hard time and told that the corporate store would return my money to me…. I waited and not money was sent. then I complained to the corporate store.. and the woman who managed the Trader Joe's in the Hollywood district of Portland Or. called and said she would send cash in the mail . The money never showed up. I went in their three more times before a manager finally returned my cash. I will never ever buy at their store again.Their products are not very good … I could get better cheese at Safeway.Their customer service is worse than poor is is outright unbelievable!. Not only was I insulted by being made to wait for a refund .. I wasted a whole lot of my time… Never again!

65 Dailey Grind 04.25.10 at 2:51 am

I agree with Jean P. Working for Trader Joe's is like being a kid in a Kindergarten class. One Captain says, "No Cussing at Work!" then Another cusses at you. The Manager, who is called, "the Captain" has control of everything and reports directly to the Regional Manager. What they say goes and sometimes it changes by the second. It wears you out. Honestly, it has all ways rubbed me the wrong way. Why can't work just be a place that you go to work and you come home… you get paid and you live your life?.
If you challenge the Captain then they usually do something to take you out of the picture, like you get undesirable shifts or you have to work on the register. And there are many things that should be challenged like people working after hours without pay, or being overworked with no union representation. One of which they were recently sued for. Maybe other retail jobs are like this too… but maybe retail jobs at big corporations are undesirable. Micro niches give the illusion of personalization, as do the hand painted signs… but when it comes down to it, it's still one size fits all and it's still impersonal and inefficient. Again concerning working there: How many jobs have you gone to where the Manager demands that you have respect and integrity as part of the job title? Isn't that implied in every day life? This sounds like Religious or Ethical ideology being pushed on someone. That is not professionalism. These people want your soul and they all ways push to get more from you. I have been in other situations that were communitarian in the same way, but they were also, situations in which you could question the leadership or have more input in the overall process. When an organization is communitarian that is the only fair way to have it. Since you are involved in a group in a personal way, you SHOULD have input. It's personal and you are a willing participant in something akin to family, so it is your natural right to say that you don't like what the group is doing if that's the case. Also, The whole big deal around following every order without question is totally bogus. It's an American pastime to have moxy, and challenge your superiors! In regards to the person who quotes Abe Lincoln… I don't think we're exactly dealing with Abe Lincoln here… Come on, I for one one am all about making leadership accountable. What good does it do if you complain about something at work if HR refers you back to the Captain. A faceless corporation is still a faceless corporation. The fact is: you have a small amount of people benefiting greatly from the company, while the workers bust their ass and get knocked off some chump change. The people I know who work at Trader Joe's still barely get by with all the health benefits and being capped out with the highest salary possible. Raise kids on TJs income? if you work Part Time (which is up to 39 hours) good luck! Inflation makes that impossible at $14 or $18 an hour. The 60s generation has got a huge blind spot with this store… they have their organic food and their nostalgic music… but just like the song goes, "What's goin' down?"

66 deenor 04.28.10 at 6:32 pm

i work at trader joes. i was really looking for a good article on "why i hate trader joes," so perhaps i could commiserate. unfortunately, this is a stupid article.
1) i think you're exaggerating. at my store, you will never find that many expired products.
2) if you do [find that many expired products,] the managers of your store SUCK.

67 deenor 04.28.10 at 6:35 pm

let's talk about the treatment of employees! This place is lauded so often as a progressive store, but it sucks for workers!

68 Hippy Lover 05.15.10 at 11:00 am

The crowds of rude shoppers at Trader Joe's make shopping at the "big box store" seem nice. Pushy, crowded, and expensive – that's what Trader Joe's means to me.

I for one love how in one breath the modern day "hippies" proclaim that we should "buy local, organic food" – then head off to Trader Joe's for "anything but local" in small expensive quantities.

Those of you who work hourly jobs at Joe's and complain that you "can't make ends meet" – should get a degree… else keep working there and just wait until Obamacare kicks in to add a 3% to 10% deduction from your hourly rates. How will ends meet then? Do the math… 10% a year to have mediocre access to health care. Why couldn't everyone have just bought health insurance before Obamacare? That's all Obamacare does – make you buy insurance. Make the Insurance companies rich. I'll bet you could have bought better coverage for less than 10% of your yearly earnings… but that requires planning and investigation. Better the let the IRS and Federal Gov't decide for you. (that is sarcasm)

But I rant, and this is about Trader Joe's.

Anyway, NO I am not a fan of Trader Joes… nor hippies for that matter.

69 jose Navarro 05.22.10 at 1:48 am

Trader Joe's really does suck? All employees seem to be stuck up; their products have to be eaten in one day or else they rott; I have a friend who was making 18 an hour and still quit; he was tired of the people who work there; they tend to have a lot of favortism with some employees; If you don't kiss ass; your ass will be out the door; if your not white caucasian, you will be treated differently; they say they are not racist, but once they hire you they begin to talk;

70 traders joe 06.07.10 at 7:47 pm

Lineup out the door on a Monday night. Trader _Blows_.

71 neil 06.22.10 at 3:16 am

the tjs in SoCal have all been good to me so far, and the lines are usually short. anyway, after reading the rant, i have absolutely no sympathy for this guy. in fact, he acts like a whiny, idiotic douche.

btw, anyone who says "obamacare" needs to be put out of their misery….

72 Set the controls 07.25.10 at 10:55 am

1. A good deal, in my experience 50-60% of the food that carries a Trader Joe's label, is nearly tasteless. I am thankful that a lot of the processed and unprocessed food there doesn't have a lot of preservatives and filler because my kids have a lot of food allergies. There is something amiss here though, and I think it is connected to one of the Five Pillars of Trader Joe's-that they cut out the middleman to bring us lower prices. I have no reason to doubt that they do, but I have a hunch that they go to second-tier suppliers to sustain their product lines. I can't think of any other reason for such consistently mediocre-tasting food. Of course some of their food is great, I can't speak for it all. Maybe in Illinois that frozen fish tastes good, but on the coast, to my less-than-gourmand taste, it is just not good.

2. Why would a corporate website have a place to submit feedback if it meant it to be a black hole? Of course the path of least resistance is to return it to the store, but in the best of circumstances positive feedback should be answered as a polite courtesy, and negative feedback should be answered as well.

3. The store is very popular. At least you know there's high product turnover-on the scale of a high-volume asian supermarket. This cannot be said for Giant and Safeway stores across the DC metro area.

73 ppcpussy 10.05.10 at 7:36 am

Why don't you just admit you're a geek and were too much of a pussy to go back to your local store, which is probably 5 mins away and get a refund? Instead, you complained via the website because you were too chicken shit to SPEAK to someone. There's nothing more to it than that. If you went back they would have refunded you on the spot but you're too much of a dweeb.

74 werty 10.07.10 at 6:19 pm

So you are telling me that I should have to waste 30 minutes of my day to get a $11 refund?

I reached out through the most convenient channel, the website. They never replied or anything like that, so they did not care. I moved on by the next day, and no longer support the company. The web should be a 24-7 support channel for your customers. Email is always open. The fact that they never replied proves that this company does not care. It was not me being a pussy as much as it was them having shitty customer support.

Also if you read the comments, you will see I am not really that upset about any of it, but it is a good angle to get more people to comment and complain about their own experiences. There are many people who agree that Trader Joes has terrible customer support.

Most companies will at least write you back when you send in a complaint. It would be one thing if my complaint said "Fuck you I bought spoiled shit" but it was written well, and spoke of my dissatisfaction with my experience. Not a rant there… that is what the blog is for.

I still not think I ever went shopping there again. They probably have lost thousands of dollars because they did not answer a simple web form.

According to their website:
"General Feedback

We sincerely value your comments and read every message you send us. With 99% of our people out in the stores or traveling the world searching for amazing products, it may take some time for us to get back to you. And since you are as passionate about our products as we are, we just know you'll understand. Thanks.

Please review the General Feedback Form below, fill it out and click on the "Send My Inquiry!" button. To select another form or to return to the Contact Us form selection page, click here. Required fields are denoted by an asterisk."

It should actually read: "Don't Give A Fuck!"

75 michael 11.03.10 at 2:45 pm

i work at trader joe's. the main problem is that the management only care about themselves and their shift. not about what happens after they are on the clock. if their shift looks good…. great. all of the responsibility for sales and customer service is placed on the part time crew members along with all of the blame for anything that goes wrong. they dont even take write ups and reviews seriously. making stuff up and then forcing you to sign it or loose your job. if you truly want a good customer service. open your own store.

76 michael 11.03.10 at 7:28 pm

ps: people come to trader joes not for the asshole managers… the shitty food…. or the outragous prices. they come for the customer service of the part timers. and to that manager who made the comment about what goes on behind the captains desk. i bet you have no idea what goes on outside of it.

77 Joshua 11.04.10 at 8:24 am

Wow, so many years and opinions on here, I read them all. I get the authors point, but I also agree with tons of the comments about trader joes return policy… heck, after these three years you could STILL return the products for your money back… they are like that… hassle free returns.

Anyway, to each their own, Im sorry people hate working there, but I have to say this… for the ones saying they are expensive… ?? TJ's is dirt cheap!

78 Amy 11.09.10 at 4:35 pm

"I reached out through the most convenient channel, the website. They never replied or anything like that, so they did not care. I moved on by the next day, and no longer support the company. The web should be a 24-7 support channel for your customers. Email is always open. The fact that they never replied proves that this company does not care. It was not me being a pussy as much as it was them having shitty customer support."

I've worked on and off for the company for four years. Not going to bother to get into what it's like to work there, however, I would like to address your concern. One of the things about this company is that everything they do is to cut down on price. I am genuinely baffled at people calling TJ's "expensive". Outside of discount grocery stores of very questionable quality, it's consistently the cheapest food I ever see. You can't get organic, preservative-free bread at Safeway for anything less than 5 or 6 bucks where it's less than 3 at TJs. Anyway, my point is that maintaining a web site, running those frequent buyer card systems and other things that would require a much bigger IT staff adds LAYERS OF COST to your food. So as a rule, Trader Joe's does not do these things. I'm sure they read your email, figured you are weird for not having gone to your local store and threw it out. As someone else mentioned earlier, they have much bigger fish to fry. It would be more appropriate to report to them whether you got an allergic reaction to the food or found glass in it or something like that. Simply being past expiration, which is one of those things about any grocery store in the planet that just happens, is not something that is a cost effective use of their time. It does not take 30 minutes, otherwise, for you to get your money back, assuming you are not seriously so weird that you boycott TJs forever based on this one odd shopping experience. You go in, don't need to bring ANYTHING in and talk to the manager. Then you do your shopping and get the returns deducted from your bill. Tacks on perhaps an extra three minutes to your life. Anyway, I hope that helps you understand why TJs sometimes seems weird. Any practices they have that are weird: discontinuing your favorite cheese, not advertising a lot, not answering your question that could easily be handled on a local level, are all intended to reduce overhead and make the food cheaper. They also don't advertise themselves as a health store. They are a unique grocery store that gives you good values. A lot happens to be organic and all natural because that is what their customer base wants.

79 Clyde 12.12.10 at 12:42 am

Werty, I don't know what world you grew up in, any store/retailer I've dealt with in the last 40 years handled returns at the store, not at their website. Lazy creeps with "the world owes me everything" attitudes like yourself make life miserable for everyone the creeps interact with. Get a grip on reality, for goodness sake grow up, get off your lazy butt and return defective products to the point of purchase.

80 Mike 01.06.11 at 5:52 pm

I work for Trader Joes and I agree that it's best to handle returns like this at the store level and we are generally really good about it (no receipt needed, no argument even when the customer's request or complaint is totally non-sensical).

On the other hand, I have to also agree with comments about how awful, vain, arrogant, and crappy our management is getting these days. They want to micro-manage EVERYTHING now. They never admit to being wrong, even when they clearly are. Don't ask questions, just OBEY the mighty omnipotent full timer or captain, no matter how stupid they're being. Lately I've noticed they're even starting to micro-manage your EMOTIONAL life right down to your "body language" and "tone of voice", which, of course, they feel no need to modulate in themselves. Even when NO such message was meant to be conveyed, they've got this really mysterious and baffling talent for "reading" secret messages hidden in your body movements and voice. WEIRD.

This is what happens when people with no real talent or management training become managers in a company which just does not monitor said individuals and lets them go around thinking of themselves as godlike, perfect beings. Sad. It never used to be like this while John Shields was CEO. I blame Dan Bane….Where's the "WOW" DAN?
(if you work for TJ's you know what I mean there :)

81 Jose A Navarro 02.06.11 at 4:12 pm

To: Werty;

I have been shopping at Fresh and Easy since i posted my thoughts on your Webstie, and I can assure you that i love it than Trader Joe's. They have good things to offer and mostly at a fraction that Trader Joe's. I love how some of the workers at this site are expressing their opinions about this company. I heard from former and present employees that this place is a crap hole to work for. Well, I just wanted to let you know that you should shop at Fresh and Easy and then maybe get back on your site and express your thoughts.

82 Cocktail, Fruit 02.20.11 at 8:18 am

Been working at TJ for 3 months and have enjoyed it. Our management is great (save for maybe one person…) and the work is what you expect. It is all just about attitude, and from the looks of it many of the people above have a negative outlook. Customers can be a pain but hey–everyone is a pain in the ass sometimes. My biggest complaint is when people don't bother saying 'HELLO' back to you when you are about to check them out, but I digress…

This page is way too long and I read all of the comments. And maybe in a few more months TJ's will "suck out my soul," but hey, it's a job and I signed up for it. The moment I start bitching about it on some fruity blog I think I will save TJ's the two week notice and just kill myself.

83 Mike 03.03.11 at 4:30 am

@ Cocktail, Fruit:

So working for Trader Joe's for 3 months qualifies you to write off the criticism of other employees as just a "negative outlook"? Try being with the company for almost twenty years like me and THEN see how you feel. I've worked with probably half the full timers in my state. There are good ones and bad ones, however, it's much easier now than ever to be a "bad" full timer, thanks to the uber-commandant status accorded full timers since Dan Bane took over.

Let me reverse the situation. Just for argument's sake. Suppose the next time you get your review the full timers give you an overdose of unfounded vague criticism (this has happened to every part timer I've ever worked with sooner or later). Why don't you just try telling the full timer that all the members of management criticizing you have a "bad attitude" and see what happens? I doubt you'll do it, even if you believe you're right.

And therien lies the arrogance I alluded to in my first post. When management criticizes a part timer, it's ALWAYS called "constructive criticism", but when a part timer openly criticizes management, no matter how well founded or true the claim, it's called a "bad attitude".

Trader Joe's management whines and complains and criticizes ALL THE TIME, trust me, it's just that when they do it, something gets done about it right away and it's always called something more respectable than "whining". It's all a matter of power and how much of you have, not how right you are. See how the "system" works? A lot like other big corporations, only I thought "we" were supposed to be "different". Are we?

FYI, I'm not a "problem employee" and generally get along well with management (I couldn't have survived with TJ's this long otherwise), but I do not pull punches when it comes to telling the truth about problems within our company and the people who claim to be "running it". The whole management chain right up to Dan Bane needs to be much more open to honest criticism than it is at present. And when you talk about this being some "fruity blog" to see these comments on, just remember that there really is NO official forum for us to voice these comments and people have been FIRED for speaking out in more mainstream venues like Facebook. It's not like it's easy to criticize our company from within, hence comments on sites like this one.

Anyway, welcome aboard and I wish you the best of luck with TJ's. The way the company's been going, you'll need all the luck you can get to hang in there for any length of time.

84 sam 03.17.11 at 11:04 am

I love this, a website that lets people or former employees talk about their experiences at trader joes; well what i want to say is basically i worked at trader joes for about 2 years in 2005-2007; i no longer worked there since i finished and graduated from college; like most people who start off working at trader joes, it seems as a happy lovely place; well dont be fooled because it is not. I can definetly agree that most of the negative comments that were posted on this site about trader joes are all true and even more; there were days i did not feel like going to work. Behind all those nice smiles you see when you walk into trader joes, well all i can say is that is not real, it is all a show we put on for the customer; for those people who still work for the company 10-20 years, wow, i would have been insane by now; This company is not what is lived to be; dont judge a book by its cover they all say

85 Todd 03.20.11 at 4:08 am

I recently quit working at TJ's after a little over three and a half years without another job lined up because I just couldn't take the bullshit character assassination campaign that I'd been a victim of for two years straight. I've never understood any person who deigns to think that someone that complains is whining… they're not the same thing.

A complaint goes like this, "Hey, I notice that you guys have cut Mike's hours lately… he's been nothing but consistent on the Box and Frozen for two years, can't you guys go easy on him? This is Wal-Mart shit, man… it isn't right to do this kind of thing to a loyal employee."

This is what whining sounds like, "Mooooooooommmm, Suzie's looking at me funny, and I don't like it!!!"

A complaint is a legitimate thing that should be taken seriously, and if you have little to no experience on a specific subject, you shouldn't attempt to speak on it. And as to the guy that keeps mentioning that TJ's is racist, I think you confuse the one manager in the one store you went to with the company as a whole, which, in the case of the store that I worked at, 5 of the 8 managers were Mexican guys, as well as many of the part-timers.

Also, Fillmore, from what I recall, is a small town surrounded by orchards with a small overall population… that's likely the main reason they haven't opened a store there… there's no money in it for them. I worked at one of the stores in Nothern L.A. County, with a population of nearly half a million people and it still took a petition and five years of time to get them to open one there.

Not everything is about race, my friend… it sounds like you heard an asshole speaking rudely, but I heard Mexican customers that barely spoke English talk shit about me right in front of my face and assumed that since I'm White, that I didn't understand what they said… and they were wrong. But, unlike you, being a customer, I couldn't do anything about it, while you could, and likely didn't, attempt to confront anybody about it.

The only color retail corporations care about is green, they don't give a shit what color your skin is, as long as your money's real.

And that complaint I mentioned earlier? That was something I told our Captain, and that's when they started lying on my Reviews and harrassing me about the fact that I didn't have a shit-eating grin when I walked into the store everyday. A store that cut my hours down to nothing when I started calling bullshit on the favoritism and hypocrisy oozing out of those douchebag managers… I'm a fucking veteran of military service overseas in hostile conditions, and even I couldn't take it anymore, so I left.

But I made them work to get rid of me, and that's what I'd rather be remembered for, because I'm never working for a retail chain again.

86 Mimi 04.05.11 at 12:29 pm

Obviously you are not aware of their generous return policy. I would like to say that some of the customers are complete jerks and if you don't like it please shop elsewhere.

87 Colombo 05.02.11 at 10:16 am

After reading all of the above comments from TJs employees, most of your complaints seem more to do with retail in general than TJs specifically. Aside from working off the clock and other legal issues that are easy to resolve quickly (because corporate doesn't want to get sued), I don't see anything wrong with it. Being written up for working too slowly, dragging your feet, or not being friendly are completely justified and necessary. It doesn't matter whether or not you're feeling peachy inside, you've got to smile and be friendly for customers and work at a good pace to get everything done on time. Oh, and not liking your boss? Try and find an industry where that doesn't happen; it doesn't exist. In retail, you should be able to get along with different kinds of people.

I happen to work for a large corporate coffee chain, and I hear the same complaints from my own coworkers. The fact is, a lot of people think retail is a loser job so anyone can do it. Yeah, anyone can technically stock shelves or brew coffee, but you need the right people skills to succeed and make your customers happy every day. Retail isn't for everyone, but then again, neither is anything. I, for one, can't stand to be stuck sitting down in some office looking at spreadsheets. I'm much happier working with people and moving around.

Trader Joe's has the best pay and benefits in the industry, bar none. Sure, there are a few bad apple managers, but in the grand scheme of things I think the company's doing very well. I know a lot of people who work there and they are all highly satisfied with the job.

88 iltepe 05.28.11 at 4:36 pm

I used to work at Trader Joe's and experienced the same same problems of others that have posted here. costomers would be shocked to know how long dairy products set out on the docks in sunlight after being taken off the trucks. As far as upper management goes, they try to cut every possible corner they can so they get their maximum bonus. Talk about huge ego's. I had a captain go to a local park playground to get sand from a sandbox to complete a beach theme for an upcoming holiday weekend. Yes! Playground sand spread around the store.
Another Captain I had, came to work drunk most of the time, and was someone who was unstable and you never knew when you were in her crosshairs. It made for a lot of unecessary stress. I finally ended up leaving.

89 RT 07.09.11 at 1:56 pm

Very, very interesting read! As a long time manager at TJs, I was not surprised but very upset to see some of the negative, soul-crushing comments made by former and current employees. I changed careers many years ago because I was in a truly soulless business and wanted a job where I could help people. Here's my advice to any employee frustrated by the behavior of a manager. If you have a problem with a manager, talk to him/her. Approach them and let them know you have something you need to share with them. They will be curious and will probably talk to you as soon as they can. Let them know face to face what the issue is. If they are a good manager, they will listen and respect your efforts to resolve it in a straightforward manner rather than going straight to their boss, or bad mouthing them to other crew members, or just silently harboring a grudge. If they are not a good manager, and do not give you the respect to hear you out and help solve your complaint, then take it to the next level, because at this point, the bad manager will have deserved it.

90 jtrader 01.21.12 at 1:12 am

The most frustrating part of working for the joe for the past five years has been the decline in compensation potential and the inability to get promoted. I have watched many people get promoted because they were favored by the captain. These are people i trained mind you. The joe needs to understand that the lack of professionalism and care for the futures (liveability) if their crew will be their undoing. If one feels unappreciated, cant count on consistent length of hours per week, and is told to just keep working harder and harder in the midst of declining review scores and wage increases, APATHY will rear its ugly head. If the joe goes back to its roots and demonstrates it really CARES ABOUT THE CREW WERE IT COUNTS in the pocketbook then we will regain what we once had. Employees numbers are just as important as corporate numbers!!!

91 cosmos 03.25.12 at 12:53 am

A $13 an hour manager does not deserve any respect…

92 Jus 04.26.12 at 9:00 am

Daaayum! So much for my application! Hate 'em already and never even been in one! This many similar experiences is all the red flag I need! Precidateit!

93 Sandra Collins 05.14.12 at 4:59 pm

I also hear that the dairy products are accepted at the warehouses at high temperatures and that they accept the product so they won't loose out on profits!
And what's with all the imported garbage that they sell. Product is contaminated and spoiled because these third world countries have no food safety rules that they follow!
And what about sourcing locally?!?! And not using excessive packaging and plastic!
Don't Shop TJs! Please! Go to American owned and respected grocers-even if you may happen to pay a little more!
Hey and what's up with the last product I ever purchased from those idiots? Meat stew was comprised from two different countries!!!
Disgusting! I hope I don't dies from food poisoning.

94 Sandra Collins 05.14.12 at 5:01 pm

I also hear that the dairy products are accepted at the warehouses at high temperatures and that they accept the product so they won't loose out on profits!
And what's with all the imported garbage that they sell. Product is contaminated and spoiled because these third world countries have no food safety rules that they follow!
And what about sourcing locally?!?! And not using excessive packaging and plastic!
Don't Shop TJs! Please! Go to American owned and respected grocers-even if you may happen to pay a little more!
Hey and what's up with the last product I ever purchased from those idiots? Meat stew was comprised from two different countries!!!
Disgusting! I hope I don't die from food poisoning.
Now I'm wondering if their facilities even have real, certified Quality Assurance employees?

95 John Wayne 09.18.12 at 10:32 pm

As an anonymous employee, trader joes is a good store to shop at, just check dates. The employees are lazy and understaffed and don't have people or time to pull the dated items you speak of. I have been there more than 5 years and my back is killing me, along with a lot of other employees I know of. Good place to shop, I would not work there unless you are a female or high school student. Trader joes has awsome food and good prices thats about it.

96 C. Holly Greene 10.21.12 at 4:37 pm

I cannot stand Trader Blows! We went there with such high hopes and came out very disappointed. We eat mostly all organic foods. But their stuff made us sick. I’m thinking they either are liars about it really being organic or where ever they manufacturer it does not take care of the produce and other goods. I think it’s a good “fake” place for those who want to believe they are somehow paying more for GMO foods making them better that way. It also was a very non feng shui stressful experience for us. Thanks for the vent!

97 Jeff Keith 12.17.12 at 7:18 pm

I just had their apple chicken sausage. At 340 mg of sodium per link, it is way too loaded with salt. It was downright disgusting. They claim it is a minimal preservative product, but with all that salt, you have to wonder if it's worth it.

98 Bill Watson 03.13.13 at 1:55 pm

Wow. The "Pro TJ" side even come across like pig anuses trying to convince you to return. I really loved the TJ ship captain that rebuked the employee complaint with "YOU LOOKED BEHIND THE CURTAIN ELVENTY ELEVEN SO MUCH PAPERWORK TO FIX THINGS". Sounds pretty indicative of the very complaints she was making. All of this stupid stuff aside, TJ's is only for closet alcoholic liberal elites that buy a bag of chips and 10 bottles of wine to cram into their ill-parked Subaru or Prius with a dog cage extending above the back seat. The bumper of said vehicle may or may not contain an Obama sticker or that COEXIST sticker. Good possibility of there being an Apple sticker on the back window and expired AAA shinies over dimple dents in the bumper from not watching where they were backing or the dog's head was in the way so "boop" they smack your car and drive away, Diane Rheme blaring like a diesel engine record player with a faulty clutch (retire you old bag or let your handler just do the show). Want a two liter of coke? Nope. Want something sweet without 8 million dark chocolate chips all over it? Not gonna happen. Shat your pants in the parking lot and need paper towels? Bwahahaha. Do you like to eat oaten tree bark in the guise of artisinal bread? Well, okay, but it will cost ya $6 because we run out of demis at 10am. Want to grab a tray of something for the office staff to nibble on during the morning meeting because the store is literally 350' from your house? Forget about it unless you work second shift. All of TJs clientele are still sleeping off the 3 buck chuck before telecommuting to work in 4 hours for a grueling day of emailing people and watching hulu or whatever crap they DVRed the night before. I do enjoy the glissando crash of glass bottles all night that they recycle and echo off of the buildings. Yeah, that place is great. And it only costs a little more….

99 TJ Sux 06.15.13 at 11:49 pm

@ Jean P
I must say that reading your description of Trader Joe's sounds almost identical to the experience I had. You're oh so right about people who are high on the payscale being singled out. They used to tell us that if we work hard we will be promoted and/or given more opportunities and that the company promotes from within. I haven't seen anyone promoted from within Trader Joe's in Southern California in almost 3 years.
I was written up at my store for pretty much everything you mentioned. Things like tone of voice or insubordination. It wasn't even remotely close to the truth, but management really doesn't care about a little thing like the truth. They want you to do the job exactly the same way they would do it.
Trader Joe's is also big on hiring people below the age of 30, because of the benefits package they offer. It's age discrimination, plain and simple. I also noticed in my time there they discriminate based on disability also. I worked with many people who had mental or physical disabilities and could do the job 10 times better than the teenage new hires that were hired as a way to make sure long time employees aren't able to get a full-time schedule each week.
Nepotism and Favoritism run rampant at Trader Joe's. If you're related to someone at TJ's or if you kiss enough ass, you're in as manager. It's that simple. It doesn't really matter that you have no people skills, don't know the products, have no leadership skills, and use TJ's as a second job. Let alone the fact that Trader Joe's like so many other markets mislabels items as organic when they are not "Certified" as organic.
I could literally write a book about Trader Joe's and the things they've done to destroy the grocery industry as we know it.

100 TJ Sux 06.22.13 at 6:05 pm

@ Jason

I agree with you that Trader Joe's has a 100% refund policy, and there is a TON of paperwork that Full-Timers go through concerning various happenings in their store, however, I do take offense to your comment that part timers aren't "privy to the things that go on behind the Captains desk." You are only a supervisor and don't know what your, Captain and Mate(s) are doing without telling you. You, my friend, are also not "privy" to many things that go on behind the Captains desk.
At my store both PT&FT crew members used the front desk as a social networking station and wouldn't get their work done because they were too busy talking amongst themselves, making personal phone calls, and spending time on Twitter or Facebook. Studies have been done that prove that the average employee spends 2.5 hours on social network sites while at work. Please, if you don't believe the comments on here go on and see what PT&FT crew past and present are saying about the company.

101 Rudy 09.08.13 at 5:29 pm

Their entrees are awful.
I feel like I'm the only person in the store who wouldn't support a life term for President Obama.

102 Seriously? 12.30.13 at 9:51 am

Perhaps your TJ's sucks, I can only speak to the ones I've been to… Amazing help, service, produce, food, perishable and long-term storage, their quality far exceeds the GMO-haven of Whole Foods. This blogs blows me away, TJ's is amazing, the people are awesome, and if you don't like friendly interactive people, go somewhere else! People complain about the stupidest things here… People here saying go to American Grocery stores, go get your poison… Well Frankly, I prefer to eat food that is safe, and not packed with poison.

People complain all the time about being a wage slave, but I encourage you to go see the complaints at Kroger's, Marsh, or some of the big box stores. Compare stories, see if you are alone in your struggles… It's a tough job, and the things described here happen everywhere. So to put it all on Trader Joe's is to continue the local blame game instead of getting to the real causes of this f'ed up system we live under…

The fact is, everything I read here happens at other grocery stores, and I am just not seeing anything of value on this blog. Just a bunch of complaining about a great company, that has better wages than most grocery stores, aside from maybe "Whole Paycheck" Foods which is a traitor to the clean food movement.

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