Career Story: Grocer At A National Specialty Grocery Chain

Grocer At A National Specialty Grocery Chain

Job Title: Grocer

Education: Cosmetology School, Bojack's Academy of Beauty Culture, Licensed Cosmetologist (Hairdresser)

Previous Experience: I managed a spa salon. I worked in various shipping departments before that.

Job Tasks: I am a Crew Member at Trader Joe's. This means that I perform every job in a grocery store. Trader Joe's is unique in that every crew member, including all supervisors, is trained to do every job. I will start at 6 am bringing in pallets from the morning delivery truck. Then the product on the pallets need to be taken off and the product staged near the shelves where they will be stocked. We then stock the shelves and put the backstock away and clear the floors of trash. Everything must be ready by 9 am when the customers arrive.

At this point I become a cashier for a few hours. Or as we like to say a "Reg Monkey". We get one half hour break, after which I will then write the produce order and enter it into the store ordering system on the computer. I am responsible for the produce section of the store. That means everything from ordering it from the warehouse, to putting it on the shelves, making sure the quality is up to our standards and checking that the display signs are up and correct and following up to make sure my helpers that morning really did everything they were responsible for. In between stocking and prepping my department, I help customers find products and answer their questions that can range from where a certain item is to why are we taking the salmon away from the grizzly bears.

As I have been working at TJs for 5 years in all different departments I often help other crew members and train them in all aspects of the store. I will also work in other sections of the store other than produce. The ideal Trader Joe's Crew Member should be trained to do everything in the store so that any crew member can take up where another left off. I should mention that I am what's called a part time Crew Member. I work just under 40 hours a week. The full time Crew Members work 59 hours a week and do everything I do plus a ton of paper work. Been there, done that, got the Hawaiian shirt and now my family gets to see me more.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Really helping the customers is the best part of the job. Having the chance every day to make even a small difference in someone's life. It can be as simple as finding all the gluten free products for a mom that has just found out her child has a gluten intolerance to changing a flat tire for a little old lady who has no AAA.

Many people, including myself, find the cash register to be the worst part of the job. It can be boring and repetitive and physically painful because you are stuck in one spot using the same muscles sometimes for hours.

Job Tips:
1. The job is physically demanding. Make sure you take care of yourself and be aware of where you are using repetitive motions that can be altered.

2. It's not rocket science. Just ask questions and watch people who have been doing it for a while.

3. If you like dealing with all kinds of people including offbeat ones this can be a great job for you.

Additional Thoughts: There plenty of room for upward movement. The CEO of the company started as a part time crew member. You can progress through ranks to store Captain (Manager) or even go into central management. TJ's promotes from within.

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