I have a good friend who’s been a Trader Joe’s “Crew Member” for a couple years now and I finally got the chance to sit him down and GRILL HIM on the Trader Joe’s employee discount and other job perks. And grill him I did. So if you’re thinking of applying for a job at TJ’s, this article is a must-read as much of the stuff my buddy talks about you won’t find anywhere else.
Does Trader Joe’s Offer an Employee Discount?
“Yes, and it’s 20% off everything in the store.”
“It’s a solid discount and I know several crew members whose main reason for staying with TJ’s is the discount as they have teenagers in the house and the weekly savings is HUGE, especially compared to other grocery stores in my area.”
“Plus, it really encourages crew members to buy and try new items and increase their knowledge of the products we sell.”
Note: Apparently they raised the discount from 10% to 20% during the COVID pandemic to help their employees and have not lowered since.
Can You Use the Discount on Alcohol?
“There’s no policy against it and I’ve seen crew members use the discount for booze all the time.”
Are All Employees Eligible for the Discount?
“Yes. I was able to use the 20% discount after my first day of work.”
“I mean I didn’t because that would have been kind of weird, but I definitely could have.”
Can Workers Get the Discount at Other Trader Joe’s?
“I’ve actually gotten the discount at a Trader Joe’s when visiting family in Florida. When checking out, you just tell the crew member you’re an employee and you’re good to go.”
“We are actually told not to question the employee discount, or even ask for their store number, as it’s part of our “Crew Integrity” pledge.”
“I’ve had some people ask what store I work at, but it’s never in an accusatory way, most crew members are just curious about where you work and where you live.”
Can Spouses Use the Discount as Well?
“It’s my understanding that the discount is for employees only, so the spouse could get it, but the employee would need to be with him or her.”
“With that said, I’m not sure what’s keeping a spouse from getting the employee discount at another Trader Joe’s as crew members are not allowed to ask for evidence that you work for the company.”
Does This Mean Anyone Can Get the Employee Discount?
“In theory, yes.”
“Until employees have to show an employee I.D. of some sort, it will be hard to police the discount.”
“But the theory is if someone needs the discount on groceries that bad to lie about it, then I guess it’s okay to give it to them.”
Can You Return Items That You Bought With the Discount?
“Hahaha, leave it up to you Kyle, the king of returns, to ask about returns.”
“I mean, yeah sure, you definitely could, I’ve never seen anyone do it. But yes, if there’s something wrong with it, you should bring it back.”
Do You Get Paid Extra to Work on Sundays?
“Yes. Actually a few months after I was hired, Trader Joe’s instituted a great new policy that paid employees $10 more per hour on Sundays.”
“This brought my Sunday wage to over $30 per hour.”
“It was amazing how many crew members all of the sudden wanted to work on Sunday, which is a pretty crazy busy day that most wanted to NOT work before the salary bump.”
How Do Employees Go About Getting the Discount?
“The biggest thing is you CAN’T check yourself out and give yourself the employee discount, either during your shift or when you’re not on the clock.”
“According to our employee handbook, you have to be off-the-clock and have another crew member hook you up with the discount.”
“The rules also stipulate that you have to leave with your groceries immediately and not hang around the store and eat your food.”
“I’m guessing this became an issue at one time, for whatever strange reason, and Trader Joe’s had to include it in the handbook.”
What About Medical and Dental Benefits?
“If you work at least 28 hours a week you qualify for medical benefits which is a pretty low threshold which I always appreciated.”
“If you work between 14 – 27 hours a week and you only qualify for vision and dental coverage which is still a nice perk.”
“I remember that I had to work for 3 full months before I qualified for medical.”
Do You Accrue Paid Time Off as Well?
“Heck yes, every Crew Member starts accruing time off after they clock in for the first time.”
“I had to talk to my “captain” to get the exact numbers but it works by Trader Joe’s contributing 3.5% to 7.5% to your PTO account.”
“For new hires, it comes out to about 4-5 days of PTO per year, all the way up to about 10 days a year for those who’ve been employed for a while.”
“The WAY cool part about your PTO account is that it does NOT expire, allowing you to bank it for long vacations.”
How Often Do Crew Members Get a Raise?
“I get a performance review twice a year and I’m eligible for a raise at that point, so every 6 months.”
“I think the biggest pay raise crew members can get is 7% per year which is pretty solid.”
How Often is Payday at Trader Joe’s?
“I remember when I got hired, I was told we get paid bi-weekly and I wasn’t sure if that meant we got paid twice a week OR every other week.”
“But alas, all the crew members get paid every other Thursday.”
Any Other Job Perks Worth Mentioning?
“It’s just a fun place to work. I’ve worked at other grocery stores that were really boring but the atmosphere at Trader Joe’s is what makes it for me.”
“The benefits are great too, but man, if you ain’t having some fun while you’re working, then what’s the point?”
Bonus Tip: Does TJ’s Contribute to my Retirement Account?
I completely forgot to ask my friend about a 401(k) retirement plan when working at Trader Joe’s, so I did a little research on my own.
All employees are eligible for a 401(k) plan, but in order to qualify for the 10% 401(k) bonus you need to work at least 700 hours during the year.
The bonus that they offer appears to change every year, but in 2023 it was 10%.
A HUGE thanks to my friend Bruce for the GREAT information, I know it will be very helpful for all those thinking of applying for a job at Trader Joe’s.
Ask the Reader: Are you a crew member and have something to add about the employee discount or something my friend got wrong? Or other job perks? Let me know in the comments.
By Kyle James