Two UC Davis students discuss working at Trader Joe’s during a pandemic
Located on Russell Blvd and Sycamore Lane, Trader Joe’s can be seen buzzing with students and community members in search of a new batch of groceries. With products like Chocolate Hummus and Scandanavian Swimmers, Trader Joe’s is the grocery store of choice for many students living off campus. Beyond providing a place to shop for food, Trader Joe’s also employs UC Davis students.
Shane Halpern, a second-year managerial economics and communication double major, has worked at Trader Joe’s for a year. Halpern began at a different location and transferred to the Davis branch this fall, continuing his role as a crew member.
Prior to joining the staff, Halpern was a frequent shopper at Trader Joe’s and has fond memories of childhood experiences at the store.
“I’ve been shopping at Trader Joe’s ever since I was little,” Halpern said. “I remember being a little kid and I would ride around in the cart and look for the mascot and go up front and get a lollipop. That’s one of the best experiences.”
Halpern’s role as a crew member involves a myriad of tasks such as working the register, restocking shelves and cleaning carts. Despite only being a part of the Trader Joe’s team for a year, Halpern stated that the experience has been undeniably positive.
“I think it’s one of the most amazing companies that I’ve ever been with,” Halpern said. “They treat their employees really well and I like the atmosphere a lot.”
Halpern also shared that the store has taken the proper precautions to stay safe during the pandemic.
“They’ve just done such a good job of keeping up to date with making their customers feel safe, limiting the amount of capacity of people that come in the store, trying to do social distancing, having hand sanitizer available [and] making sure everyone wears a mask,” Halpern said. “I think they’ve just done such a good job adapting to the changes over the global pandemic, and I haven’t really felt worried at all as an employee there.”
Moreover, Halpern sees his job at Trader Joe’s as beneficial for his future, as it gives him experience and knowledge in the business world.
“I’m a managerial economics major, I want to go into food chain and supply,” Halpern said. “And that’s kind of why I love working at a grocery store, [because I’m] learning the insides of it.”
While he enjoys many of the products at Trader Joe’s, Halpern’s current favorite is the Grilled Balsamic and Rosemary Chicken.
Halpern said his experience working at Trader Joe’s has been valuable and was unable to name anything he did not enjoy about the job.
“I can’t name one thing,” Halpern said. “I’ve had multiple jobs in my high school career, and there hasn’t been a company that I’ve stuck with and wanted to stay longer with [other] than Trader Joe’s.”
Anthony Campbell, a second-year psychology major, has been a crew member at Trader Joe’s for four years. He began his career at Trader Joe’s in high school at a location near his hometown and then transferred to the Davis location after enrolling at UC Davis.
Campbell’s role as a crew member involves the same responsibilities as Halpern, including restocking shelves and general cleaning. Amidst his tasks, Campbell values the special moments of community interaction he experiences while chatting with the customers.
“I think one of my favorite parts is just talking to everyone, especially during the pandemic when we’re not going out doing too much,” Campbell said.
In addition to his conversations with customers, Campbell shared that the work environment among coworkers is positive as well.
“Everyone’s happy to work with each other and always talking with each other and helping each other out,” Campbell said.
Similar to Halpern, Campbell praised Trader Joes’ efforts to stay safe during the pandemic, highlighting the strict cleaning protocols around the store. Additionally, Campbell described the store’s dedication to providing customers with a safe shopping experience, even if they do not feel comfortable coming into the store.
“If you call in you can give us a list and we can shop for you, especially if you’re immunocompromised and you don’t want to come into the store and risk yourself being exposed,” Campbell said.
Campbell’s favorite product at Trader Joe’s is the Jalapeño Flavored Corn & Rice Puffs, which he has been eating frequently since their introduction a couple of months ago. Looking forward, Campbell sees his future at Trader Joe’s continuing throughout his college career.
“I definitely plan on working at least through college,” Campbell said. “It’s definitely a perfect job for being a student because the managers are pretty flexible with hours and accommodating to students, especially when you change schedules every quarter and have completely different classes at different times.”
Written by: Nora Farahdel — firstname.lastname@example.org