Working at Trader Joe's Apparently Sucks Less Than Working at Whole Foods

The lesser of the evils
Between Ramadan and resignation letters, Whole Foods has been having a pretty craptastic summer. Through it all, we've envisioned Trader Joe himself, resplendent in his Hawaiian shirt, laughing and stroking what is in our imagination a very large mustache. And today we imagine him chortling even more, because of one of his employees has gone on The Huffington Post to attest that not only is the grocery chain a pretty great place to work, it apparently beats the hell out of Whole Foods.

Writing in this week's edition of HuffPo's Food Informants series, a Trader Joe employee going by the name of Jane details her weekly tasks. With the exception of the year she spent working for Whole Foods, which "she did not like," Jane has been with the company since 2007. Why? Because "they pay me well and offer great benefits. They also respect me as an employee and make me feel like I'm useful and needed and not just another part-time employee that can be replaced (which has been the case at other retail jobs I've had)." Cough.

The job, of course, has its downsides, including back and muscle strain and assholes "who feel the need to be condescending to me because I work at a grocery store." But there's no accusations of Trader Joe's being a "faux hippy Wal-Mart" or its "core values" being "complete and utter bullshit." So, not so bad!

Also, it turns out that the practice of wearing a lei and asking customers if they need help finding anything is called "helmsing." Being forced to wear a lei and interact with strangers doesn't sound particularly gratifying, but where employment at large and ostensibly progressive grocery-store chains is concerned, it could be a lot worse.

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There are a lot of problems for employees of Trader Joe's.  As evidenced by the restructuring of managment this past year.  And after the restructuring things have gotten worse. Typically they'll hire people without highschool diplomas, and with drug and sex problems, who see advancemnet and raises as being based on being freinds outside of work.  So the people who actually do the work get little raises and are  hounded out of the stores after a couple of years.  Supervisors were responsible for evaluations, and they gave everything to their freinds.  Then these people were promoted to other supervision positions and management.  Last year the company brought in an independent company to address problems, discovered this dynamic, and the supervisory positions were eliminated. But when it came to advancing people to needed positions like team leader, order writer, etc, the only people who looked competent ON PAPER were these former freinds of the supervisors.  Now almost every store is run by a clique of dysfunctional people who make work almost impossible for normal people just there trying to make a living. So now everything is in chaos.  You've got drunks and pot heads running the stores and their extended groups of freinds routinely lie to management about conditions and other employees in order to maintain their positions.  Managers, coming from the same environment, sit back and let things go to hell. So Trader Joe's is going downhill fast.  It's being run by people who will never get beyond working in a grocery store, and at that, only Trader Joe's.  Because they can't pass drug tests and are wholly unsuitable for working in teams with other people.