12 Bizarre Rules Trader Joe’s Employees Must Follow – Eat This Not That


People who love Trader Joe’s really love Trader Joe’s, and honestly, what’s not to love? It’s affordable, has great snacks, grocery shortcuts, a freezer section with lots of simple and delicious meals and, of course, well-priced wine. It also has the friendliest and most helpful employees, but we can’t help but wonder if it’s as pleasant to work there as it is to shop there. Keep reading to find out what it’s like to work there and what kind of weird rules Trader Joe’s employees have to follow.

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BeltLandia / Flickr

While we may see tropical influenced shirts as part of the fun of Trader Joe’s, the distinctions between the shirts actually represent rank in the Trader Joe’s hierarchy, according to Spoon University. Basic staff, known as “crew”, must wear solid color t-shirts with flowers on the back, while store managers are those who wear the Hawaiian print shirts buttoned.

trader joes bell

If you’ve shopped at TJ, you’ve heard those happy ringtones playing over the store’s speaker. But you’ve probably wondered what, if anything, they mean? According to a post on Reddit, essentially, they are there to tell workers what to do. If you hear one bell it means the lines are blocked and someone needs to go forward and open another till, two bells mean a cashier needs help from anyone available and three bells mean a team leader is needed.

hand holding a bottle of joes cold brew organic trader
Meghan De Maria / Eat This, Not That!

If a buyer wants to try a product that doesn’t need to be cooked, they can tell a team member they want to try it, and the box will be opened for the customer. If the customer does not buy it, it must be removed from the ground and ends up in the rest room. Needless to say Trader Joe’s employees love this rule!

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trader joes employee stockings

According to a reddit postfrom a person who claims to have worked at the grocery store for a decade, the raises come twice a year, and the raise changes: “In one review cycle, it may be 60 cents, the next may be 80 cents. It all depends on how well the business is doing.”

person shopping shopkeeper joes

To get a raise, you need to focus on three specific areas, according to one former employee, who wrote, “They judge you in 3 areas: customer experience, productivity and teamwork. If you can’t even to In any of these categories, that means there’s no raise You may be the fastest to stock shelves, provide the best customer experience, but if you’re constantly arguing with other team members, don’t expect a raise.

trader joes

If you’re on staff at Trader Joe’s, you’ll get 10% discount on your shopping at the store, which is a nice bonus. However, this discount may or may not cover alcohol, depending on the state the store is in and local laws.

joes trader app

A worker says Refinery29 that the California-based company is also offering a pretty generous 18% discount on your phone bill, but apparently that only applies if you’re a Verizon customer.

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trader joes sign

According to an employee, all the signs and artwork you see in your Trader Joe’s store were created by someone at the store. “We create shelf labels, wall murals, chalkboard signs, coloring pages the kids can take home and so much more.” an employee explained.

outdoor trader joes

Several employees noted that they will often be recognized by customers when not working and feel like local celebrities. However, an employee told Refinery29 that the company benefits, “You kind of become a local celebrity, and the company knows it – they often remind us that we represent the store even outside of our working hours, and that unwanted pressure can seem strange .”

trader joes employee pushing cart

An employee said Business Intern that they’re encouraged to be kind and engaging with customers, even sharing that they’ve “discussed politics, religion, movies, philosophy, parenting and so many other things, while packing groceries people”. As long as somewhere in that conversation the crew is emphasizing Trader Joe’s values ​​and the customer isn’t upset, they have the freedom to talk about whatever they want.

tradesman joes worker

In another Reddit post, an employee explains that working at Trader Joe’s can be very physical work. You’ll get in shape fast if you’re not, as the saying goes, “about half your day is moving heavy boxes of goods to put on shelves.”

trader joes cashier in face mask
Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

There is no getting around it, as anyone who has worked in retail knows, the hours are tough. Schedules change from week to week, and employees can work shifts that start as early as 4 or 5 a.m. or end as late as midnight.

READ MORE: New Trader Joe’s’ most unhealthy foods, according to dietitians

Tanya Edwards

Tanya Edwards is a veteran food and health journalist, who has held positions at Yahoo Health as Editor-in-Chief and Food Network as Director of Programming. Read more


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