Trader Joe's jobs are highly rated in the grocery business, but that doesn't mean they're free of annoyances. Crew members took to social media to discuss some common behaviors from shoppers that tend to irk them.
Trader Joe's earn pretty high marks in terms of employee satisfaction.
This year, Glassdoor named the grocery chain with a cult-like following as one of the best places to work in the US. Trader Joe's also earned that distinction in 2017, 2013, 2012,and 2011.
But any consumer-facing gig is sure to cause some stress. Sometimes, shoppers just do or say things that have a way of grating on crew members' nerves.
One Trader Joe's crew member wrote on Reddit that the stores probably attract no more rude customers "than the average retailer."
But there are always going to be bad eggs.
"Many TJ's are built in or near affluent neighborhoods, so we do get a lot of people who can be a bit snooty, but won't go out of their way to be rude necessarily," the crew member wrote. "The outrageously rude customers are thankfully far and few between, and we even have had to ban a couple of them. For the most part, I think 99.9% of our customers are decent people. I am even on first name basis with many of the regulars."
With that in mind, here's a look at some of behaviors that are sure to aggravate Trader Joe's crew members:
Trader Joe's wants customers to try its new products without having to commit to buying them outright. So crew members are instructed to open up items — aside from alcohol and products that require cooking — to allow shoppers to dig into some samples.
But, on occasion, people take advantage of this sampling policy.
"I've only experienced two or three occasions where a customer tried to take advantage of this and wanted us to open literally ten plus products," one person who said they were a Trader Joe's crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit thread. "Management had to step in and kindly inform them that one or two products is fine, but we have to draw the line somewhere."
Plus, even if you purchase a product you end up hating, you still have some recourse.
"We have the no-hassle return policy where you don't even need to bring a receipt, so they can buy the product with confidence and, if they don't like it, they are welcome to return it," the crew member wrote.
Another Reddit poster who said they were a crew member at the chain said that handing out samples is "... only annoying when I am the one running the sample station and a customer wants to try like three things — and I'm swamped with people wanting samples."
One Reddit poster who said they were a Trader Joe's employee noted that having customers ask them to check for a product in the back of the store was irritating whenever they found that the shopper subsequently asked an additional crew member "...to do the same exact thing."
They also said they were sick of customers "... walking up to me — or sneaking up on me — and just saying the name of a product they have a question about, instead of saying, 'Hi, can you help me for a moment?'"
If you decide a product isn't for you, Trader Joe's employees would appreciate it if you'd put it back where you found it.
One person who said they were a Trader Joe's crew member wrote in a 2018 Reddit thread that they felt irked by "... people who decide they don't want something refrigerated or frozen, who just leave it on a shelf somewhere."
"It inevitably gets to room temp and is ruined," the employee added. "It's just so wasteful. One time, I found a package of chicken breasts hidden behind the bottled water. Why?"
"Customers often forget that we are people, too," a Reddit poster wrote in a Reddit thread about the pet peeves of Trader Joe's crew members. "I've been standing patiently with product in my hands and a lady turned around and told me, 'I don't have to care about you. You work here.'"
They went on to add they they found people who fail to say "thank you" incredibly rude, as well.
Another Reddit poster who said they were a Trader Joe's employee added, "I've had two customers make a comment about my acne — what I could do to fix it, or what's causing it. That s--- really bothers me. I don't need a complete stranger pointing out my flaws."
A Reddit poster who said they were a Trader Joe's crew member said they were annoyed when shoppers leave "trash, sample cups, plates, forks, napkins, and whatever on the shelves, or in the cart."
"There are trash cans all over the store — use them," the employee added. "One of our philosophies is we treat our customers like guests in our own home. In return, they trash it."
They added that customers shouldn't just hand employees garbage.
"I don't know where you've been," the crew member wrote.
Snarky comments from customers were the pet peeve of one Reddit poster who said they worked at the grocery chain. They said they were particularly irritated with shoppers who accuse them of looking bored or not having anything to do.
They also took issue with customers quipping that items that fail to scan "must be free."
"People that don't bag but are picky about how I bag" are the pet peeve of one Reddit poster who said they worked at Trader Joe's.
"I've had people take their receipt and crumple it up and just drop it on the counter and walk away," a Reddit poster who said they worked at the chain wrote. "I've had others take their receipt and stuff it in the donation bin. Makes me so irritated, as well."
Are you a current or former Trader Joe's crew member with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.