- Christian Beltran, 22, has worked at Trader Joe's in Los Angeles for over a year.
- His "Christian from Trader Joe's" TikTok account has racked up 20,000 followers.
- His favorite videos to make are reviews and recommendations from fellow employees.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Christian Beltran, a 22-year-old who works at Trader Joe's in Los Angeles. It has been edited for length and clarity.
A year and a half ago, I started working at Trader Joe's as a way to pay for my expenses while finishing college. I started a TikTok account dedicated to what it's like to work at the grocery store, reviews of Trader Joe's products, and the friendships I made with my coworkers. Now, I have almost 20,000 followers and my coworkers get involved with my videos, too. It's boosted morale and deepened friendships between the people who work at my store, which is great.
My managers are cool with it, as long as I'm not making videos while I'm supposed to be working. It's been such a fun experience to have this in my life while I'm working through my senior year of college and on applications for PhD programs. I work an average of 20 hours a week, but I'm not sure how many hours I'll log during the upcoming school year. I'm also writing a thesis, so I'm really busy. I'm studying psychology and I do research on organizational behavior and management.
I don't have strict rules for myself about when I post — it's more just when I have a good idea for content
My favorite things to share on TikTok are reviews and recommendations from my fellow crew members. It's fun to get everyone in the store involved.
It's strange because I don't think I'm that funny or interesting, but I've still managed to gain a following. Customers even come up to me in the store and tell me they've seen my videos, which is so wild to hear. I really like talking to people, so I don't mind when people recognize me. It's nice to hear that people enjoy the videos I make.
Some videos can be quick hits, and some can take much longer, like if I need specific clips and multiple perspectives. If it's a video that reviews Trader Joe's products, a lot of the crew take part, so that takes longer to film. I always consult the crew members on their thoughts before posting.
I don't know where the account will go, but I'm having fun with it.
It makes sense to me why people love to shop here
I'd never really shopped at Trader Joe's before I worked there, but I knew there was a lot of hype around it. People joke that certain products have a cult-like following, and it's definitely true.
Right now, I'm obsessed with the butternut squash mac and cheese and the pumpkin Hold the Cone ice cream. They're both fall items and won't be around for long, so I'm going to stock up on them before the season ends.
The people who are hired at Trader Joe's are generally very friendly and customer-oriented, and that makes the stores stand out in the customer-service realm. I'm a social and outgoing person, so it's been a good fit for me to work at a place that prides itself on having friendly employees.
The work itself isn't that difficult, and I really like the people I work with. That's my favorite part of my job — I've met some of my best friends through work. Working as a college student can sometimes be really difficult when it comes to balancing schoolwork, your job, and your social life, but Trader Joe's is great because it doesn't feel like a slog.
I'm really fortunate to be in a situation like this
Before I worked at Trader Joe's, I worked at In-N-Out, which was fun in its own way, but so hectic and fast-paced. It's nice to be in a calmer environment.
Although I know that other Trader Joe's stores are unionizing, I haven't heard of anything going on at my store. It's not really something I'm worried about because I know that Trader Joe's has been making efforts to make things better for the crew, like the fact that we now get extra pay for working on Sundays. That kind of thing makes all the difference.
I don't know where my senior year will take me, but I know I'll be at Trader Joe's and on TikTok. If you need any recommendations, you can find me there.