Trader Joe’s employees share 8 annoying things they wish shoppers would stop doing

Don't hide frozen products around the store.

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Don’t hide frozen products around the store.
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Michael Nagle / Getty Images

  • Trader Joe’s jobs have a good rep in the grocery business.
  • The grocery chain was named as one of the best places to work this year.
  • Still, there are some things that shoppers do that tend to irritate Trader Joe’s employees.
  • Workers have taken to social media to discuss the customer behaviors that tick them off.

Trader Joe’s earns 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 workers’ nerves.

One Trader Joe’s worker, or crew member, wrote on Reddit that the stores probably attracted 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 person 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 workers:


Abusing the store’s sampling policy

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Trader Joe’s wants customers to try its new products without having to commit to buying them outright. So workers are instructed to open items – aside from alcohol and products that require cooking – to allow shoppers to dig in to some samples.

On occasion, however, 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 described working at Trader Joe’s 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 person wrote.

Another Reddit poster said handing out samples was “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.”


Acting impatient when it comes to finding products

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Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

One Reddit poster said customers sometimes irritated employees by asking multiple workers to check for the same product in the back of the store at the same time.

The poster also described being 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?'”


Leaving frozen items all over the store

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Rick Wilking/Reuters

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 described being a Trader Joe’s crew member wrote in a 2018 Reddit thread of feeling 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?”


Forgetting that crew members are people

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Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

“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.'”

The person went on to say that failing to say “thank you” was incredibly rude.

Another Reddit poster who described being 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.”


Discarding trash throughout the store

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

One Reddit poster described being annoyed when shoppers left “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 person added. “One of our philosophies is we treat our customers like guests in our own home. In return, they trash it.”

The person added that customers shouldn’t just hand employees garbage.

“I don’t know where you’ve been,” the person wrote.


Making snarky comments

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Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Snarky comments from customers were the pet peeve of one Reddit poster who described working at the grocery chain. The person described being particularly irritated with shoppers who accused the person of looking bored or not having anything to do.

The person also took issue with customers quipping that items that failed to scan “must be free.”


Being weird about bagging

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Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

“People that don’t bag but are picky about how I bag” are the pet peeve of one Reddit poster who described working at Trader Joe’s.


Crumpling and tossing away receipts at the register

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

“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 described working 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 acain@businessinsider.com.