Trader Joe’s – Geoffrey Owens Demonstrates the Value of Work

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Trader Joe’s – Geoffrey Owens Demonstrates the Value of Work

Samara Ayoob-Ahamd, AVT Editor-in-Chief

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In this generation, it seems people are judged and criticized on what job or career they go into rather than the value of their own work.

Millennials are not known for being the hardest workers at most companies, and often with co-workers of the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations. Though 41% of millennials expect to be in their current job for two years or less,  stable work is important to them (78% of Millennials prefer a stable job- according to a recent Deloitte poll. This is why a recent online-job shaming incident drew the attention of our staff.

Geoffrey Owens, a previous star on the Cosby Show, was recently shamed online for his new job outside of show business.

Recently, Owens was spotted working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s in Clifton, New Jersey. The woman who recognized him snapped his picture and posted it online.

The picture of the actor at his new work quickly spread across social media where people, including Fox News, began job-shaming that former actor on his apparent ‘downgraded’ gig.

“Wow… you ended up as a cashier,” said Karma Lawrence, the woman behind the camera.

Fox news shamed Owens, implying in their article the embarrassment of a former actor now ‘bagging groceries’.

The job shaming did not last long and people online, including several actors and other celebrities, jumped to Owens defense. Most called out the haters and praised Owens for his work ethic and questioning why he was being judged.

Stars like Terry Crews and Patricia Heaton even took the opportunity to share their own experiences of working other jobs outside show business in order to sustain a living.

Owens was asked to appear on Good Morning America where he was interviewed by Robyn Roberts, and he used the opportunity to give people a lesson.

Wearing his alum Yale hat and his Trader Joe’s name tag, he told Roberts that he knew this would pass quickly, but he also thought there was something that could be learned from this.

“I’m hoping that what doesn’t pass is this rethinking about what it means to work…the honor of the working person and the dignity of work… and the re-evaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others because that’s actually not true. There’s no job that’s better than another…every job is worthwhile and valuable,” Owens said in his interview.

We asked several students around Amador what they thought about what happened to Owens.

“I would work at a grocery store any day. If you had to make ends meet, I mean, why not? I don’t see any reason as to why it would be wrong for anyone like an actor, doctor, politician, etc. to work at one. If you’re just trying to get by and you’re hardworking, a grocery store isn’t a terrible place to work,” said Kate Inman (‘19).

“There is nothing wrong with [Owens] working at Trader Joe’s. I, as well,  would work anywhere to sustain a living and provide for family,” said Conner Copenhagen (‘20).

We also asked students if there were jobs they thought were beneath them.

“If i had to make a living, I would basically work anywhere, I mean if you don’t have steady income and the only way for you to get it was at a grocery store or at a fast food restaurant you’re still bringing in cash. The job doesnt matter and there shouldn’t be any that are considered an unsuitable place to work,” said Grace McNeil (‘22).

“I don’t think there are any jobs that are beneath you. In life, you need to make money, something that in our society is essential to a stable living. Yes, I may prefer a job with better income, but a job is a job,” said Pranav Datta (‘20).

Out of the ten students we talked to, all felt the same on the issue. It doesn’t matter where a person works. Money is money and there is value to work in any field.


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