Trader Joe’s is one of the best places to work in the US — employees share the 7 best parts of the job

The benefits are good for the industry.

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The benefits are good for the industry.
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Rick Wilking/Reuters

  • Trader Joe’s jobs have a sterling reputation in the world of retail.
  • Glassdoor named the grocery chain as one of the best places in the US to work in 2018.
  • Business Insider scoured the web to find out what crew members like about working at Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s jobs have a solid reputation – no small feat in the often grueling world of retail work.

This year, Glassdoor named the grocery chain with a cult-like following as one of the best places to work in the US. That’s not a fluke. Trader Joe’s also made the list in 2017, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

“If you want it to be a positive experience, it will be a positive experience,” a Trader Joe’s crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA.

Business Insider spoke to employees and trawled Reddit and Quora to find out what people like best about working at the grocery chain.

Here’s what Trader Joe’s crew members had to say:


The sense of freedom

Two Trader Joe’s crew members who spoke to Business Insider emphasized the sense of freedom and flexibility the chain fosters.

“There’s no script,” one crew member from New York told Business Insider. “As long as I make sure the customer is having a great time, and I’m emphasizing Trader Joe’s values, I can talk to people about whatever I want.”

The employee added that they had never had a manager tell them to avoid speaking about certain topics with customers.

“They all love that I’m engaged,” the crew member said. “I’ve discussed politics, religion, movies, philosophy, parenting, and so many other things, all while bagging people’s groceries. It’s the best.”

And, according to one California-based employee who spoke to Business Insider, that sense of flexibility also manifests itself in the chain’s scheduling procedures.

“The scheduling is flexible and school-friendly,” the crew member told Business Insider.


A strong set of benefits

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Rick Wilking/Reuters

“As far as benefits are concerned, TJ’s does quite well,” former crew member Devon Hammer wrote in a 2012 Quora post.

He cited the chain’s “good system for vacation pay” and comprehensive health insurance plans, in particular.

Trader Joe’s insurance plans come out to $75 a month, according to the chain’s website. The store also offers a retirement plan, contributing “10% of annual salary to eligible crew members” and paid time off.

A California-based crew member told Business Insider that the store’s benefits and “great hourly wages” were a huge draw.


A focus on boosting morale

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Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

“I could list off the several little things done day-to-day in order to keep morale high, but that in and of itself is a big contributor to the attitude of the employees,” crew member Alden Aust wrote on Quora. “The company knows their reputation and bends over backwards to maintain that via free food, friendly managers and fringe benefits.”


Friendly and social coworkers

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Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

A Trader Joe’s crew member from California told Business Insider that the “lifelong friends” they made were a highlight of their work experience.

One Redditor who said they had just started a job at Trader Joe’s praised the chain’s friendly and social environment in a 2017 post.

“I just loved shopping at Trader Joe’s because every one was so nice there,” they wrote. “The vibe is still same at the other end.”

Hammer wrote on Quora that, while any workplace will have its fair share of conflicts, “the majority of workers are friendly to each other” at Trader Joe’s.

“It is easy to make friends, since the job requires being social with customers and each other,” Hammer wrote.


Understanding, competent managers

Former crew member Hayley Benham-Archdeacon wrote all about her positive experience at Trader Joe’s in a post for Lattice.

Archdeacon described her managers as competent and compassionate.

“Almost every manager I ever had somehow made me feel like I could tell them anything, personal or otherwise- even though I didn’t have a lot in common with them, since they were mostly men, mostly white and mostly older,” she wrote. “They did a lot of listening up front and opened up almost every conversation with asking what I think and then responding to what I said. I always felt trusted.”


Customers that treat crew members like human beings

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Customers can be pretty terrible to retail workers.

But one Reddit poster who said they worked at Trader Joe’s said that they found many of the customers relatively empathetic.

“At least at my store, it is more likely that people will treat you like a human being than other retail positions,” the person wrote.


A sensible chain of command

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Sometimes, having a ton of middle managers is a good thing.

“Oversight of opening and closing shifts are distributed evenly, and tasks and assignments are rotated throughout the week, which means no one is stuck taking in the frozen truck at 4 a.m. every single morning, or closing out our computers every night until midnight,” Archdeacon wrote. “Maybe that’s why managers are able to stay so nice to us.”

In addition to crew members, Trader Joe’s features a number of other nautically-themed positions.

• Merchants demonstrate a “deep commitment” to the brand and are exclusively promoted from the ranks of the crew.

• Mates are leaders within the store who direct and train the crew.

• Captains lead the entire store.

Are you a current or former Trader Joe’s employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.