“Even with my discount I couldn’t afford to buy not-expired product”

After attending the 3-day orientation for New Seasons Market, they had me sold (and even brought to tears a few times) about their promise for a healthy, sustainable work environment that cared about my needs as a worker above all. To say the least, I was pretty excited to work for the company—after all, they stood for my ideals.

Soon after starting the job, I was faced with neglectful management, little to no legitimate training, and poor scheduling (described as “lifestyle” scheduling, it was far from it.)

For health reasons amongst other things, I couldn’t work late shifts and expressed that to them after having been scheduled for multiple back-to-back 2–10 pm shifts. I was told “Well, everyone wants morning shifts but not everyone can have mornings,” even though I filled out multiple availability forms stating my morning availability before I was hired and was assured that that’s what I would get.

Almost all the employees were hesitant to call out for any reason, due to how short-staffed we were and the points system. I was also nervous about running the cheese department by myself for 7 hours a day when I had almost no training on cheese—I couldn’t accurately help customers at all.

The Blue slip system where employees could take home food that was pulled from the shelves was poorly regulated and often had a lot of moldy food. Considering that even with my discount I couldn’t afford to buy not-expired product, the Blue slip is what I, and most people depended on for lunch.

We were encouraged to shop there, but I never did, because 7 items would bring me to a price that would get me a full fridge of groceries from competing grocery stores.

My department’s floor wasn’t properly made for effective drainage, so when we mopped, pools of water would collect overnight and become smelly and stagnant. Management never addressed those concerns. The amount of unrecyclable plastic that just my department threw away daily (let alone the whole store) was a lot, and we’d repackage all that product in more plastic. I’m still surprised that they are somehow B Corp certified.

Today in the world, food waste, plastic waste and poor treatment of the people who serve the public is a terrible problem. I was extremely disappointed that New Seasons didn’t live up to their promises after specifically highlighting these issues.

Now more than ever we need honest, local grocery that actually cares about the betterment of the planet, the food we eat and people who make it. I hope that with enough voices of concern, New Seasons will feel the need to revert to what they once were, a store with the interest of helping the environment and the community as a whole, not just profits.” —New Seasons employee, Ballard store, submitted 9/4/18