How An Ex-Trader Joe's Employee Outed The Company In A Big Way

Everyone has their favorite brands. Whether it be entertainment, food, or clothing, most consumers have their go-to preferences when picking from the options on the market. When it comes to grocery store brands, Trader Joe's is the go-to for shoppers all over the United States. With its ever-changing offering of unique products, consistently friendly staff, fun nautical theme, and overall pleasant and welcoming ambiance, it's no wonder that customers keep coming back for more.

If the practices of a widely-favored brand such as Trader Joe's were revealed to be less than savory behind the scenes, customers would be disappointed, to say the least. In the Trader Joe's Reddit thread, a user posted a letter written by a supposed former employee (or crewmember in Trader Joe's lingo) that pulled back the curtain on those practices in an open letter. And just as loyal TJ's customers may fear, the contents of that letter do not make the store look good.

The ugly truth behind the popular grocery store

The key offenses claimed by the ex-crewmember were all from the top-down. The issues they had run into with "The Captain and The Mates" (or manager and assistant manager, as some would call them) and "The [Trader Joe's] Company" are each addressed in their own sections of the letter.

The former employee claims that the managers fostered a toxic work environment in different scenarios. For instance, they claim that the general manager told a disabled crewmember that other employees complained about them taking too many breaks, which the letter-writer says is untrue. They also claim that the assistant managers falsely accused a crewmember of stealing from the store, leading to their unjust termination.

The ex-crewmember goes on to disclose the alleged wrongdoings of the company itself. They specifically list the "union-busting tactics" the company used. In this worker's experience, TJ's promised benefits for employees to deter their vote to unionize. Despite the apparent generosity of these benefits, the writer points out that "whatever a company gives, they can take away." Without a worker's union, the company could tamper with these benefits so that they were not bestowed upon every employee fairly.

The outing aftermath

With all the details divulged in the "damning letter," many Redditors responded by sharing how disheartened it makes them feel and how difficult they believe it would be for the public to fully accept. One popular comment reads, "People don't want to entertain the cognitive dissonance that their beloved TJ's may have some unsavoriness lurking under the surface in how they treat their employees." Another commenter claims to have worked with the letter-writer, stating, "I worked with this guy. And although some things MAY be true here, he was one of the laziest employees I ever met."

So, the exact validity of the letter is up in the air. However, the contents may serve as a reminder that the perfect pictures painted by renowned brands should be taken with a grain of salt. Holding these brands accountable could certainly lead to them trying to do better for their workers. After all, as this former employee declared, "if crewmembers didn't exist, there would be no Trader Joe's."