Safeway

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Safeway Employee Reviews

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Store Manager - Long Hours, Hard Work, Wasted Time
Store Manager (Former Employee) –  United StatesSeptember 10, 2013
I was an outside hire that came in from another industry, so for someone who 'came up' through retail or Safeway your experience might be much different.

I was sold a job with Safeway as a growth opportunity and as a classic, white collar management job. It isn't. I spent fully half of most days either a) checking customers out or b) stocking product onto the shelves. There was a lot of opportunity to lead and manage, but it's hard to get buy-in from associates that are making minimum wage, and more importantly, in a union environment, it's really hard to hold people accountable. But most importantly, it's impossible to take the time to hold people truly accountable - store operations and various random dumb tasks will consume most of the rest of your day. Also, as the Store Manager, you are the only person that 'they' at corporate or your division headquarters, trust. So you'll get a lot of dumb requirements - 'personally verify this signage is posted in the breakroom', 'tell us how many of this UPC item you have on the shelf', 'watch this video title through the satellite feed', 'conference call on these days', 'verify all new hires have completed documentation', 'make sure everyone in your facility has signed off on new policy X', 'complete this checklist for an upcoming holiday', 'make sure this list of employees has completed this computer-based training', 'complete this checklist for limiting "Shrink"', etc. There was a lot of micromanagement and knee-jerk reactions from management based on whatever the latest numbers were.

And although everyone makes a big deal out
  more... of how they are there to support stores and store management, they aren't. Period. When you ask for help, you usually won't get it, and if you do, it won't be the kind of help you want. Field Merchandisers (specialists in different departments within the store that work for the District Manager) don't want to train employees or fix bad habits, they want to hold associates accountable to a standard that the employee may never have learned.

I started off working 80 hour weeks and dialed it back to the minimum 50-60 hour weeks because I found that those extra twenty hours were being wasted - I wasn't able to use that time to 'get ahead' on tasks, or to research how I could run the business better - if you're in the building, you will be told that you should be 'operating' the store, i.e. stocking or checking, depending on how many customers are there. You will also be told repeatedly that you should delegate these tasks to your employees, or 'put systems in place', but your schedule will be so tight because of the labor model that one person 'calling out' will inevitably result in you stocking or checking more. If you schedule extra help in case someone 'calls out' you will not make your salary requirements. This will happen every week. You will never be able to hold an employee accountable for not showing up because they know exactly how far they can push the union contract, and as long as they can get a doctor's note, they can show up or not pretty much without concern for you.

The good news is that the pay (for store managers, anyway) is pretty good and the job stability is actually excellent - it's almost impossible to get fired as a store manager, no matter how bad your performance. This applies to all level of employees throughout the organization - problem employees are typically shuffled off for a 'fresh start' in another store rather than terminated. Most manager-level employees that were terminated during my time were due to very specific misconduct - i.e. they might have been struggling in other areas, but they were fired for tampering with pay or work hour records, and they were all fired on the first offense, including those with very good performance. It was strange how many problem employees I saw shuffled off but how many 'instant firings' there were amongst management.

Also, although no one will ever admit it at Safeway, the customer is not the person that the company is focused on, nor the employees. They're focused on shareholders and Wall Street (got to hit that profit target this quarter) and consumer-packaged goods companies (selling 40 different varieties of Oreos because Nabisco paid for that shelf space, not because we want to serve our customers what they want). So in management you will execute short term focused strategies that are bad for the business and the customer experience and hurt the long-term prospects of the company because it's easier to cut your way to profitability than it is to actually grow by treating customers well. Ask a store manager about 'Shrink' or 'Salary OR' and you'll hear a lot about how Safeway is starving the business in order to be more profitable.

Despite being sold on the growth potential within the company, out of about 100 Store Managers that I knew, in two years TWO were promoted and a third was 'put on project.' None of them had an increase in pay - all of them had an increase in responsibilities and expectations. None of their promotions were permanent, though i.e. the company could revoke their status whenever it liked.

On the plus side - you get to see the real inner-workings of a business, including profitability and how different factors (some controllable, some not) have an impact on that profitability. It's a great primer for the world of business - you learn a lot about everything from human resources to marketing to logistics and inventory management. It's almost (but not quite because you don't spend enough time talking about the important things) an MBA experience in terms of getting a grasp on a microeconomic business in all its aspects, and if you have an entrepreneurial bone in your body, you will a) do well and b) have a great base to expand in to whatever other business you'd like afterwards.
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Pros
great experience to 'learn' business at the operating level, great job stability, good benefits and compensation
Cons
long hours, blue collar work despite white collar job description, 'backstage' not supportive nor focused on stores, 'help' not available and not helpful, managment focused on the wrong things
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Lazy Co-Workers, Unnapriciative Supervisors, and Terrible Hours
Deli Clerk (Current Employee) –  Dallas, ORAugust 17, 2015
A Typical Day -

A typical day at work began around 5 Pm, sometimes 3:30.
Arriving in, I already have my apron on, and my hat set steady on my head. I wash my hands, turn, and help whichever Customer needs help. I smile, and politely greet them "Hi there, what Can I do for you?" After assisting whomever needs It I would walk into the kitchen, and gaze upon the mess that was left by the lazy Mid-Shift or Morning Crews. Usually a gargantuan mountain of trash, and an avalanche of dishes. (That is not an entirely overdramatic unfortunately.)

I set about starting some dishes, before heading back to the case to assist customers and look over what needs to be cooked. If nobody is already cooking I set about doing that as quickly, and efficiently as possible. Food is not something to rush however, as a wrong move could make someone sick, so this tended to take awhile depending on what was being made.

Repeat customer service, cooking, and washing dishes. Around 7 I take out the trash, and recycling as things have hopefully calmed down some. When that is done, I return to dishes and customer service. When it comes to an end at around 10-10:30 I sweep, mop, and finish cleaning the fryers. From there, I go home around 11:30. or shortly after.

What did I learn -

I learned that relying on others can leave you desperate, and overwhelmed. They will not always be there, or willing to do the task. I've learned how to manage time because of this.
In addition I learned good team work, as when assistance is there, it's better to power through everything than to relax. It's better
  more... to get done early, so that extra work can be done for the next day. It improves everyone's time, and makes for a more effective business.

Management -

Management in Safeway generally didn't care. Every now and then they'd try to reach out and socialize some, but it was a half-hearted effort that usually left employees more frustrated than anything else. They were hardly, if ever involved with things. The Deli's Supervisor however is a hard-worker, though she comes off cold and uncaring to some people. Most management you encounter are extremely critical of others if any problem reaches their ears, regardless of the reason it occurred. This helped create an unpleasant atmosphere overall.

Co-Workers -

Half the people in the Safeway Deli were outright incompetent. They did not do there jobs, and just skated by. They didn't have pride in their work, and didn't care if they did a good job. All that was important to them was that they were paid. The other half for the most part quit, is quitting, or is on the verge of quitting.

Worst Part of the Job -

The most unenjoyable/hardest part of the Job was the people. I've explained why above. Got nothing else to say about it. Beyond that, it's hard work that nobody else will view as that difficult, it's messy, and you will work harder, and deal with more...stuff... than the rest of the store.

Best Part of the Job -

The best part of the Job was ironically also the people. Those who did their best, while considered bitter people to others, were reliable hard working individuals. They consistently gave 110%, and it made every day bearable.
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Pros
The Good People
Cons
Lucky to get over 30 hours, Unnapriciative Superiors, Constant Belittlement, They'll screw you out of benefits, Moronic and lazy Co-workers
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Constantly raising the bar.
Grocery Supervisor (Former Employee) –  Olympia, WASeptember 2, 2014
This was my experience, from half a decade of Safeway. I would not work for Safeway again, but I would not necessarily advise against it. It is easy to get hired and there are lots of different departments. If you don't like what you're doing, with a little time and effort you can switch to something else.

Getting Hired:

Most people were very friendly and nice to work with. I think friendliness is something they look for in the hiring process. Most people can only start at entry level, as a Courtesy Clerk or Night Stock Clerk. This is because, most higher level jobs are filled internally. Courtesy Clerk is an easy job with a high turn around. If anyone sticks around, they'll get offers to promote quickly, especially if you're over 25 and follow the rules exactly. Night Stocking sucks, read on...

Promotions:

Things change with the union every couple years, but the last I worked there, it takes between 8 and 10 years to make it to the top wage bracket. Strap in, for the long haul, if you want a livable wage. Kind of a thumbs down...

If you can get promoted to cashier, it is an easy job. Most cashiers complained they didn't get enough hours, didn't like standing in one place, they never had set schedules or they don't like dealing with customers (I say, get over it, customer service is life). The hours problem was true. I was always shocked, looking at the schedules in the hallway, some cashiers only got 8 hours per week! Again, with a little seniority you can make it to full time and top pay is good, once you make it there too.

Stay away from stocking, particularly night-stocking,
  more... unless you like having a lot of pressure, stress and managers who act like you aren't doing enough, no matter how hard you try. Let's say, they tell you, your department should have 25 out of stocks and all week you make 20. You'll be really proud of your job well done. Then they will say, out of stocks should be 15 and act like you are doing a terrible job. Never mind if business was slow during that time you managed to make 20. That pressure coupled with graveyard is a recipe for cancer and heart disease. On the plus side, you'll quickly make it to a guaranteed 40 hours per week and if you're lucky you can get bumped up the pay scale a bit quicker.

Price changing is physically the easiest job in the world. It requires a lot of attention to detail and thinking, but it's graveyard and is usually done by day cashiers who want more hours. Deli, Bakery and pharmacy seemed a bit understaffed and over worked, but Pharmacy seemed like the best career decision. At least, they got a uniform that made them look like they had a sweet hospital job. Again, they still complained in the break room... I guess, who doesn't...

In Closing:

My experience working for Safeway was not all bad, just mostly bad. I don't regret working there and I feel like I could do anything else now, better than anyone else. Safeway honed my skills for customer service, gave me light years of useful experience to move on to bigger and better things and I now have amazing ambidextrous cat-like reflexes. Go ahead, drop a jar of pickles near me. I will catch it.
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Pros
10% discount on safeway products, good experience and nice people
Cons
very hard work and disconnected upper management, has never actually worked in a grocery store.
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Worst company I've ever worked for
Cake Decorator (Former Employee) –  Plano, txOctober 22, 2015
The store management is so disconnected with the employees and departments that when production is not running properly, instead of trying to help the situation and figure out what the issue is, they just complain and tell you whats not getting done instead of giving you helpful instruction on how to go about fixing issues. There is virtually ZERO training. Everybody has their own jobs and nobody works as a team. The cake decorator is responsible for ALL pastries, cake orders, consultations, and production. the store is open for 7 days a week 6:00am to 1:00am and only one person responsible for all desserts and can only work 40 hours 5 days a week. NO OVERTIME!!!! You get in trouble for not getting all your work done but if you try to stay a little late and catch up, you get in trouble for overtime. Then they tell you that you have to take walk-in cake orders and custom orders yet never considers the extra time it takes to stop what your doing to do that or how long it takes to do custom orders when the details are up to the guest. This could completely throw off the production of the day if people are allowed to constantly come whenever they want and stop production because they aren't prepared. This is the whole reason why there are predecorated cakes available. Its one thing if you have time but 99% of the time you don't.
On top of everything you have to do, there are $5 friday deals where u have to make one item in abundance. This is a great deal for guests and I understand the necessity of it but ever since albertsons has taken over, $5 fridays are now $5 weekend sales
  more... (3 times as much product) plus they add 2 weekly sale items on top of that during the week. After already not having time to complete your regular duties, stopping production for last minute guests, custom orders, and constant sales, you are completely incapable of performing your job duties efficiently. You are constantly unable to achieve your goals or ever able to get control of production. No management is willing to get their hands dirty or willing to learn anything to help with the department. You are constantly set up for failure and constantly blamed for all production flaws regardless of the situation. I have spent more time outside of work producing reports and logs covering my own butt then actually working. Everybody is constantly trying to find someone to blame. I had to write down every day what i did and how much i produced in the hours i worked so when they started pointing fingers i could show them proof. there are 341 bakery items the cake decorator is responsible for, excluding sale items. If that's not enough they are now running out an entire fondant program... the people training don't even have half the experience they should to be running this program. I have been working with fondant for over 6 years. I participate in competitions and shows for this type of cake decorating and i still have trouble with the medium. Then putting this on cake decorators in a grocery store setting, where they only have minutes at a time to do anything? Fondant is a very sensitive medium and requires time, patience and practice. without the adequate training and time needed, you are going to lose the quality aspect. They are telling people to spray the fondant with Pam and grease the table before you roll out the fondant. GROSS!!!! Every bite you take your eating a mouth full of Pam spay....  less
Pros
Descent pay
Cons
Overworked, Lack of Training, Unachievable goals
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Revolving Door Employment
Freight Crew Manager (Current Employee) –  Stayton, ORDecember 8, 2013
Myself and one or two other employees bring the freight load out onto the sales floor, ranging from 5 to 12 or more pallets. We break down all the boards, placing the merchandise on the corresponding aisles. Pick up all the empty boards and extra allocated merchandise if any, returning it to the backroom.

We then go aisle by aisle, stocking all the spotted merchandise, pulling necessary back stock off the sky shelves, inventorying any extra freight, placing it in back stock, clean the aisle, move on to the next.

Halfway through the shift, I pick up our order gun and scan the entire grocery department, ordering any and all necessary items, anticipating what might sell as well, striving for minimal out of stock merchandise so our customers can actually purchase the items they came in to shop for.

Depending on the amount of freight and scheduled help, I continue to finish stocking the freight after ordering, which may take up to 2 hours depending on how much business was done earlier that day.

We then straighten all the merchandise on every aisle, presenting a clean, well stocked, professional looking sales floor so our customers may have a pleasant shopping experience.

Time willing, we work back stock from sales floor sky shelves, and/or from the back room inventory.

We also run the register for the first two hours the store in open, as any customers shopping that early apparently do not qualify for Superior Customer Service, requiring them to ring a bell for service, waiting as we run to the checkstand when they do, as it's impossible to be in two places at once. Two hours
  more... after the store opens, Safeway has a dedicated cashier in the checkstands however, and any customers after that time will not be required to ring a bell for service. I, nor my night crew co-workers, understand why Superior Customer Service is available only 2 hours after the store opens, since we feel ringing a bell in hopes it is actually heard, then waiting for someone to operate the register does not qualify as Superior Service.

Overall, the job is relatively easy, somewhat challenging (maintaining fewer than 20 out of stocks on a daily basis in an entire grocery department of tens of thousands of items isn't exactly a cakewalk.

The most difficult part of the job is trying to understand Management's indifference towards employee scheduling and compensation. If one were to read the current contract, one might be led to believe Safeway doesn't require any new employees, or even wants anyone to apply! It's difficult to maintain a decent number of knowledgeable co-workers who are willing to work minimal hours for minimal compensation, even with the anticipation of receiving medical benefits after two years under such conditions, if they have the opportunity to work enough hours to earn said benefits.
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Pros
2 10 minute breaks, 30 minute lunch, clock out after 8 hour shift, although for many it's after a scheduled 6, 5, or even just 4 hour shifts.
Cons
$0.05 pay raises, lack of bonuses, poor scheduling, lack of adequate help (not enough checkers to handle customer count, often resulting in poor customer shopping experience)
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It's a paycheck.
Night Stocker (Former Employee) –  Flagstaff, AZMarch 28, 2014
A typical day consisted of coming in to find that the truck was either late or that one or more crew members had decided to quit. On a good night you'd have four people working a 900-1200 piece load and be expected to be done stocking in about 5 hours. The rest of your time is spent facing the store, which is tedious, especially when there would always be a senior team member who decides to not help and talk to the other department members as they came in for their shifts. Most days you would get out on time, but others you'd be expected to stay over to finish facing. Then there be berated for getting overtime.

Training is the biggest issue with this job. There is no real training. The senior team member doesn't teach so much as he yells at you for not knowing what to do with products that aren't something we would be responsible for. I've learned to not have another job where training isn't up front and immediate. It took me almost 6 months for someone to bother and teach me certain aspects of the job.

Management is a joke. There is zero communication between morning and evening managers which leads to more work for night crew. You'd get a pallet of water (which isn't the most fun thing to unload) and you'd stock it. Only thing is, a morning manager actually wanted that for a display and neglected to mention it to anyone. Now we'd have to take all that water off the sales floor, put it back on the pallet and then let the manager do whatever they wanted with it. Now, I'm a patient person and I realize mistakes happen. This happened multiple times with water. Sometimes it'd
  more... be easier things like paper towels or toilet paper, but it was still wasted time. We wouldn't even get a thank you for fixing their mistake.

The co-workers were alright for the most part. We went through so many, that I didn't get to know some of them very well. I'd say most didn't stay with the job for more than a month. Some not even two days.

The hardest part of the job was the constantly rotating roster of new people who were untrained, would stay untrained, and were expected to work as well as someone who had been there for 6 months. If it wasn't that, it'd be the scheduling manager only scheduling two people on a night that always has a bigger load. I guess, in actuality, the hardest part of the job was dealing with incompetent management.

I honestly wouldn't say there was an enjoyable part of the job. If you talked with your co-workers, even while working at a normal pace, you would be threatened with disciplinary action.

Maybe other locations are better than the one I worked at, but I would not advise working night stock for Safeway. There are plenty of other minimum wage jobs out there that will strive to give you as few hours as they can.
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Pros
someone thanked me for my hard work. once. in 6 months.
Cons
terrible management, lack of training, expectations to do other departments' work, zero chance of advancement or pay increase.
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Enjoyed working with flowers, but the pay, benefits, scheduling, management style and job culture were awful.
Floral Clerk/Designer (part-time) (Former Employee) –  West Linn, ORMarch 22, 2015
Pros:

Geographically desirable (close to home).
Enjoyed the creative aspect of working in the floral department.
Enjoyed helping customers.
Busy.
Decent training.
Career growth possibilities.

Cons:

No guaranteed hours so no guaranteed benefits. If employees work less than 20 hours per week they do not qualify for benefits like health insurance, and they have no control over the hours worked.

Management's main objective is to keep employee hours as low as possible, so the store was always working understaffed.

Punitive, fear based culture. Management uses fear tactics to ensure compliance, i.e. Fear of being written up for the smallest infraction (like your shirttail coming out, or working over your schedule even if you are helping customers); fear of loss of benefits; fear of loss of job; constant reminders that you are being watched at all times; huge department and store penalties if an accident occurs that requires an accident report; etc.

Low pay for skilled labor. Really terrible pay and virtually no benefits for part-time employees. And everyone was part-time except management. Safeway should be ashamed of the way it compensates it's hard working employees. Floral Clerks have the same job responsibilities and required skills as Floral Designers, plus cash, customer service, inventory, merchandizing, stock control, product maintenance and department maintenance responsibilities, but they are paid only slightly over minimum wage, with no guaranteed hours or guaranteed benefits.

Management has conflicting priorities and unrealistic expectations - priorities change
  more... daily and they are not well communicated; i.e. reducing employee hours to avoid paying benefits and overtime, yet expecting all tasks to be completed in less time by fewer employees, while maintaining gold standard customer service and 5% - 10% increases in sales every day.

Written communications between employees and department managers are forbidden to ensure that there is no paper trail for complaints or suggestions.

Low employee morale. Few smiling faces in the break room. Employee complaints and suggestions not tolerated.

Favoritism and nepotism abound when it comes to scheduling, hours and task allocation.

Poor work/life balance. No regular schedule - shifts can change daily.

Poor inventory control and discounting practices.

Higher prices than the competition (and there is less competition as a result of the recent merger). Poor employee discount program. Most clerks cannot afford to shop at the stores that they work in.

Customers are highly valued, but employees are not. Management does not seem to realize that employees are customers too.

Advice to the management:

Realize that employees are customers too, and treat them with the same respect and consideration.

Increase the pay rate SIGNIFICANTLY for skilled labor.

Provide health insurance benefits for all employees, regardless of the number of hours worked.

Provide better communications and management training for department managers.

Allocate hours and tasks fairly, based on competence, work ethic, skill, attitude and results, not favoritism or nepotism.

Improve inventory control and pricing.

Change the punitive, fear-based culture.
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Pros
creative (floral), busy, enjoyed helping customers, decent training, some career growth possible
Cons
low pay, no guaranteed hours or benefits, punitive fear-based culture, conflicting priorities, poor management, nepotism and favoritism abound.
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Just Ok
Night crew Stocker (Former Employee) –  Pleasanton, CADecember 10, 2014
I worked here for two years,. I lived close by to the store at that time. There are lot of people who worked here, are stressed out due to pressure from the management and the corporate , needing more productivity but not giving enough time. A lot of people are skipping their breaks because of it. There are couple of time that the whole store employees got written out because we did not write down our weekly safety thing. We simply did not have the time. Several managers and night crew supervisors eventually got demoted because of productivity. While I was there, we had 7 night crew supervisors and assistant night crew managers changed within a year. Also within that year, almost 1/2 of the entire store staff got hurt because they are always in a hurry to get job done. I do love my co workers. We all worked as a team. I also had night crew supervisor and assistant supervisors who come in drunk unable to do the job , so morning comes, both will tag team and got people fired one by one. The only way to do the work is to work off the clock, which a few of us start doing. Those who are willing stayed. I am a workaholic. SO I am willing to work more, I stayed on the good side , I volunteered to do the cashier since nobody wants to do it. I love the customers, I am a people person. Because I am a workaholic, I was given more hours to work for a newbie. I volunteer to anything new. My pay got risen quite fast because of it. In the morning when the Cashiers arrived at 6 am. I don't get off till 7;30 am. I volunteered to give them breaks before I clocked out. I feel bad for the managers  more... who are overworked 12 hours shifts. I had one manager who brought in her 9 year old son to help out, even that she got demoted. in this type of work you got to have a lot of energy , be positive and happy inside or stress and work will get to you at the end of the day. Don't listen to the negative complain. Help the people, your crew member even when you are tired around you so that you will feel good , its the energy that I got to keep me going. eventually I had to quit because we have to moved, I tried transferring to another store but there is none available. The most enjoyable part of the job is the crew members. I did learned a lot in the store , operating some machinery in the backroom. Scanning , ordering, JSA etc. Because of it I have experience working in different shift. These are a few that I would not trade it in. I don't think I would have quit if we did not move. I would have preferred to stay.For newbies Working at Safeway are only for people who are workaholic. If you are not one of them you won't be able to survive. I was promised to get promoted by my Supervisor. But Because we moved, working only 4 hours and driving almost an hour to work is not feasible.  less
Pros
people
Cons
not enough time to finish our job.
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Long overnight hours with few coworkers.
CC/HC/Night Crew (Former Employee) –  Lacey, WAMarch 29, 2014
I worked night crew for the last four months I was with Safeway. 5-6 days a week, 8.5 hours a night. Clocked on at 9:30 and off at 6. I had three coworkers, two older guys(30-40) and a 20 yr. old. First, we would break down the load onto different carts and wheelers. Each aisle had its own wheeler, and product was organized on wheelers in descending order down the aisle. I learned a lot about organization in my time at Safeway. The wheelers would be taken out to corresponding aisles and thrown to the shelf over the course of the night. After all product was thrown, we were required to face the shelves, which made the store look really nice by the end of the night. On most nights, a perishable load of dairy, produce, meat and frozen product will arrive between midnight and three. Normally, I would put away the perishable load because my coworkers had more experience and could throw freight to the shelf much faster than I. My personal favorite part of the job was having the store closed between 1-5. No customers for four hours really helps when you're trying to stay focused and working fast. My least favorite part was that night crew was all about speed. Precision was important, but I was constantly being pushed to move faster and empty wheelers quicker. After a month, I was at a comfortable pace where my coworkers didn't bother to critique me anymore and we all had some really nice conversations with each other. And finally, my manager, Randy. I never really got to know Randy too well, but I knew that I was one of his go to guys when anyone called out sick or they needed someone  more... to help out in another department. Through the H.C. status I had for two months before night crew, Randy had me help out in the Floral, Janitorial, Bakery, Produce, Dairy, Meat, CPS, GM/HBC, and Frozen departments. Randy made me well rounded in doing just about anything they needed me to do while I was at Safeway, and I kind of liked being the person that others rely on. Well, that's about all I have to say about Safeway, It was a good learning experience for me and I want to move up to something better than grocery retail.  less
Pros
0 tolerance for slackers, promotion is not too difficult to achieve, great healthcare coverage, lots of short breaks over night, comfortable working environment, very positive atmosphere, coworkers have real positive attitudes
Cons
high stress, sometimes too fast paced
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It Aint what it used to be
DAIRY MANAGER (Current Employee) –  Bay Area, CAFebruary 23, 2013
I would only recommend seeking employment at this job to people who are in school or are otherwise working towards another career goal and need something with flexible scheduling options (sometimes too flexible).

Having worked there for longer than I care to admit, I have noticed a decline in the company as a whole. Despite the success of their "Just for U" program at bringing in business, the company cuts corners and hours at every opportunity, leading to an often disgruntled and dissatisfied workforce. I have worked at several stores and have been sent to help out at even more and its the same at all of them. In their efforts to compete with non union competition such as Wal-Mart, Safeway has began to mirror many of their less appealing company practices.

Schedules and hours are inconsistent for the majority of employees unless they are essential to any given department or they have "full time" status which is not many. Often times employees will find themselves struggling to get by financially from week to week because of this.

The schedule that begins on Sunday doesn't post until late afternoon Thursday making it difficult for employees to plan and manage their lives around work. This leads to increased requested days off from everyone and time/attendance issues of all varieties.

What once was a good paying and respectable profession at a company that prided itself on the quality of its employees has become a revolving door of new faces with no industry experience making half of what a journeyman food clerk makes, needless to say most don't stick around for very long
  more... because it takes so long to begin making a wage that you can support yourself on.

Aside from that, working with people is both the best thing abut the job and at times the most challenging as well. More than anything it is the relationships you build while working in the grocery business that keep you there. A lot of the times it can be downright fun depending on who you're working with.

Often times the discipline is subjectively enforced. My advice is to build a good working relationship with your manager so they know you can be relied on to handle your job responsibilities without constant supervision or disciplinary "guidance". If you can do that, the job allows for relative freedom.
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Pros
union, benefits, coworkers, flexibility
Cons
disciplinary practices, corporate, inconsistent hours
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Only go if it's a last resort.
Barista (Former Employee) –  Rancho Bernardo, CANovember 5, 2015
I worked for Safeway/Vons for about a year as a Barista In my store Starbucks. During that year we switched managers and after we switched managers of my department, I stopped receiving hours, stopped seeing my manager, and was ultimately ignored for the duration of my last 9 months there. I used to get 36-40 hours a week and when we got our new manager she switched me to 20-25 hours a week, less than my contracted 24 hour minimum. When I brought that up to my store managers they simply said to just work for 24 and they would talk to my manager. They never did. Like I mentioned before as well, I only saw my manager about 10 times total. She also at one point made me work a 52 hour week and the two other employees only worked 41 hours. I would be there from the 4:30 AM opening to 1 PM only to be back later for a 5-9:30 PM closing and then a repeat process, doing this hellish shift for seven days straight; against union rules. The other baristas I worked with were generally pleasurable people with the exception of one who would come in hungover and high on the party drug "Molly", mind you she and I were both 18 at the time, and she would leave her shifts early because of the instability she created. When I brought this up to my managers they simply shrugged it off and chalked it up to a petty tiff between girls and left it.
The management handled nothing and when I put in my two week notice they complained and harassed me asking why I was leaving them at a time I knew my co-workers needed me. Management also lost the checks of everybody in the store several times and when the
  more... employees who hadn't been paid asked for compensated lunches they refused and said it was not their responsibility to make sure we were paid. They also refused to look or give me my final paycheck until I physically showed up several times and threatened to call the union. I quit in early July and didn't receive my final pay until I had already begun my other job in mid august.
In short, my expirence was terrible and I would never want anybody else to have to go through the arduous process of dealing with Vons. Everybody there is nice and a good person but once you're there longer than a month, you realize how truly bleak and soul-crushing this place is.
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Pros
Good coworkers
Cons
Literally everything else
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Great Pharmacy To Work For...But Lack Appreciation For Those Who Sacrifice For The Company
Pharmacy Technician (Former Employee) –  San Diego, CAMarch 30, 2014
I worked for the Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. Now, don't get me wrong...majority of management is great...work/life balance is decent and they're really flexible...BUT, be careful to NOT devote yourself to much, because in the end you will receive no appreciation. See, I floated for the company...now I did that willingly but, I would volunteer to pick up extra shift at a moments notice, it didn't matter where I'd be going, I always said, just give me a call and I'll be there...cause to a point, I put my dedication to the company before everything...including family...and my car...just to be there when they needed someone. So much that, now before I dive into it...I volunteered to go to Mammoth Lakes, CA for the company. The first year I was like awesome a working type vacation during the snow season...Did that for three years...this past year (2013)...the company had TWO employees (one technician and one clerk) put in their two week notice at the same time right before the snow season was to start. Now, knowing the company would be in a bind to find employees at a short notice to relocate there or even hire new and train...I volunteered to fill in at a moments notice. So, I temporary relocated myself and my family up there for two and a half months...we stayed in a hotel room with two queen size beds with a small kitchenette....no stove, just microwave and small fridge....for a little over two months...It took them two months to find replacement staff there not only to add we were away from family during the holidays...sometimes working 7days a week for 12hrs a day...After  more... all that was said and done we came home and back to the usual. Then something that wasn't clearly stated in the "company policy" occurred and was let go...and the Regional Pharmacy Manager upon giving my last check was like, "Oh and thanks for the two and half months in Mammoth." So, my suggestion....don't make to many sacrifices for the company, because they wont cover do anything in the end to appreciate you...they're just more concerned with their bottom line...Good Luck :)  less
Pros
flexible schedule, mileage reimbursements for floaters, a "certain" pharmacy specialist @corporate very understanding, decent benefits, union
Cons
no advancement beyond technician, quick to fire best staff, company who bought albertsons claimed no layoffs to them according to albertsons that wasnt true
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Great place to start working.
Butcher (Current Employee) –  Seward, AKJuly 4, 2014
When I started working for Safeway, Inc. I had no experience cutting meat. I started as a seasonal cashier and was promoted into the meat department about 2 1/2 months later as an apprentice meat cutter. During my apprenticeship the learning curve was very steep. It was a two year apprenticeship to become a journeyman butcher. My pay was increased substantially every 1000 hours, without overtime that's about 25 to 28 weeks (6 months). It was a very learning intensive program (the apprenticeship program used to be a leisurely 7 years) but the work was very satisfying.

At the completion of my apprenticeship my supervisor decided to move to another state. As a result, I was made the interim supervisor of the Meat Department until Department Heat could be transferred to my store (that took a year). During that time I was challenged in every way imaginable. I had ZERO training or experience running a Meat Department and when I requested access to the training resources that Safeway Inc. has painstakingly created and compiled for just this occasion the Store Manager responded to my request by telling me that I needed to "figure it out for myself" (his words, not mine). Sales did increase while I was running the Meat Department (I set the all time record for 4th of July weekend sales) but so did the shrink in the Meat Department.

When a Department Head was finally transferred to my store I was very disappointed. I was given the impression that this new supervisor would be bringing me more training and instruction to advance my skill set even more. I wanted to learn order creation
  more... methods and inventory management, in hopes that maybe someday I would be given another shot and running a Meat Department. But when he arrived I was taken completely out of the loop. In the last year that he's been here he hasn't taught me anything about inventory management, and he is very secretive about his ordering techniques. The Department Head's skills as a butcher are completely lacking. As a result, the bulk of the meat cutting is left to myself and the two apprentices under me.

I really enjoy cutting meat and I really enjoy working for Safeway. The management styles of both my Department Head and my Store Manager leave a LOT to be desired. They are both very nice people but when it comes to leadership qualities, just being nice doesn't cut it. My biggest complaints about my Store Manager is his tendency to favoritism and his tendency to discuss employees issues with or in the presence of other non-involved, non-management, employees (to me this is a serious breach of supervisory professionalism).

Once my apprenticeship was completed and a new Department Head was brought in, my training and advancement opportunities all but disappeared.
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Pros
satisfying work, nice people, great friendly work environment.
Cons
unprofessional management staff, little advancement opportunities.
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Pharmacists - NorCal Region in BAD shape
Pharmacist (Current Employee) –  NorCalDecember 1, 2013
Safeway WAS an excellent place to work - the NorCal division is in shambles, no improvement in sight.
1. Pharmacists are often required to clean the public/employee Bathroom in the 'Wellness Center' - during regular business hours, in full view of the Public
2. Float Position? Good Luck with that - you are now required to schedule yourself directly with each store
- there is no oversight of scheduling, you get what you get - Full-Time? Yeah, sure - sometimes.
3. 10hr shifts used to be a HUGE advantage of working for Safeway as a Pharmacist, OT at each shift - Not Anymore, being phased out
4. No 10 hr shifts? How? FLOATERS will be required to take 4 hr shifts.
5. 4hr shifts? Yeah - I hope you weren't counting on benefits.
6. Safeway is failing financially - you can look forward to Floating indefinitely, no benefits, and short shifts.
- The coming model:
Each store will have a PIC and Staff Pharmacist. Most Pharmacies will have a RPh for 8hrs - with a Floater overlapping with a 4 hr shift to close for M-Fri.
7. NorCal = Non Union for Safeway Pharmacists - now a Union isn't necessarily that great - but without one, management will take advantage of you to the max. Open Door Policy? lol - employment is 'at will'
8. Utter INCOMPETENCE of Senior Management: 'Wellness Center'? Actually a massive, money wasting endeavor pushed forward by the District Director without even doing her homework first! (Health Code does NOT allow Phlebotomy in any FOOD ESTABLISHMENT... ) Now they are scrambling to figure out what to do with this pathetic misguided joke.
9. Leadership Incompetence? Pretty
  more... sad, but this is the sorry excuse for a 'leadership' that Safeway currently has in this district.

Now, the actual day-to-day work life is mostly pretty good - most fellow employees are wonderful.
It's the low-down, slimy policies of this District Director (M. Sch.)
That is set on degrading your profession to the lowest of levels.

Do you like the Glorified Bagger - AKA Store Manager ultimately running your Pharmacy? Get used to it - you will ever be viewed as more than an 'over-paid pill counter'.
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Pros
great coworkers
Cons
watch your profession become reduced to a menial cost liability as your status, pay, and benefits erode before
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Busy and time consuming work. always something to do, not enough people to do it
Courtesy Clerk, Cashier, All Purpose Clerk (Current Employee) –  Colorado Springs, COOctober 2, 2015
Working at Safeway was quite the experience for me. the store i worked in was the busiest in our district. managements focus seemed to be solely on our competitors and not so much on managing. it seemed as though i was back in high school, instead of constructive criticism generally used by managers you would hear what you had done wrong after it had traveled down the grape vine. Some coworkers worked hard, others who had adapted to the union, not so much. Though it was a good experience the store itself needed better management. instead of always doing the job, and doing it right the first time, the store managers insisted on their ways until their managers decided to walk through. then it was a frantic shuffle for the managers to pick up the slack, and as soon as the higher ups would leave it was back to normal. i always told the heads that they should surprise visit, if they really wanted to see the state of the store. whenever they did they were not pleased. i was a backup cashier, but i say that loosely, basically i was more of a back up stocker. they never would have enough actually cashiers, even though all that were hired were lucky to make 25 hours a week. instead they insisted on taking me from the dairy and putting me in the check stand for hours at a time, needless to say the dairy didn't always get done. besides the management it is a good place to work, the union never really helped with anything, but the atmosphere was generally positive as long as management wasn't brought up. it was a good job that i would have enjoyed and probably kept if not for the management,  more... or should i say the lack of management. the hardest part was trying to work both ends, keeping the customers happy and check out lines short, but also getting my product and the loads done and cleared out for the next day, some days it was literally impossible. i learned alot, i learned that people in the end are generally in it for themselves but dont assume that about everyone cause their are good people out there. i learned that you have to do your best, even if the odds are against you if you worked hard if you tried to persevere you tried, thats all you can do. no reason to get upset or frustrated, you played the cards you were dealt and you tried everything in your power, people see that.  less
Pros
flexible for the most part.
Cons
no benefits, part time except managers, no room for opportunity, terrible "high school" style management
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Great company with plenty of advancement options and benefits
Starbucks Manager (Former Employee) –  Bellevue, WAOctober 18, 2014
A typical day at work would include coming in and going to the front office to print out the daily sales and profit reports from the previous day. Once recorded and filed away i would do a sweep of the kiosk to make sure everything was fully stocked & aesthetically pleasing to the customer. Throughout the day I would make drinks, ring up customers while delivering excellent customer service, mentor fellow Baristas and delegate tasks to them to create accountability for them to take pride in what they do. Once a month inventory would get done to get a dollar amount for every ingredient, paper product, and retail item to keep ordering under control. Once a week I would place an order for supplies and ingredients.

This company taught me how to be a great leader, accurately place orders to achieve the highest profitability, time management, handling high stress situations, training different learning styles, motivating employees to want to advance in the company by delegating tasks, holding them accountable, and praising them upon completion.

The hardest part of the job would be staffing, most of the time there would only be two of us working with a 15 deep line. Due to Safeways labor generator we were only allotted a certain amount of hours which wasn't enough to handle our volume but I had an amazing team that never let me down.

The most enjoyable part of the job was our customers and my coworkers. The customers became friends as you see yourself getting to know them on a first name basis with their drink ready before they even reach the counter. They look forward to seeing
  more... your face everyday and I love the impact our service has on their day. With such a great job I had an amazing group of coworkers who were hard working individuals who loved what they did. Throughout my experience there was never a dull moment.  less
Pros
diverse company to work for with its many departments, always a chance to pursue advancement.
Cons
with such a high volume kiosk it was a challenge to make time to train new employees, i would constantly have to leave the trainee to help out in the kiosk
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A non-career, mediocre job
Delivery Driver (Current Employee) –  Santa Clarita, CAJuly 15, 2013
When I first hired on at Vons,com, it was not a career decision. It was, in all honesty, a fill in job until I could return to land surveying; going on five and one half years. The job itself is very simple, straight forward. I drive a company delivery van (modified Ford E series cargo van) to deliver groceries in various regions of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. I am only a part-time employee. Each store has only 1 full-time driver, with the exceptions of Burbank and West Hollywood. I deliver to houses, apartments, mobile home parks and businesses. The hardest of this job is having to go up and down stairs, primarily at apartments, multiple times, to deliver groceries. Some days are easy and some can be very difficult, especially if the problem starts inside the store. Issues such as computer problems to pick groceries, the online register (aka virtual till) to process orders and/or the shoppers (those that pick the food for us) run late, can cause major delays for drivers. The smallest delay could cost a driver as much as one hour of delivery time, which can never be made up. As a result, he will have multiple late orders. I am a very detailed oriented person. I pride myself on being on time for anything. So when I am late leaving the store, it bothers me because I feel I am letting the customers down as a representative of Vons.com.

All drivers are trained to the same job, the same way. This includes filling out daily temperature logs while making deliveries, filling out vehicle inspection logs before each route, putting gas in vans at the end of the day. Unfortunately,
  more... not all drivers do these things and it makes it difficult for the next driver. So, sometimes, I am unhappy with my co-workers, especially those who have been there as long as me, or longer, when they can't do these simple tasks. Overall though, I get along with them fine.  less
Pros
delivering to elderly people, whose family has placed orders for them; i feel i am helping them.
Cons
the 1 hour delivery windows. these started in 2011 and have caused havoc with the routing.
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safeway review
Front End/Checker (Former Employee) –  Washington, DCSeptember 24, 2013
typical day at work was spent at the register scanning/bagging merchandise, speaking with customers and helping them find what they needed. i learned its not what you know,its who you know. management was mediocre and thats a compliment. not all but some were the worst most inconsiderate people i have ever met. and there was like 2 asst mgrs that were the sweetest of the sweet. the store manager was actually a cool guy but they got rid of him fast, i knew more than a couple of the shift managers...hows that? i dont know but they were always asking me for help. no one cared for your schedule or were petty if you voiced your opinion, was being groomed to work in human resources, but as soon as i spoke up to the hr lady's secret asst. manager boyfreind i got demoted..smh sorry i aint butt kisser.. i wanted to move to another department that i was interested in that needed help and one manager refused to let me. co workers were cool, no one was mean or crazy. hardest part of the job was the pay, not enough to do anything with unless you were a teenager, not someone with a family to support and bills to pay, not enough hours were given for my availability even though i specified them on my application. i had met a girl who worked for 3 years at a location i was training at and i was making almost as much as she was!!! crazy!! they seriously dont pay enough and have the nerve to make you join the union, and they dont give you the dues back once you leave as they promised. most enjoyable part of the job was the customers, they were really nice and always appreciative. the location  more... i worked was a prime spot for local celebrities and politicians. i met quite a few while working there and they were all nice. overall, i wasnt paid nearly enough to deal with the cons that outweighed the pros and that is what i stated in my resignation letter in so many words. people always talk about the benefits that come with working for this company but no one tells you that you have to spend years getting the life sucked out of you before you even get that. i dont have time for that.  less
Pros
cool customers and co workers
Cons
everything else.. sucky pay, less than poor management, bad hours
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A Once respectful company has really dropped the ball
SEAFOOD/MEAT CLERK (Current Employee) –  Denver, COApril 6, 2013
A typical day at work opening: Come in at 9 tired and sore, do temps/tares,markdowns, then put up the full service case. Halfway thru putting up the case you would hear managment on the intercom announcing the daily service huddle. One person from each department would come and talk about customer service in a huddle every day. At this point every one knows what we have to do just certain individuals keep our secret shopper % at the low 50s.Managment of course blames everyone and tries new ideas to get everyone excited for shops which never work. Its even gotten to the point where we have a daily exercise sheet where you observe fellow co workers role playing and write down how well they did.If you get a bad shop you have to do 30 of these sheets. The new store manager has really turned the place into a dictatorship. You come into work and we have about 2 cashiers at a time and lines of people waiting to be checked out and you can see why are sales are down and our customer service is so low. Nobody really wants to be at safeway, all the old timers got comfortable with their checks and with the company. The young kids at safeway rebel the most. And whatever you do don't apply for a curtiosy clerk positon, they have it the worst. Its even gotten to the point where we have people from different departments check out instead of hiring some cashiers. Managment is the worst you think they really care about Safeway but they know how bad it is and the only reason they push everything so hard is so they can get a nice bonus. The co-workers are mostly great people to work with that just  more... got sucked into a trap that is Safeway. A couple of negative co workers do exist that come in with a bad attitude and make the day worse for everyone. Overall the work itself isn't bad, its the stubborn customers, managment, and some co-workers that ruin your day. Safeway is all about broken promises. The most enjoyable part of the job is the downtime which is allot if no new product comes in and backstock is already worked, you get time to talk to some great people  less
Pros
great seafood manager, 30+ hours a week, some co-workers are great to work with. union job
Cons
no growth for a long time, negative co-workers. managment also goes thru a routine of ideas that never work.
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only selected few co workers are fun to work with
Food Clerk (Current Employee) –  Burlingame, CAMarch 18, 2013
Hell on earth. Especially at tgis Burlingame store where the space in the back is nothing but a mess. When your load comes in you cant walk normal anymore. Either you walk sideways or not at all. The place in the back is so small' literally. The sales floor is too big one person can't work and finish putting out the product on your own. The store mgr. Expect you too finish but you can't. You drop whatever youre doing when they call you to check. But they expect you to finish on Time. The asst mgrs who are so stiff scared of the store mgr even sacrifice their own time by working for free just so they could finish the job that the selfish and hypocrite store mgr. Gives them. They literally work for free which is a violation of the union contract. The closing mgr is still a union member position a scapegoat position for the first assistant, whom I know for a fact is a brown nose to the store mgr, whom I know by reputation treats all his employees like slaves. This particular store mgr in Burlingame, safeway on Howard, is a death sentence for any employee that gets transferred here. The store mgr. Here will threathen you, demean and look down on you like you are some piece of toilet item if he doesn't like you work. If you dont kiss his ring, you wont get his blessings. So you as good as dead. The worst store I have ever been in. The neighborhood is made up mostly of rich BUT VERY CHEAP individuals or community that wants first class products for free. What cheap people. And what a incompetent, and disrespectfull and hypocrite store manager who will charm you if you are a wealthy  more... customer. But guess what, the sales we get here are mostly from middle income and not from thr hypocrites that live here. This store eversince its renovation was doomed to fail the moment it was reconstructed. Perhaps if they put a new store mgr. Everything is going to turn out positive. But while this the sun dont shine store mgr is still here, consider working for this particular a death wish.  less
Pros
the max pay, the medical, my co workers
Cons
the store manager, the back area, the store manager again.
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3.7
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