Grocery shopping habits around the country have been upended for close to two months at this point. For many stores, that has meant shifting more of their business to grocery delivery and pre-shopped pick-up orders, sometimes with services such as Instacart, other times via their own systems. But as it often is in the world of groceries, Trader Joe’s is an outlier: the only way to shop the beloved store is by going in and doing it yourself.
In a recent episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, the company talked about the measures they are taking to protect their workers and customers during the pandemic. We summed up many of the things discussed in the episode — increasing employee wages, encouraging social distancing, dedicating a senior shopping hour, cleaning more, and encouraging team members to continue going above and beyond. But another thing they talked about, as Inc. pointed out, is their decision to not focus on delivery and pickup right now.
In the episode, Trader Joe’s VP of marketing Matt Sloan, explains that putting together a system to do pickup or delivery would take months or years and extensive resources, and the reality is that the company plans to leave those resources where they have focused them for the last few years: on the employees.
The money other companies have spent on creating systems to eliminate the need for people, Trader Joe’s has spent on putting together a great team (as we’ve discussed) and they don’t plan to pivot on that track. Marketing director Tara Miller, adds that “while other retailers were cutting staff and adding things like self-checkout, curbside pickup, and outsourcing delivery options, we were hiring more crew, and we continue to do that.”
Despite the longstanding reputation and commitment to their employees, however, they have had a few issues during the pandemic. But they are trying to change things around, as indicated by their podcast episode. And if you’re upset or annoyed that you can’t get your favorite items from TJ’s delivered to your door, know that they’re doing it for a good reason.