From Schaumburg, IL — 07/06/2010
First off, i've been with jewel nearly 4 years. I've worked at 2 different stores primarily as a cashier (also as a bagger for 9 months and grocery clerk for about a month). I will try to be fair here.
TLDR: Jewel sucks, go work somewhere else.
Pay - The pay is an absolute joke and the worst part about working there. On my current contract, I would be able to make a maximum of 10.20. The company expects "superior" customer service, but doesn't realize that if they don't pay their employees a decent wage, then those employees aren't going to give two fucks about superior customer service. SOME of jewel's competition may pay equally shitty, however you must also factor in that Jewel is now giving near-minimum hours, there is little opportunity for advancement, and there are union fees every week. The new contracts are FUCKING RIDICULOUS and should be reason enough to not even consider working here, unless you must absolutely have no other means for a source of income.
Respect - While I absolutely love one of my assistant front end managers, and I have loved many other managers along the way, I have also had to deal with shitty ones. And let me tell you my friends, some of them were absolute thunder cunts. Some managers will always say please and thank you, while others expect you to do things EXACTLY the way they want it or else a shit storm will break out. My current front end manager continuously groups ALL of the front end together in her complaints by saying things like "man, you guys always are wasting so many bags" when in reality many of us are trying to do the best we can. Many of the managers easily crumble under pressure and quite frankly, I'm not sure why many of these people are managers. They even have some teenagers who don't give two fucks running the floor. What a joke. As for the customers, it's typical retail scenarios. I'll leave it at that.
Benefits - The benefits are about the only good thing at Jewel. I was able to start a 401k plan when I was about 18, which I really liked. I can't speak too much into this since I am not enrolled in too many of the benefits offered to me, but as previously stated, they are very nice. Medical, dental, and eye insurance are options, and 60% salary is offered on medical leaves.
Job Security - After the initial 60 day period of getting the job, you are backed by the union, where thereafter it is supposedly much harder to lose your job. On some things, the union doesn't even give a shit and just backs the company. This was the case when one of the cashiers at our store was given a coupon by a customer, and then fired for taking it.
The Union itself is a whole additional story. While they do provide good benefits and whatnot, they're mainly just a fucking joke. What we get are a bunch of cock suckers who limit our pay and now they also keep tabs on us outside of work (we aren't allowed to post pictures of us in our work clothes or have any reference to the company in social networking sites.) What a joke. Fuck these assholes.
Work/Life Balance - If you're lucky enough to get decent managers, they will work with you whether you're in school, have a second job or have sudden events spring up. I have run into some problems with this, but normally it's pretty good. One of my main complaints is A) allowing minors to stay after 10PM which is when cerfew is in effect in Illinois and B) only scheduling 8 hours between shifts at times. I think the minimum should always be 12 between shifts. How the hell am I supposed to get a decent night's sleep?
Career Potential/Growth - Unless you're truly intending to stay with the company for an extended period of time, and/or get a college degree, you might as well bend over and hope they spit on it, because you aren't going anywhere up anytime soon. At best, you might be able to make service desk (which initially has the same pay with crappy hours, I might add) in front end.
Location - I feel one of the only reasons people shop at Jewel is because they are located very conveniently, and they basically fulfill all your food shopping needs in one place. I have to give jewel this because man, if someone else took those spots first, THEY would be the ones bent over.
Co-worker Competence/Work Environment - I love a lot of the people I work with. I have made many friends and have met my future wife through Jewel. Everyone can usually work together nicely, and usually everyone there is decently social. There is a very warm environment created among some people. However, you get typical assholes who don't want to help you out when you needed. Hopefully you can beat their asses after your shift is through. Jewel hires special needs people as well (because of the compensation of government subsidies, I'm sure) and some can work decently well with the Jewel community. Many should not be working there. Period. They simply cannot keep up with the pace of the work (this applies to incompetent workers, as well) and it is very frustrating to have to do two jobs so jewel can get some compensation money. Fuck jewel.
OVERALL - Don't waste your time here. As far as I'm concerned, Jewel is a dying breed. Yes, the employees (sometimes) and benefits are good, but the negatives are far too great to be worth it. Want to see more than $100/week? Then steer clear of this catastrophe of a company.