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Who Owns Trader Joe's  Preview
19 September 10 from joan 14
Oh em gee. I find it painful to read the comments from those who find shopping at Aldi beneath them. Took me a few years of driving by on my way to the "good" grocery store before I stopped at Aldi. From the deposit to use a cart to the bag-your-own check outs, I'm sold that Aldi, despite the snottitude of some of you, has good products at reasonable prices. Read the guarantee printed on their products. Dissatisfied for any reason? Bring it back and they will replace the product AND refund your $$. Works for me.
My Grandfather always used to tell me - Rich people are rich because they don't waste their money.
Are there days when the produce is looking a little sad? Sure. It happens in the "good" grocery store from time to time.
Are the private label products good? Sure. And I buy them a lot so I know.
And they do, from time to time, have name-brand products. And at discounted prices. (Bought Old Bay Seasoning for a third of the "good" grocery store cost. And no, it wasn't out of date).
Fresh pork chops are always moist and tender. But then, I'm a good cook.
Be careful, folks, that you don't trip and fall from your uppity position.
1 March 10 from thel 13
I don't know where most of you come from, but I am not a "poor" person, and I shop at Aldi, almost exclusively.
I am not "ashamed" to pack my own groceries or carry an Aldi bag. I am proud. Proud that I take reusuable bags, am not polluting the world with plastic throw away bags that end in land fills and the ocean.
People need to become educated and know that a head of brocolli, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, grapes, pineapples, oranges, bananas, etc., all come from the ground and what difference does it make what store it is shipped to?
Also, ohter products, cereals, dairy and meats are all top notch as well.
I guess if people are shallow enough to think it matters where they buy their groceries, they can continue to deliver hundreds of dollars to their "corporate friends."
You can bet the extra money they charge in big name stores dosen't go to the workers. When I shop at Krogers, (seldom) I can't get eye contact from any worker in the store. No thanks you's or "may I help." You are on your own.
Give me Aldi's any day.
25 March 09 from also work TJ's 12
It's a huge assumption that because you work in a store you know where the directives come from. There are all kinds of performance numbers each store is held to and more than likely they tie back in some way to directives from the owners of the business. You don't experience interference in day to day operations but if you've ever been at TJ's during an Albrecht visit you realize there is involvement. The combined wealth of these brothers would put them in the number one wealth spot and individually they are both in the top ten. You don't get that way by ignoring your business. While TJ's is bringing in billions of dollars from U.S. shoppers ...U.S. stores are closing around the country. Trader Joe's treats some employees very well and others not so much. They are careful to manage this ratio well enough to keep the union out. The wikipedia info is also managed like a marketing campaign
22 May 09 from sandra 11
I don't know where some of you people got your info about Aldi's, but in my area, there are three Aldi stores and they are clean and well stocked with quality merchandise. The person who said you have to rent your shopping cart only told half the story, you get your quarter back when you return the cart. This way carts are not wandering aimlessly around the parking lot.  

Aldis also pays their employees a very good starting salary($12.00an hour to start in the D.C. area)) and they have benefits and hospitalization.
4 December 08 from Madeline 10
Aldi's is very much appreciated here in the Chicago suburbs. It is very bare bones but the prices are great. My friend & I did some comparing when we first got an Aldi's in our town and we saved 30% on our weekly groceries by buying the basics at Aldi's and our favorite name brands at the bigger stores. The $150.00 or so I save per month is more than worth the inconvenience of bringing my own bags and packing them. I make enough money to shop wherever I like, because I work at Trader Joe's. The company not only pays you well but treats you well. I actually look forward to going to work, which is more than many people can say. Of course I also shop there, besides the fact that I am already there and I get an employee discount, I genuinely like the food. And ownership does not equal interference at all.
13 June 06 from coach_pilot 9
It is interesting to read all those statements from my German perspective.
Discount stores like ALDI are really successful especially in Germany. The Albrecht brothers are the founders of the discount principle, they started with a small store in the Ruhr area, now they are market leaders.
For a very long time they had an image like descripted in the previous articles. But meanwhile it changed. More and more people they are all but not poor are buying their things in discount stores like ALDI.  

In opposition the classic supermarkets are in problems. Some years ago Wal Mart launched in Germany and I can tell you, they won't have sucess. Worse, all the characteristics I could read before about ALDI in US (e.g. working conditions) are true for Wal Mart in Germany (at least in the public opinion). I remember on debates about some special Wal Mart rituals with their staff.  

In Germany the product quality of ALDI is very good, they won a lot of awards given by consumer protection authorities and official product test authorities. More or less the same apllies for working conditions and wages.  

But to experience a purchase in a pleasant atmosphere, ALDI stores are the wrong location.
9 March 06 from Karan Kapoor 8
I think this is an old topic. But I found it interesting that the same owners have such different labor practices. Maybe they feel that for many people it difficult to get them to work, even if you give them great salaries. For the motivated few who will work hard, pay them well.
22 September 05 from 2fs 7
Perhaps they're not around in your part of the country, but Aldi's ("Aldi'ses"? and is there even an apostrophe in the name?) around here are pretty much ultra-budget stores. On the one hand, it's good that someone is willing to meet the food needs of the poor - but on the other, the way they do it is with the cheapest prefab foodstuffs imaginable. One of my sisters-in-law shops there - I once was unfortunate enough to try some prefab food or other from Aldi's, and it was just terrible. In other words, TJ's seems to be where the Albrechts send their good food. I'd have to say this info likely lowers TJ's on glenn's scale, though...
16 September 05 from Michael 6
I realize I am sitting in the coop right now (www.harvestcoop.com) that you deem socially and and environmentally preferable. Of course, my primary concern was free wifi and a more comfortable ambient temperature than the miserable drizzle outside.
15 September 05 from danzp 5
I can vouch for Aldi's being alive and well in Chicago, and assertions made on this thread that they offer a bare-bones shopping experience are all true, if not understated. Actually, to say that Aldi's even has shelves is being too generous. Rather, pallets with boxes of product are stacked in aisle-like patterns on the floor. Carts have to be rented for a quarter, and there are exactly no name brands.  

The most interesting thing about Aldi's is that you have to pay for the bags they pack your goods in--10 cents for the regular plastic and 25 cents for the more swanky "thermal" bag. I think the thermal ones slow down the melting of ice cream and the warming of lunch meat. On the whole, I'd say both bags are designed with the underpriviledged pedestrian/bus rider in mind. Seriously. Aldi bags are tougher and roomier than your regular chain grocery bag, and they have comfortable handles. For this reason, they're sort of an earmark of the homeless*--just as Trader Joe's paper bags are the conveyance of choice for your slightly furrier brand of yuppie. In my years as a Chicagoan, I've toted both bags, but I never realized they had any relation until I read this thread....  

*As a side note, the character of Senor Cartgage on homestarrunner.com is often seen dragging around an Aldi bag.
14 September 05 from mlmitton 4
No, lazy packaging may not be a reason for contempt. That was just an example, though, of the extent to which they're willing to degrade the experience of shopping in pursuit of lower monetary costs. I'm sufficiently wealthy that I can afford a more pleasant experience. But there are certainly people who can't afford it, and I guess I'm glad that there's a store that serves them, too. (Though it still gives me the unpleasant feeling that I'm being elitist.)  

Apparently there are Aldis in the U.S. My brother has been in one and he described the store as "bottom of the barrel." So that's one first-hand account.  

The only thing that bothers me about the ownership is it makes TJ feel like a marketing ploy. Of course, even if Joe still owned it, it's a matter of marketing; it's just easier to ignore than if it's backed by a very large corporation. Otherwise, even if it (is/were) owned by an evil corporation, wouldn't it stil be a case of riding with the stampede to change its course?
14 September 05 from glenn mcdonald 3
Googling "Trader Joe's" and "Albrecht" turns up plenty of hits, and some scattered sunny assertions that TJ is run "separately" despite the ownership stake, but not a lot of substantial analysis. The Wikipedia entry has all the basic info and some links, and there's another good general article about the chain from September 04 at workforce.com, but I haven't found anything deeper. Which might mean things aren't any more complicated than they appear, I guess. Ownership doesn't always mean interference. But it certainly doesn't make me any less suspicious.
14 September 05 from Aaron 2
Do you have some cites? I'd like to read more about this.  

(The latter part-- I don't see why lazy packaging practices should be a reason for contempt.)
13 September 05 from mlmitton 1
You'll be hard-pressed to find the information anywhere on the Trader Joe's website, but the chain is in fact owned by Karl and Theo Albrecht. I think last year, Karl weighed in with a net worth of $20-some billion, good enough for #3 in the world. (Behind that IKEA guy and Gates, I think.) Theo is on the list as well, but further down.  

They've made most of their money with the Aldi chain of grocery stores in Europe. With the caveat that I've never set foot in an Aldi store, they have the reputation of being a Wal-Mart of Europe. While they do have lower prices, their stores are "junky" (e.g., they won't take things out of the packing box, just put the packing box on the shelf and cut off one side of it. Think Food-4-Less in the U.S.) and they have poor labor practices in much the same way as Wal-Mart. Or as bad as you can get in Europe, anyway. Apparently as a general matter the Albrecht's are good at union breaking.  

I find it very amusing that Trader Joe's has become this icon for left-leaning Bobos when it's almost secretly owned by the Waltons of Europe.
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