This Is the Real Reason Everyone at Trader Joe’s Is So Friendly

updated May 29, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

The latest installment of Insider Trader Joe’s, the grocery store’s podcast, has dropped, and this time, employees discuss a frequently-asked and speculated-on topic: Is the friendly attitude of the average Trader Joe’s employee just an act? The podcast’s hosts sat down with crew members from around the country and even chatted with the company’s president, Bryan Palbaum, to get the truth.

First of all, Palbaum reveals that a big part of the hiring process is finding people who have “outwardly nice” personalities to begin with. He points out that it’s difficult to “train someone to be nice,” so it’s important to hire people who already exhibit that trait.

Trader Joe’s employees are also encouraged to be themselves. It might sound like a cliché, but it probably makes a big difference to feel as though you don’t have to be another cookie-cutter robot when you’re at work. One employee in Chicago named Austin said work feels like “hanging out with friends for eight hours,” while another feels as though his boss encourages him and his colleagues to “keep being weird.”

In fact, people are so happy at their Trader Joe’s jobs, 20 percent of employees have worked there for 10 years or more. There’s a lot to love about the job: Twice a year employees have the opportunity for salary increase. Wouldn’t you be happy — and nicer to customers — if your bosses were eager to give you a raise?

There are lots of other perks to work for Trader Joe’s (which you can learn about on the podcast) but the result ultimately seems to be a workforce that is eager to engage with customers, whether that’s walking each person to a product or learning the names of their kids.  

So what is the reason Trader Joe’s employees are so nice? The answer seems to be that the company treats its employees well, and so employees want to return the favor to the customers. Lucky us.