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Wegmans is once again on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Here’s something you should know: This list is total garbage.

I’ve always wondered how a company with mostly part-time workers who start at minimum wage could rank so highly. Wegmans scored in the high 90’s on every measurement. Really?


Great Places to Work Institute

Great Places to Work Institute


It turns out, Wegmans pays to be on this list. Fortune doesn’t do the ranking and provides little information about methodology. A company called Great Place to Work Institute conducts the surveys. The minimum price of entry is $995. Companies can choose more expensive packages to become clients of GPWI. Wegmans has been a client, according to a 2011 story in 24/7wallstreet.  This kind of relationship taints the polling process.

What really damns the survey is how it is administered. According to a manual I downloaded from the GPWI site, the surveys are not scientific. Companies like Wegmans select the workers who will take the surveys. Companies administer the surveys themselves. Companies also get to choose when they administer the survey. GPWI says the surveys must be done at random and provides a guide to companies on how to choose a good sample. (Wegmans chose 722 workers, according to GPWI.) There’s no way any reputable polling firm would conduct a survey in this manner.


GPWI handbook

Great Places to Work Institute


GPWI’s website encourages companies to get on their list to “strengthen your brand.” GPWI will provide winners PR tips for how to maximize the recognition. The profiles of each winning company also have a “how to get hired” section, in which they make a pitch to prospective employees. This shows the list is merely a marketing and recruitment tool.

Wegmans own data shows issues with employee retention, as nearly one-third of workers have been there less than two years. Only 20 percent have been there more than 10 years. Two-thirds of workers are part-timers, who must work 30 hours a week to be eligible for benefits. The average salary for a full-time customer service worker is $34,000, including overtime. That’s not bad, but it’s not a great living.

I love shopping at Wegmans. I’m sure many employees love working at Wegmans. (I am a Wegmans alumna.) But let’s get real about this list and what it means. Absolutely nothing.

Update: A Wegmans spokesperson took huge issue with my mention of retention. Many of the workers are teenagers and many have just been hired at new stores. That skews the numbers. Totally fair points! But on the methodology, Wegmans didn’t have anything to add, except that it follows Fortune’s protocols. As I’ve pointed out, Fortune’s protocols are not scientific. Wegmans stands by its participation in the survey and notes it’s widely recognized.

Another update: Wegmans followed up again, saying GPWI provides envelopes for workers to send back the surveys. Wegmans emphasizes it’s not doing anything devious here. I hope that’s not what I’m implying. I’m only saying the survey is not independently administered. Wegmans picks the workers. If you really want to find out what employees think, you’ll have an independent firm conduct such a survey from start to finish.
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95 Responses to Wegmans + Fortune 100 = Nonsense

  1. Correct on all counts.

    Now, can we please put a bullet in the dozens of “best colleges” lists and then make it a perfect day by vowing to ignore all of the “best cities” lists as well?

  2. March 4, 2016 at 8:16 am rick geiger responds:

    people should know that its the same thing with the JD Power ratings that get advertised. you basically pay them to find a category that reflects positively on your company and the numbers are not scientific

    • March 5, 2016 at 1:26 pm Jonathan responds:

      Again, the numbers themselves from each companies survey are meaningless. It’s the analysis of the data when comparing against their peers surveys and normalizing the data that you can see the bias. JDPowers is still useful, because even if a company is inflated in a few categories, a competitor that is better will be “inflated” in even more categories. It doesn’t matter if a company scores good in 3 out of 5 categories. A company that scores even better in 4 out of 5 and the one that scores better even in 5 out of 5 is obviously a superior company.

      Again I’ll say that the METHOD of collecting the data has to be consistent. That is it. It doesn’t matter if the data is biased. You can normalize the data.

  3. The Goal for Fortune: Create a list of the top 100 Companies to Work For.
    Rachel, let’s assume you are the Fortune staff member given this assignment.
    How would you go about it?

    The $995 entry fee is not an outrageous sum to pay to enter, and it culls the universe down to those who feel they should be considered. This saves time money and effort.

    If all companies that are in consideration have the same survey, then the playing field is level.

    The cynicism of the selection of random employees hints at calling the selectors dishonest or unfair. Why? Do you honestly select random people to interview for a story or do you skew the subjects to prove your point? If you can be honest, why can’t Wegman’s?

    Please tell us how you would have Fortune produce the list if that was your task.

    • March 4, 2016 at 8:30 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Simple! Hire a reputable polling firm to conduct a scientific survey.

    • March 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm Jonathan responds:

      How is that reputable company going to get the data? Don’t they still need to be provided a list of employees contact info from the EMPLOYER themselves? Any methods that provide the employee contact info require the employer providing that info. It seems like a catch-22. What you are asking for is actually impossible.

      • March 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

        Thank you for your comments on this.

        First, it should be made clear when publicizing this poll that Wegmans isn’t the 4th best in the country. It’s the 4th best of companies that paid to play.

        Next, have a researcher pick the samples from employer-provided database of workers. Have the researcher administer the survey and collect responses.

        Finally, don’t have a financial relationship between researcher and company with the goal being to market the end result. If Wegmans wanted to pay someone to come in and do an internal study, that’s one thing. But Wegmans is paying for what is very clearly a marketing and recruiting tool, based on the materials available on the survey website.

        • March 5, 2016 at 2:57 pm Jonathan responds:

          I would say it should be obvious to anybody that this fortune article has some level of hyperbole in it. So I think we can all agree that it’s not literally the 4th best place to work. Just like the World Series isn’t literally “The World”, but it doesn’t mean that the winner of the World Series still didn’t deserve the title as compared to its peers.

          But again, the employer controls the DB handed over. It would be illegal to give them to provide access directly to a DB that would include Personal Information, so any way you look at it, and no matter who is conducting the survey, the employer prunes and provides the names to the researcher. They can provide whomever they want the surveyor to survey.

  4. You make me sick. Now that I have your attention,….is there anything that you will not bash, anything? When I shop there I get service second to none,….second to none! When my kids were growing up they got their start in the world of profession/career. Nope they didn’t make Wegmans their career. But they received a great foundation to work from, a start. I’m grateful to Wegmans for that opportunity.

    Do I shop at other places, yup. But if I want quality at a fair price with great service? Wegmans is a great place shop and a great place to get a start on a career.

    • March 4, 2016 at 8:31 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      There is no sacred cow.

      • The Fortune staff hired a firm they felt was reputable.
        Please be specific. as to who would be better. I was taught, Don’t give problems – give solutions.
        Who would be your solution?

        • March 4, 2016 at 8:37 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

          I demonstrated this firm doesn’t do scientific polling. Gallup does, for example.

        • March 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm Jonathan responds:

          Gallup was wrong on who would win the 2012 election and had the worst accurate results amongst the top 23 pollsters. “Scientific” doesn’t mean accurate. On the other hand if you had used all 23 election polls and normalized the data, you would have accurately predicted with ease who won in 2012.

          • This discussion has devolved into picking nits.

            Gallup was wrong on who would win the 2012 election and had the worst accurate results amongst the top 23 pollsters. “Scientific” doesn’t mean accurate. On the other hand if you had used all 23 election polls and normalized the data, you would have accurately predicted with ease who won in 2012.[/]

            This is non-sequitur. If you were presented with the poll results of an internal tracking poll conducted/paid for by either the Romney or Obama campaigns, you would be right to question the veracity of that poll because there is a clear conflict of interest between the campaign and the polling organization, which in this case would be the campaign itself. A vested interest exists, and therefore you can be certain if the results were favorable to the Obama campaign, you’d see it everywhere and if they were negative towards the Romney campaign, you’d see it nowhere.

            A poll conducted by an unaffiliated independent polling organization, whether it is entirely accurate or not, carries considerable authority to an independent observer because there is no financial or working relationship between the pollster and the campaign.

            When you read testimonials on a company website, do you believe you are getting a fair an unbiased sampling of consumer opinion or just those comments that reflect the company in a good light?

            This is common sense and not rocket science. Debating this further is pointless.

          • March 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm Jonathan responds:

            [quote]This is non-sequitur. If you were presented with the poll results of an internal tracking poll conducted/paid for by either the Romney or Obama campaigns, you would be right to question the veracity of that poll because there is a clear conflict of interest between the campaign and the polling organization, which in this case would be the campaign itself. A vested interest exists, and therefore you can be certain if the results were favorable to the Obama campaign, you’d see it everywhere and if they were negative towards the Romney campaign, you’d see it nowhere.

            A poll conducted by an unaffiliated independent polling organization, whether it is entirely accurate or not, carries considerable authority to an independent observer because there is no financial or working relationship between the pollster and the campaign.

            When you read testimonials on a company website, do you believe you are getting a fair an unbiased sampling of consumer opinion or just those comments that reflect the company in a good light?

            This is common sense and not rocket science. Debating this further is pointless.[/quote]

            What you are presenting is a non-sequitur actually. If ONLY Romney or Obama was paying for the poll, then yes your logic would hold. But if all the candidates were paying the same agency that was doing the polling, then where is the bias? This assumption that having a financial relationship somehow contributes to a favored result is an example of an inductive fallacy. This same logical fallacy was recently used by Trump to claim that Scheiderman’s suits against him for Trump University were because of those donations. Schneiderman points out that Trump actually made more contributions than Hillary so his argument is flawed.

            I think we can all agree that “The best” is hyperbole, but it’s a fallacy to say that just because the companies are paying that their placement on the list isn’t scientifically analyzed.

            If all

      • Bingo Tom! I have never read anything constructive in the “Barnhart newspaper”. I managed a medical imaging practice/department for 28 years. Our meetings consisted of problems/concerns that followed with possible solutions. In most cases we came up with a solution, which we implemented. That is how you address quality issues, patient care concerns. Bashing, criticizing, bad mouthing and all the other negativity doesn’t get results. Rachel, you are very good about stirring the pot, but that is the extent of your “contribution”. Whining is not much of a skill. Not to worry though you will soon get your raise regardless, when our esteemed governor increases your hourly rate to $15.00 PH..

        • I find Rachel does a lot of investigative reporting. In days gone by people like you would have praised her for that. Now you’re asking for nothing but feel-good news releases from big corporations and incumbent governments. I’ll keep reading here, and frankly I enjoy a bit of salt in my news.

        • LOL, that’s all,…LOL

        • By the way not,…not looking for “feel good news”. Looking for solution based investigative reporting. Like,…try the RCSD and how it just doesn’t seem to get the needle to move on the graduation rate. That would be an investigative report of worth and then come up with a solution. There is enough to “chew” on around Rochester and Wegmans, it’s staff, its product quality, its service and its community involvement is not high on that list of Rochester concerns. Period. You want a little salt with your potatoes? I’ll be glad to pass you the shaker.

        • The journalist’s job isn’t to solve Wegmans’ problems. Informing people about something Wegmans and Fortune go out of their way not to disclose isn’t bashing, it’s called REPORTING.

          If you have a problem with this, you should confine yourself to reading press releases. Everything else risks just being… negative.

  5. March 4, 2016 at 9:04 am Bill Pruitt responds:

    Speaking of cows– It disturbs me that when you notice the cow has a bad tooth, people think you are killing the cow. What??? How did our educated public get to this point? If that’s what they think about what you’ve done, of course they can envision putting a fascist in the highest office.

    I love Wegmans too. THANK YOU for the good piece of journalism.

  6. Great insight again by Rachel. If is not her job to come up with a dissertation as to how to change the statistical measurements for a pay to get in marketing tool. Nobody disagrees that Wegmans is a highly functioning business but if appears that there is a smokescreen.

  7. March 4, 2016 at 9:29 am MrRochester responds:

    Where did you find that painting?

  8. March 4, 2016 at 10:45 am Former Employee responds:

    I worked for Wegmans also. The employees that are given surveys are hand-picked by Wegmans. Most of them have their daughters, sons, mothers, and fathers working at Wegmans also. There is no way that they would give a bad rating. After seeing the pressure that many workers are under to perform, I question all information that comes from these surveys, and everyone should too.

  9. As an almost 25 year employee, I can only add that all though I like and enjoy my job, I know a large number of others that do not. The whole atmosphere has changed drastically since Bob passed away and micro managing is at an all time high. I along with many other fellow employees wonder how we hit top ranks with almost every survey out there. But I guess I do like the bragging rights.

  10. Wegmans blows. People that endlessly praise this company are high from snorting lines and lines of Rochester blow. Wegmans sucks, Rochester sucks. You’re embarrassing yourself, people.

    • Yah, lets close it down, lets get rid of this company. Rachel,..you started a movement,…close Wegmans down, close Wegmans down! You investigated it and the have provided the solution. A solution based investigated journalistic effort. And I thought the sun would set on anther day without progress.

      Like I said, investigate the RCSD, the RCSB, the reason why the roads are littered with tons of trash, the reason why the bridges we drive under daily are crumbling, the poverty that appears to be growing at an alarming rate, the pot holes, the worst graduation rate in the nation, etc. If I ran Wegmans I would leave this pathetic community of whiners. This NYS, the Empire State, (name should be changed, so wrong) where we pay the highest taxes in the nation and where the child poverty rate is the highest in the nation. And then when a company like Wegmans, which is revered all over the east coast and growing at a rate of 3 per year, providing quality products, quality service, entry jobs and good careers and,….and community support,….gets noticed,….bash it.

      Those dam Conservatives! Oh wait the Liberals are in charge of all these “accomplishments”.

    • Its true. Once you get out of Wegmans territory you realize you can buy the same stuff other places for 25% cheaper.

      Sure, other stores dont have the prepared food bars to the extent wegmans does, but is lukewarm non-authentic chinese food thats been sitting out all day really what people go to a grocery store for to begin with?

  11. One has to question just how many Wegmans employees were ‘encouraged’ to participate in this and previous surveys with the knowledge that a negative review could impact their employment with the supermarket giant.

    • March 4, 2016 at 11:41 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      That’s why you can’t trust the survey. Even if we accept that Wegmans picked people at random and it was anonymous, it’s tainted. There does not appear to be much oversight. This could be very accurate…or not.

      • So all this investigative journalism boils down to, “it could be very accurate,….or not”.

        A conclusion to conclude that there really is no decisive conclusion, just a possible conclusion.

        • March 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

          People shouldn’t take this survey as fact. Correct. That’s worth pointing out.

        • Rachel may not be able to say it but I can, having investigated astroturf and corporate sock puppet operations for years now. Fortune makes their money from marketing awards and rankings that companies can be assured will make them look good.. It’s bought and paid for positive PR. No company will spend $1000 to be rated as garbage. It wouldn’t surprise me if a company has rights of refusal allowing them to purge any result they find unbecoming. Fortune used to be a credible magazine. Now it relies on something closer to the Huffington Post model — scores of unpaid columnists using their space to front various agendas. Consumer Reports it isn’t.

          • March 5, 2016 at 2:08 am Jonathan responds:

            Let’s just say for the sake of argument that Wegmans hand picks their employees and even “encourages” them to only vote positively. (which in and of itself is making an implication without any facts to support that implication). But wouldn’t that also mean that every single company that participates also can “handpick” their employees? So Wegmans would still be competing for the list on a level ground. It’s not as if Wegmans has found a loop-hole and is “padding” it’s statistics which no other company has the capability of doing.

            Which means it’s still a scientific poll. As long as the methodology for collecting the data is uniform and consistent for all samples, you have data which can be compared against each other. If you only have room for 5 companies on your list and 10 apply, and if companies 1 through 5 employees rate their employer as a 98 out of 100. And companyies 6 through 10’s handpicked employees rate their company 96 out of 100. Guess what, overall across the population of employees it is more probable than not that companies 1-5 would have a higher satisfaction if you were collecting data from every single employee. Again, as long as the methodology is consistent in how the samples are collected, it is a valid data set.

          • March 5, 2016 at 2:12 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

            Everything you’ve written here proves my point that it’s NOT scientific. You’re right in that every company that participate is part of the same scheme. But that doesn’t mean all of a sudden the poll is meaningful. No pollster would accept your reasoning and no one should accept such a result.

          • March 5, 2016 at 2:14 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

            And how do you know each company is consistent? We don’t know ANYTHING about what goes on internally at any company. That’s why it’s imperative an independent firm conduct surveys of this nature.

          • You can’t produce scientific results from an unscientific poll. Garbage in, garbage out.

            The only results they’ve produced is a list ranking companies for their ability to manipulate poll results for the PR value they want. That doesn’t say anything about the working conditions of the company. If they didn’t get the result they wanted, it all quietly disappears into oblivion.

          • If the polls didn’t exist there would be no need to publicize them. If they weren’t publicized there would be less items listed as `NEWS’. With less news there would be less people needed to comment on it. If less people were needed to comment there would be more people not going to journalism schools since there were no jobs and there would be more people available to ask you “Do you want the frozen foods in a separate bag?”

      • March 4, 2016 at 6:41 pm Vikki responds:

        God forbid you get hurt on the job and their lawyers come in and employees lie, you don’t have a chance in hell!!!!! KARMA IS ALL I CAN SAY!!!

        • March 5, 2016 at 1:16 pm Jonathan responds:

          Rachel Writes: “Everything you’ve written here proves my point that it’s NOT scientific. You’re right in that every company that participate is part of the same scheme. But that doesn’t mean all of a sudden the poll is meaningful. No pollster would accept your reasoning and no one should accept such a result.”

          Then explain to me how it’s possible any poll could ever be scientific? That’s why every single poll has a margin of error and when compared against each other, have an ever larger margin of error. Fortune can’t go into every business and pick their samples. That would be impossible for any pollster to do in any poll. Presidential polls have the same problem. Fox News polls lean Republican. CNN polls lean Democrat. Fox can’t just randomly go around to every city in the country to make sure they get a 100% sample. They have to rely on methods of gathering data that have error in them. The key is smoothing out the polls and surveys to find the bias and normalizing the data. As long as the METHOD to gather the data and samples are consistent, then the surveys from all the companies individual surveys can be normalized against each other and bias can be removed.

          This is still scientific. Nothing you have stated has disproved any of the methods as still following a scientific method for analyzing the data.

  12. March 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm Dennis responds:

    Danny, just like Joel Seligman, is a rentier (rent-seeker), someone who years ago eschewed big government, but now embraces it because is adds to his bottom line. Same with the UofR/College Town, these statist types get in bed with government, that way their pet projects and grandiose visions and senses of self are inflated, and, unfortunately, paid for or largely paid for by Joe and Jane Taxpayer.

    When I worked for Wegmans years ago, the upper management had at least some semblance of integrity, and a lot of them worked their way up from being baggers and stockers. Nowadays, they’re all about their corporate image. Their prices on meats and other staples are high, I moved out-of-state last year, and can’t believe how much of a rip-off Wegmans has become on their prices.

    By the way, they had a layoff around 2012 or so. Had to do with ObamaCare and some other issues. Not many people heard about it, but some long-time employees I know told me all about it. As usual with the corporate world, things may not always be what they appear to be.

    • Compared to Trader Joe’s, Wegmans prices are reasonable.

      • Dennis, you’re right of course. This capitalistic country should really be taken down a notch or two. So you left the Empire state. For financial gains because our taxes, cost of living etc are to high? There is no rip off Dennis. You can shop whenever, wherever and for whatever. You have a choice. There are a host of options. For some reason Wegmans is still thee place to shop. (if you can find a parking spot) I know several individuals who are employed with Wegmans. They appear to enjoy being part of the team. Sorry to hear that all the integrity left the company upon your departure.

  13. All companies that want to be ranked, pay to be on this list. All companies will ensure that they are represented “properly” to protect that investment. Conclusion, companies that want to be ranked are playing on an even playing field. Through your investigation, were there any companies that polled their employees differently?

    • March 4, 2016 at 2:16 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      We don’t know in this particular survey what anyone did, because it was self-administered.

  14. March 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm L. WiiliamMarshall responds:

    Josh, the roads and bridges I think we can lay at the feet of our great and glorious Governor and the we are the only important part of the state of New York, It is more important to cater to New York City and fix all their fancy stuff then it would be to fix our roads and bridges. that is why we got 50 million to spread across western New York and NYC get what ever they want like more money for their schools

    • March 7, 2016 at 8:58 am Kathy responds:

      Why is it that people like to talk negatively when they do not know first hand. If Wegmans always hand picked then why haven’t they always been number 1 on the list? Every year employees take the survey(no they are not watched, and actually are not even given the survey by their supervisors, it comes directly from the company who is giving the survey, and it is mailed back from the employees by them selves in a sealed envelope. Results are tabulated, giving Wegmans a benchmark of how their employees feel and what they need to improve on which Wegmans takes very seriously and tries to groom itself to be the best. Every company will have cry babies, who feel they are not getting the glory job. But it is also the personnel responsibility of each individual to crate their own path. Wegmans has lots of opportunity for those who are willing to work for it as in many companies.

  15. March 4, 2016 at 1:47 pm Animule responds:

    Rachel deserves a lot of credit for breaking this story. It sounds like somebody tipped her off about the Wegmans practice of hand picking people to fill out the survey. Two things are even more disturbing about this story. First, a lot of people in town must have known about this. How was this kept quiet for so long? Second, if the Twitter posts on this are believable, there appear to be cases where Wegmans managers actually watched employees fill these out. If that is the case, this is even worse than the practice of hand picking the employees to fill this out.

    When you are one of the largest employers in town and you own the local media, there is a tendency for the press to go easy on you. Rachel should be applauded that she actually set the record straight on this garbage Fortune 100 “best company to work for” nonsense. This makes me wonder what other stories the local press largely takes a pass at if they have the potential to affect our largest employers, like the University of Rochester, for instance.

    • Animule: I believe that the media owns a lot more than you think. Take the political scene, where the media has gone real easy on H. Clinton. The press has not just gone easy on her, she is receiving a pass. She is on her way to Commander in Chief. If Hillary came to a sudden stop while waking down the road, we would witness a chain reaction of media types. Maybe, just maybe, we will witness that when they finally haul her off to jail for her e mail debacle.

      • You’re not only into the weeds here straying F A R off topic, you’ve left the country.

        The media has gone easy on the Clintons? You missed the entire 1990’s the 2008 presidential campaign, and the near-obsession with HillaryBaggage(tm) this year.

        Try and stay with us in the reality-based community.

  16. March 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm Some Guy responds:

    Wegmans has resembled more of a Potemkin village than an actual retail business for some time in my eyes, but they ironically fit in quite well in a region that itself has more of an appearance of an economy than an actual economy.

    The region’s largest private-sector employer is a grocery store. A GROCERY STORE. These are mostly “McJobs” that pay even less than the mostly low-pay service jobs at the region’s second-largest employer, UofR, and neither impart or reward entrepreneurial skills or independent thinking, but mindless obedience*.

    * If anyone doubts this, try and refuse to fall victim to the obscene propaganda during Wegmans’ “Check Out Hunger” or United Way PR shams, and see the dilated pupils of the cashier/drone, incredulous that someone might find a better use of their money than being coerced into “donating” it to people taking hefty six-figure salaries from a supposed non-profit.

    • Only `Some Guy’ would be able to find fault with someone asking people to help the less fortunate.

    • Over the top. Get a life.

    • March 5, 2016 at 10:18 am Some Guy responds:

      Anyone who really believes that the corporatist United Way or Foodlink primarily exist to help the less fortunate must be made aware of the bridge I’ve got for sale down in Brooklyn. Foodlink is there to take soon-to-expire food from Wegmans at maximum tax write-off, and give it to people who may or may not be able to work for it, and are certainly not aided in their effort by high prices and less competition in that space. It takes a whole lot of downward price pressure off the table for an enterprise like Wegmans, and artificially inflates GDP, so government central planners love such practices that provide the ability to paper over the rapidly declining quality of life and concurrent loss of liberties as power and wealth are increasingly concentrated among corporate cronies at the top of the food chain.

      But Foodlink is largely a tax-scam. If it goes to an organization directly paying anyone exorbitant salaries, then it can’t really be charity, can it? Form 990’s exist for a reason, look ’em up. One of the co-CEO’s of Foodlink even appears to have another full-time job. And the other didn’t get her masters from London School of Economics to merely perform “lowly charity work”. These people are cogs in the collectivist machine.

      Dennis hit the nail on the head, many of these people are indeed “rentiers”…where others seek significant funds from the marketplace, Danny, et al, increasingly seek monies from the pockets of taxpayers.

      And to prove Rachel’s point about this being ENTIRELY about PR, take a look at the propaganda passed off as “news” in today’s D&C, which all appears well-timed to coincide with what has become an annual marketing pastime in this one-horse town. The newspaper is giving high praises to the guy for spending a half-billion dollars of other people’s money in a classic form of communist central economic planning – regional “five year plans”. We should be better than this and be able to see through the BS.

      No one denies there’s some great things about Wegmans, but is it necessary to pretend this gigantic marketing putsch (pun intended) designed to divorce people from reality, which can buy all the positive press it wants to locally and silence any critic before they even think of sticking their neck out, through its strategic placement of executives on practically every non-profit board of note? Being a Kodak “company town” turned out very poorly for Rochester in the long run, but as I previous stated, those at least were all solid middle class jobs. These are mostly McJobs, and as a previous commenter noted, McJobs in an increasingly micromanaged environment, a recipe for a very unpleasant work experience.

      If our largest regional employer is a grocery store, it should be no wonder our other main industry is the massively burdensome social services apparatus that has to subsidize the cost of living for those so heavily taxed (big picture: even renters pay property taxes and have the additional tax of never accumulating wealth through property, and those who do “own” property still rent the land from multiple feudal “lords”; school district HQ, town hall, county office building…) on such paltry wages to pay for corporate welfarites like their boss.

      • Some Guy, please hurry down to where Foodlink distributes food and tell everyone getting sustenance for their families how terrible the organization is. Let them know that you can set up a better one.

        You should set up your own organization to replace the ones you see as unfit. With your keen mind and mastery of the dictionary you will solve the problem.

        I’ve noticed in my years on this earth that many of the people who preach about all the unfairness and inequities that are out there seem to stay firmly established on their soapboxes. Many of them do not actually act (join boards; work in soup kitchens; participate in fund raisers; volunteer to work in schools or clinics; etc.) but merely feel that pointing fingers is enough.

        Take your insights and talents and work and create the solution to the problems you see.

        • March 5, 2016 at 11:14 am Some Guy responds:

          Where did I say the goals of the organization are terrible? Calling something a tax scam places blame on two parties: those who wrote the tax code (which usually includes the lobbyists for those who will get outsized benefits from it), and those who seek to abuse the concept of government, which exists to protect the natural rights of people, not distribute favors to favored entities.

          Here’s what I favor, individual choice, not government force, or socialistic coercion. It’s far more efficient to prevent poverty from occurring in the first place than it is to subsidize it. Give a man a fish, he’d fed for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will not only eat for life, but also be able to teach others along the way that would never have received 2nd through n order benefits of that one refusal to take the easy way out.

          Using government to take my neighbor’s fish, or using government to subsidize the transfer of soon-to-rot fish to someone who may or may not be able to fish on their own, is not charity. The root causes of poverty are ignored by a system where the jobs of tens of thousands of people in this region are directly dependent on an increasing share of impoverished people.

          And since lack of money is the SYMPTOM of poverty and not its ROOT CAUSE, how will only addressing the symptoms ever cure it? The percentage of the working age population not on unemployment and not in the workforce is higher than it has ever been and is only going to get worse until those root causes are addressed. Don’t be surprised when sloth and indolence and encouraged through the tax code or by tax-exempt organizations (again, there’s that tax code popping up as incentivizing something that could not occur otherwise), the result will be even more sloth and ignorance. There’s nothing loving about systematically encouraging people to live as modern-day slaves knowing full well that cycle will be on repeat until the charlatans and poverty pimps are “thrown out of the temple”.

      • I think you need to take an accounting class. Wegmans gets to take a tax deduction for the cost of their food regardless of whether they sell it, donate it, or throw it away. Nice try, idiot.

  17. To prove Rachel’s point, how about pointing out places in Rochester that are better places to work than Wegmans. Be very specific in stating why the place is better. First hand knowledge only from yourself or family member – don’t use hearsay data.

    • Theres too many to list. I made more money and was treated better at a burger joint than at Wegman’s.

    • March 5, 2016 at 11:22 am Some Guy responds:

      I’ll admit it up front, this is hearsay data, Tom. 😉

      Google the following term, and go to the link from CATO:


      We pay people to either not work, or pay them to perform non-value added jobs, with money stolen from taxpayers at gunpoint by government, or printed out of thin air by a private banking cartel that has an explicit government-enforced monopoly on counterfeiting. If you print currency from thin air and administer the funds as you see fit, you get a visit from armed goons. But it’s not a crime when Janey Yellen does it. And that’s what is at the root cause of so much of the economic misery, central economic planning aided by fiat currency. Take that away, and most people are paid less, but they’re paid with honest money backed by something, and that honest money actually buys more than the dishonest money that has a monopoly imposed by violence or the threat of violence.

  18. If this was Time Warner Cable and not Wegmans, would people be so defensive? It’s a grocery chain, not a church. The ego-stroking faux review and ratings like this are astroturfing for PR. Wegmans pays for a ranking it knows won’t disappoint and then trots out press releases the media usually covers without the disclosure Rachel provides. Hopefully exposing this will encourage Wegmans to stop giving Fortune money for BS awards.

    As readers already recognize, Wegmans doesn’t need astroturf to demonstrate excellence. North Korean-style observations of employers doing the survey only further taints their reputation. No doubt someone in the PR department has a fat budget to throw away. Give away pens and calendars instead and end the corporate hackery.

  19. March 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm Bret D responds:

    Wow, someone in this area spoke out and said something that wasn’t positive about Wegmans. We don’t agree on many things, but I commend you for not being a sheep, having blind admiration for Wegmans like SO MANY folks do. ((Now prepare for the onslaught of hate coming your way))

    • March 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I still love Wegmans, though…

    • I agree. Wegmans is hugely overrated. Its a store. People treat it like a religion. Once you get out of Rochester you realize its really just a store and nothing more. And their prices are actually quite high compared to other places.

  20. March 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm Dean Sparks responds:

    Go Hart’s!

  21. March 4, 2016 at 6:36 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    I would rather work for Wegman’s than my current employer Walmart, but it is just so hard to get hired at Wegman’s.

  22. March 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm Bill Miller responds:

    Thank you Rachel for pointing this out. I have heard from people that work there that they pad the survey by only offering it to those who retain full time positions. Obviously since full time employees get the better benefits they would not bite the hand that feeds them. Having a less than stellar experience working under a Wegmans affiliate, it always astounded me that they rate so highly on this survey.

  23. March 4, 2016 at 7:52 pm Teresa responds:

    As an ex part time employee of 22 yrs…can honestly say it use to be a great company til.they brought in bad management..the ones who deserve n work hard that should move up..get thrown aside…it’s all bout favortism there..bad choice..lose good employees..the pay really sucks…left after 22 yrs 12.80 hr…as for surveys I do remember taking some…so obviously it’s not just fulltimers…it use to be a top company …but def.went downhill

  24. I worked at Wegman’s for years… i could never figure out why so many people sing Wegman’s praises. Its just a grocery store. Its a good job for a kid in highschool. Thats about it. To claim its anything more than that or anything different than HEB or Publix is silly. People who were born and raised in Rochester will sing its praise and move South only to complain about having no Wegmans. Meanwhile Everyone else in the country lives just fine without it. Ive come and gone and cant say i ever missed Wegmans.

    Everyone whose worked for Wegmans knows how the survey rankings were so high… they hand picked who filled them out… The whole process was completely micromanaged from the top (just like everything else the company does). most the surveyed are full time corporate or salaried management employees, or Union shop workers. The vast majority of the line employees who are part time and working for just over minimum wage aren’t surveyed as their opinions on the company aren’t what the company wants Fortune to see. The (very) few part timers that are surveyed were usually those who were related to corporate folks (nepotism runs stronger in Wegmans than anywhere else ive worked), or those who were part of the scholarship program (which in and of itself is a sham) who had pressure or an incentive to give a positive survey.

    I spent 7 years working at wegmans in various roles… Through highschool and part of the way through college. they hire so many people in each area that the average part time employee gets like 12 hours a week. Thats fine for a 15 year old. But for a 22 year old trying to pay their way through college, $40 a week doesnt go very far. I ended up leaving wegmans to flip burgers for the last 3 years of college because it PAID MORE and i was getting 30 hours a week every week.

    The other thing that sucked about working there was dealing with the juvenile delinquents that worked there. Wegmans (at least used not sure if they still do) would hire “troubled” teens from hillside to “give them a chance”. Most of them had a crummy attitude, didn’t want to work, and ended up stealing from or ripping of the company in one fashion or another in their first few weeks.

  25. March 4, 2016 at 11:59 pm Jerry C. responds:

    Thank you Ms. Barnhart for your work here. So glad to see this exposed, even though I knew it was totally skewed all along, as my father put in 40 years in at Wegmans. Every year when the “results” came back with Wegmans on top, we’d laugh at the dinner table and he’d share stories of how it was actually one of the worst places to work for. The employees not only are hand picked for this survey, they are mostly white collar employees who are asked to fill it out. The employees in the warehouse and bakery (who comprise the majority of the blue collar workforce and actually make and move the products) are NOT given this survey.

    Last year, my father wrote in to the D&C, asking them if they were interested in a legitimate story about Wegmans, and how they “negotiated” a deal (swindled bakery employees) some 20 years ago. They pushed a deal that gave bakery employees several hundred dollars up front, along with some chump change in the form of profit sharing, all while drastically cutting their pensions. This deal was not proposed to any other employees besides bakery workers. Employees in the warehouse and offices, regardless of pay, are still not only given substantial pensions, but also buyouts towards their later years. Anyhow, the D&C wanted no part of publicizing this story. My father would often meet with and ask upper management why this deal was only pushed on bakery employees and why bakery employees aren’t eligible for buyouts. The answers he’d get were laughable and the gist of it was “that’s just how it is”.

    Wegmans is NOT what you think it is people, sure the stores are very well run and employees you encounter are helpful, polite and respectful, and the service at Wegmans (in the stores) is outstanding. Their products are high quality also. But the whole idea of being on the “best places to work” is even more of a joke than is revealed in this piece.

    I wonder Rachel, if you’d be interested in this story about Wegmans’ bakery employees and the financial perks stripped from them, despite the fact that all other departments receive them. I could provide you more specifics if you wish. All of it is 100% true (and can be fact checked) but of course Wegmans would not want the public knowing this.

    • March 5, 2016 at 8:54 am Thomas responds:

      I used to work in the deli/prep foods and oh the horror stories I could share about the “fresh” pre packed meals that came frozen from who knows where…and oh yeah fudging the use by date was a thing just sayin.

      • March 6, 2016 at 9:33 pm Nonny responds:

        That bakery part is not true, and anyone actually reading the labels or looking at the products would know that. Nearly every product in the in store bakery has been replaced over the past year or two, and have no trans fats or artificial coloring. A lot of customers aren’t thrilled with the prices as a result or the duller colors in frostings but at least look at the labels.

        Part time employees have known for years the survey responders were hand picked and yes the company has changed a lot since Mr. Wegman died. I think the real story that Fortune misses is how many of the employees are also reliant on food stamps etc. It’s not much different than Wal-mart.

        • March 9, 2016 at 8:54 am Kathy responds:

          You need to do more homework this is totally opposite of what Wegmans Branded products are- shame on you!

    • March 5, 2016 at 10:32 am Some Guy responds:

      We don’t buy anything without reading the ingredients, and sadly, there is nothing worth buying in the bakery (and most aisles in the middle of the store) there these days. It’s nothing but hydrogenated oils, soy-infused garbage fillers, artificial flavors and colors, no doubt laced with GMOs and dairy cows fed a steady diet of more GMO garbage and recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. I’m certainly not going to blame Danny Wegman for the epidemic of obesity and cancer in this country, but neither would I credit him for leading by example to stop it either, given the influence he could have.

  26. March 5, 2016 at 9:40 am Jim Webster responds:

    Who cares? Wegmans is still a great place to work. No one needs your negativity. I suggest you pay attention to things that really matter, like the ridiculous call to remove a historically significant panel from public view.

    • Right on Jim, Right on.

      Those parking lots are full and none one is forced to shop at Wegmans. Shop where you like, which is the beauty of living in these United States. You can also work where you like, so don’t whine about having to put in 40 years, that was your choice as well. But not to worry, media types are working very hard on changing this. If they had their way we would have State Stores. You know where you all get the same cheese, bread, milk, etc. and of course to be absolutely fair, ration the food. So much per person and you can pick it up at your assigned time.

      Of course that will be for the general population. And,…someone has to manage that,…say a Hilary Clinton or if you really want to make sure, her competitor. Do you think that she/he would shop at that State Store or host State Dinners.

      People that constantly whine, bitch, moan and groan drive me nuts. Do something about it, if not for your community, yourself.

      • March 5, 2016 at 11:36 am Some Guy responds:

        Was it my choice to subsidize Wegmans’ $10M government-funded cheese operation? Or the subsidized wine and culinary center? Or what about the zero-interest rate policy of the central bank that enabled growth for the locally-based wine and spirits company whose CEO just happened to be on the regional advisory board of said central bank? Or the nearly half-billion in unnecessary spending by the county that was conjured up so it could be funneled through opaque entities run for the benefit of a small group of insiders, literally wed to the county executive who parroted the “need”?

        True capitalism means that one must actually risk their own capital in order to earn the just rewards. So much of the “risk” is dumped on the taxpayers (socialized), while the rewards are all private. I don’t favor socialism one bit, and that’s really what crony capitalism save for the people not even getting a benefit commensurate with the risk dumped on their back. And with ZIRP, that “risk” is borne in an ever-decreasing share of national wealth, and an ever-increasing burden of welfare costs when the Wal-Marts and Wegmans of the world cut their workers hours and dump them into heavily-subsidized state-run “insurance” exchanges that aren’t insurance at all, just a thinly-veiled version of Medicaid.

        I totally agree with the crux of what you’re trying to say, Josh, I’m just saying this isn’t exactly the free nation that it used to be, and in order for that problem to be righted, it has to be recognized first.

        • It was not your choice to subsidize those. Since no decision is ever unanimous someone will always say it wasn’t their choice. No one can have everything go their way. That’s called reality.

          • It’s nice to start a Monday with a laugh. You really need a job writing bodice rippers with your over the top style. Harlequin needs you.

            “…you inherently understand that you have absolutely no alternative that doesn’t cost you even more money, freedom, or even your life?”

            I currently know of no one who is chained to a pipe in the basement. Actually, while you stress no alternative exists, I have the choice to move if I want. Most other states won’t match NY’s welfare programs but that doesn’t affect me.

            And do you really think Hamilton took into account Tony the Enforcer when he set up our banking system?

  27. March 5, 2016 at 10:38 am orielly responds:

    Think the “poll” paid for by the Rochester Community Foundation that found all the racial disparities in this area, is all factual?…Do you really think Rochester is the fifth poorest area – via those living below the poverty line (what ever that is) in the country?
    Ask / pay an accountant or polling company to prove something and guess what, they’ll be able to prove what you “thought” or wanted to believe is in fact the case……..amazing! Then you can employ your Sol Alinsky tactics to foster your agenda via public meetings where you and like minded community organizers can seek attention, gain public visibility and build upon the myth you created, to then create public sector (taxpayer funded) and non profit jobs for those who you lead on your agenda path. Those minions then will promote you and your agenda for the long term. And it gives lots of reporters work as well. No Wegmans isn’t the only local organization that pays to create a self serving myth….it’s just when a business does this, with their own money, to create a good story it’s wrong and “News”. When a non profit does it using donations to promote itself and it’s leader, via the myth it’s seen as doing something good for the community.

    • March 5, 2016 at 11:40 am Some Guy responds:

      Yup. Pharmaceuticals figured out the same with the “independent labs” they use to find 20 healthy adults by which to rubber-stamp the safety and efficacy of a complicated chemical compound extrapolated to 7 billion people.

      Excellent tie-in with Alinsky, astroturfing is astroturfing, whether Lenhard does it, or the D&C does it timed in with the Wegmans PR department.

  28. March 5, 2016 at 1:34 pm Alexei Tetenov responds:

    I’m a fan of PriceRite. I don’t know much about the ethics of their operation but their prices are about half of Wegmans on most of their generic/store brand products. They don’t have the breadth nor depth of products but I’m really happy for the prices. This has saved me and my family quite a bit dough in the last 2 years since I have become aware of PriceRite.

    • ….and that my friend is called choice. The freedom of choice. That doesn’t exist world wide nor does the selection of products we are fortunate enough to have access too. (bitch all you want but we are blessed)

      Anyone know how we got to 20,000,000,000,000.00 in debt during the reign of Obama? (I believe one person interviewed as to why vote for Obama? she said, I want some of that “Obama” money! She got it.) How much of that 20T was Wegmans cheese? LOL. Don’t point your finger to Wegmans as the “evil doer” on this, point your finger straight to this current administration. And with a little “luck” four more years of giving,…. and taking from those that produce. And we should be worried about a 10M cheese deal? We aint seen nothing yet.

      While that cheese deal is miniscule in the overall picture of this administration, you are correct that capitalism should be just that, capitalism. You make a go of it without subsidy. Unfortunately when the politician makes it available, who is going to say, no thanks. That would be a double whammy for the politician and sheer misery in the future for those refusing.

  29. March 8, 2016 at 5:16 pm David responds:

    I was in management for many years. Prior to handing out the surveys for top 100 managers were asked who they could count on for a positive survey in their departments. Once the employee(s) were identified managers were given the surveys to hand out to their employees. Representatives from Human Resources would spend time with the managers with HARD suggestions on how to coach the employee(s) to insure a positive survey. Managers were FORCED to walk a fine line.
    As for Wegmans United Way contributions. Employees are FORCED to donate. And if they don’t look out. It is an ugly time of year.

  30. Good job Rachel. I’m sick of the constant Wegman’s worship. They’ve done some good, but they aren’t this immaculate company everyone makes them out to be. They’ve abandoned the city when it comes to stores and back office activities and they are skirting state liquor laws. Wegmans is working to kill “Main st” just like Wal-Mart does.

    Sure did get everyone going when you attacked the sacred cow. People are so brainwashed.

  31. March 9, 2016 at 9:00 am Kathy responds:

    Rochester is fortunate to have this company headquartered here. Like all companies, there are those who would love to pick the scab of a pimple and make it all about an ugly face, when in fact the history speaks volumes for Wegmans. After four years of a college education, my professional trained and educated job could not pay as much as Wegmans would pay.

  32. The Wegmans poll is not valid and I appreciate that Rachel pointed that out. The poverty poll that she also features is equally invalid and I explained why in the comments section following that.
    I do wish that reporters would provide the same scrutiny for positions or people that they support.

  33. I also used to work at Wegmans and I never took any survey for this type of rating. It was surprising to me that it costs almost a grand just to be considered. There most be a ton of companies who would be considered the “best” to work for who have instead allocated that money and time towards something to improve conditions for employees/customers rather than some ranking list of questionable value. I ended up leaving Wegmans (my first “real” job) probably about 4 months after I started because of a problem I had where my manager told me to go to HR and HR told me to go to my manager. The cycle of shifting responsibility continued for a couple weeks before I just quit. Personally, I didn’t have a good experience there but I did love my on-campus jobs at Nazareth College.

  34. Really and at Nazareth college did they not teach you to not throw stones?

  35. March 19, 2016 at 10:37 am PM_Head responds:

    Rachel of course USED to be the chief Monrovian (people who hate where they live, and everyone in it) until Channel 10 management got the message.

    Investigative reporting per Berkeley Breen is hardly anything to laud. But Rachel is still sinking towards the bottom. Real people want a booster not an anchor. But … not Monrovians. They want misery, and more of it.

    I think she should change the title of this blog to match the audience.

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