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Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Zingerman's to hire 300 seasonal workers for mail order operations

By Lizzy Alfs

Zingerman’s plans to hire about 300 temporary workers this holiday season to help fulfill the company’s mail orders.

The Ann Arbor-based gourmet food company will also hire seasonal employees for its baking operation in the coming weeks, according to an MLive report.


Zingerman's plans on hiring 300 extra employees to work on mail order operations during the holiday season.

File photo

Pat McGraw of Zingerman’s human resources department said the hiring demand this year is typical of most holiday seasons, because the company does a “huge amount of volume” during the holidays.

But the number of seasonal hires is up from 2009, when Zingerman's hired about 200 people.

McGraw said the seasonal employees, who will work from November until the end of December, will be packing boxes for mail orders or answering mail-order phone calls. They will make about $9 an hour.

“We are starting to hire now and we will do some training for the employees,” she said. “But the biggest amount of work happens for a week or two before Thanksgiving to the end of December.”

McGraw said some of the employees may be asked to stay on as occasional help for other busy times of the year.

People can apply for the positions at

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Darryl Groce

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

The shifts are 10 hours long and the pay is only 8.25 per hour. The part about $9 per hour is misleading

Mr. Burns

Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Just to follow up on my earlier post about making $8.50 at Zingerman's mail order in 2001 - I was a phone sales rep. not a warehouse employee. I have to add that I cannot believe that they have still not properly heated that warehouse since I worked there! OMG! I read somewhere (maybe here) that last year Mail Orders sales were like in the Millions...and they still can't heat the place! It was awful, had to wear your log underwear and coats. Lots of people got sick. And it is very true that Zingerman's shys away from hiring mature adults. They want people that are in awe of their "coolness" and that are in desperate need of acceptance at a job, which is what Atticus is referring to in his post above about dreadlocks, etc. I found that many of the supervisors were over emotional and unprofessional. They quickly shun or fire people that start to question some of the crappy working conditions. No one wants to believe it because Z spends tons of money are marketing their image (see all the "free" newsletters, flyers and printed bags you get with EVERY deli order!!). Sure they give a lot away, do good charity work, but they should start with paying all their employees better and then work on the rest of the needy in the community. The rich stay rich even at Zingerman's.


Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

I am an ex- Zingerman's mail order employee. Some of these comments are so ridiculous! "but a short period of employment is better than no employment." Ahhhh...NO! Not if they treat you badly which they did continously to myself and other employees. They make you take an agility test after making you sit for hours waiting for an interview. They favor younger employees and males. Sure they made a free meal but this warehouse is BONE Chilling cold! No heaters folks! This dinner is on the other side of the building near the breakroom and I was LATE BY 2 MINS and they wrote me up! They were rude to me about this as well. They process their mail orders by an assembly line and if you don't get it right and DO IT FAST, they dock you again. I was ill with broncial flu (really I was) and they fired me. I had called in 2 days ahead and still they fired me. The woman I spoke to called me a liar and that I was not sick. By the way, I do not have piercings, tattoos and i am over 30. So much for that stupid generalization. Even if I am "unskilled labor" or a "grunt worker" does not mean they can treat people so badly. Many people who did not have rides WALKED HOME or waited for the earliest bus which was about 8 am. IN THE COLD!! Mr Burns and Nvragain are the only commenters that have it right. I have never eaten at Zingerman's deli, restaurant and I NEVER NEVER WILL!

Marie Willnow

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

I worked for 2 holiday seasons at Zingerman's Mail Order and they treated me and the other seasonal employees very well. I couldn't go into work one day because my car wouldn't start and they had someone come and pick me up. On top of that I got at least one free meal a day which helped because I was unemployed at the time and there were times I wondered where my next meal was coming from. Zingerman's cares about it's employees, either seasonal or permanent, They offer plenty of advancement opportunities so if you want to make more than $9 an hour you can. Plus, don't forget the charitable things that they do for the Ann Arbor community as well.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

$9 is the wage for those working customer service positions. The warehouse gig pays $8.25. Interesting because a previous poster said he made $8.50 at the warehouse in 2001. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

(Edit: Guess I'm not certain if the previous reference to 8.50 was warehouse or customer service. Not that it changes much.)


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

I need a part-time job but $9 per hour won't even cover daycare. I make more money on unemployment. Ridiculous.

Blanch DuBois

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Well then is unemployment hiring?

Kara H

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

Michigan's unemployment payments max out at about the equivalent of $9/hr ($360/week)--if you qualify for the max. Now that it's capped at 20 weeks, maybe the temp job at Zingerman's won't look so bad on week 19.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

I worked two holiday seasons at Zingerman's mail order. It was a positive experience. Good people to work for and the pay helped pay some bills.

Kara H

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

I'm kind of amazed by the responses here. People are correct that $9/hour isn't a good income, but it is a pretty representative starting wage for unskilled warehouse work. These kinds of jobs are at best sources of supplemental income or something families have to string several of together to make it. If anything it's perhaps a problem with our economy, not with Zingerman's wage structure. Over 38% of wage earners in the US make less than $20,000/year (1 $10/hr job); about 43% of US households make less than $40,000/year (2 $10/hr jobs—his and hers maybe). Living wage or not folks, this is what lots of Americans live on. Anyone who's feeling offended by the rate, remember it when you berate or stiff the wait staff at a restaurant, or the customer service person dealing with your snafu, or nearly any other service person you deal with who's probably making this or less. They really don't get paid enough to put up with your crap.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

I think it's awesome that there are so many comments from folks who have reviewed Zingerman's P&amp;L and Balance Sheet. Clearly, they know all of Zingerman's expenses, sales and profits as well as what Zingerman's should pay its temporary, hourly help. By all means, a person working a temporary night shift job for a six week period deserves to make at least $40 to $50k a year, right? Get real people! I swear that some people posting here seem like characters straight out of Atlas Shrugged.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

nvr again - My guess (and it is only a guess) is that Zingerman's was either more efficient than they expected to be, or more likely, didn't have as much sales as they forecast. Forecasting sales is very difficult and the hiring process has to start in advance of when people are actually working the shifts to meet seasonal needs. I can understand why that had to adjust their labor force. If they didn't explain that situation to you in advance, then I can understand your frustration with the hours not being what was promised. They should have had that conversation with everyone during the hiring process; hopefully, they've learned from that experience if they didn't previously do so. It would have been better, IMO, if they had you work every other day and work a full eight at that point. Less gas / travel, etc. versus the hours worked. I understand, however, that what I suggested can be easier said than done when you're running a fulfillment entity.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

my complaint was they hired people for a midnight shift with the promise of working full time, and their promise was not fulfilled.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Wow, I can't believe all the comments about Zingermans and &quot;living wages.&quot; Everyone knows that you can't expect to make a living wage doing unskilled labor at a deli. This is not a mystery. If you want to make a living wage, you need real skills that can only be obtained through a trade or through an education. Or you can desperately try to work in a brutal factory and worry about getting laid off every day. To criticize Zingerman's for paying a FAIR wage for the work involved is really unfair and unrealistic.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

You can just stop commenting about how an education gets you a real wage. Tell that to all the graduates that are living at home with mom and dad, or in my case, looking for a full time job that pays enough to pay my rent for the last two years. Do you have one I can have?

Robert D. Mosley

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

I too must applaud the writer for being so honest about the paltry wages and I thank the comments for laying out how Zingerman's treats their people &quot;behind closed doors.&quot; I never would have thought such conditions existed behind the the happy facade when I drive into Ann Arbor from out of town on business.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Reality check: if Delis paid living wages, what would be the point of busting your butt for years to get an education??

Ron Granger

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

People complaining about this wage being non-living, blah, blah...... It's unskilled labor. You're stuffing junk in a box Or reading a script on the phone Or taking orders over the phone You are not an electrician, programmer, developer, project manager, carpenter, etc. You're not even flipping burgers. I call this grunt labor. It is what it is. Be glad you have a chance to stuff junk in a box for $9/hour at a company that doesn't care about your oh so cool piercings and tattoos.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

We got so used to high pay-low skill jobs as the backbone of the Michigan economy, that facing the reality of a low skill job also being a low paying job is jarring for some. Welcome to the real world.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Exactly. If they don't like it, skill up and/or get an education. Living wages are given to those who work hard and have accomplished something. It doesn't come free.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

As a former employee of Zingerman's Mail Order, which I worked one holiday season to supplement my income, I was totally shocked at how the employees at this company were treated. I worked the midnight shift, 12-8, as a &quot;Coach&quot;, which is merely code for person in charge of making sure the trouble they hire stay in line, and never once had a complete shift in which I worked a full 8 hours. I had a car, but the masses of people they are hiring do not. So where am I going with this? Well if you have to start work at 12am, and you dont have a car(not to mention if you do gas was $4/gal) you have to rely on some other form of transportation, a freind, family member, cab, or bus, Not to mention it is winter and that transportation must be reliable so that you are not late and miss the huge $1 bonus they give you if you are always there on time!! So you get to work for your midnight shift, 2 hours in they give the employees a free meal, free! What kind souls those people at Zingermans have? Well now that I drove 20 minutes in snow, rain, or maybe ice, and my stomach is full of slop, what better to do than send you home at 3 or 4 am because they had no more work to be done. So now you have 50 or so poeple, many of whom have no cars, trying to fiure out how to get home at 4am. Hire 300, tell them they will be full time, tell the community you are a great employer for hiring 300 workers, fed them and make yourself feel good and fuzzy. I will be toatlly honest, I had a choice to work there, no one forced me. $9*4hr=36 prior to taxes. Try living off those wages. How crummy do you feel watching people ship candy bars worth more than they make in an hour, sour cream coffee cakes that cost more than they make an entire shift.

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

jrigglem Get over it. I busted my hump delivering pizzas for two years after graduating from college before I had even a semi-&quot;real job&quot;.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Way to go Davidian, Insult several people in one comment. I am another college educated individual. I actually am working at mail order this season because I didn't get a single job offer from the other 13 interviews I went on. Why? Because someone else had more experience, that's why. If you have a job you would like to give me I would be more than happy to take it. A seasonal job at 9 bucks an hour isn't even close to paying off my student loans, I'm barely going to make rent.

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Here we go with education = entitlement. A degree doesn't guarantee an individual a job! An education creates additional opportunities, that's it.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

Where did I write I am uneducated? I said I was supplementing my income. And fyi, millions of kids are graduating from colleges (we could actually call them diploma factories) and are not getting jobs. I am actually sitting at my desk at this very moment typing a response to your outstanding comment, thinking wow, this guy is a real winner.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

I had a similar experience. I went to college and got a degree. No longer have experieces like this.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

Just curious, where will all those people park? Will they rely on non-driving employees?


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

Actually they won't. In years past they had but Borders isn't allowing the mail order to use their lot this year.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

They will park at Borger's headquarters which is nearby. Mail order is not downtown.

wolfman jack

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Start a business, pay your own employees as you will. It's work. The choice is to do it at offered rates or not. If not, feel free to start your own firm and go into competition. Produce better, and take their market share. It can happen but that opportunity is disguised as hard work. Just like every other opportunity.

Atticus F.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Also, one of the reasons Zingermans has a good reputation, is based on the false rumor that they pay a living wage... They certainly have the right to pay what ever wage they want... But please don't expect a 'pat on the back' from the citizens of A2 for masquerading as a socially concious company.

Atticus F.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

That's like saying that a mom and pop grocery store can compete with a Wal Mart next door, with just a little &quot;hard work&quot;.

Mr. Burns

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Just another example of the top 1% taking more profits into their pockets instead of putting it in their employees. I worked for Zingerman's mail order as holiday help in 2001...I made $8.50 per hour. I imagine their prices have increased more then their salaries in those ten years!

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

Their employment information online for the job says $8.25 per hour.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

Wages have been stagnant in virtually every sector for 30 years, while the costs of commodities has risen. I don't think the evil Zionists at Zingermans are holding down the workers man.

Atticus F.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

This is the first article that I've seen that has been honest and forthcoming about the un-livible wage that zingermans pays. There has been a myth going around in A2 for years that Zingermans pays a livible wage...When in actuality, they hire people with dreadlocks, nose rings and tattoos, pay them a slave wage, and act like they are doing a great service to the community. It's win win...Zingermans gets cheap labor and a good reputation, and the people with dreadlocks/nose rings get a sense of acceptance in the job market that they wouldn't get from other employers. For the record, I'm totally accepting of people with dreadlocks, body piercings, and tattoos, and think they should be accepted for who they are, and given the same job opportunities as anyone else.

Atticus F.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

davidian, I don't know if other deli's pay a living wage, but I know Zingermans does not. My main gripe is that there is a huge misperception among Ann Arborites that Zigermans does pay a good wage, when in fact they do not.

Buster W.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

I've never heard of this myth. Has anyone else? Maybe you assume they pay a livable wage because of their exhorbitant menu prices???


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Does any Deli pay their employees a living wage? These are interim employment opportunities. People haven't made living wages in this sector in decades.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Getting paid in coffee cakes would be a raise compared to $9/hr. I'm hungry now.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

Wonder if I can get paid in sour cream coffee cakes?

Smart Logic

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

At Zingerman's prices, you'd quadruple your effective income eating their food in lieu of accepting $9/hr of pay.

The Picker

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

I applaud Zings for going into the employment mode, but this is not a &quot;living wage&quot; especially for such a mega corporation as Zingerman's has become.

The Picker

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:38 p.m.

And a loaf of bread use to cost a dollar too!

Chrissy Yates

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

I worked at Macy's in Briarwood one Holiday and got paid $7.50. Oh and my hours were cut constantly because they &quot;overhired.&quot; Compared to that, Zingerman's is paying well.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

I hope some of the homeless apply. I'm tired of being asked for money this is their chance to be productive.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

That homeless shelter you folks paid for in tax money has showers and does give clean clothes to those who need them. They also offer then interview skills. Then they kick them out for the day.

Atticus F.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Most of them don't have the interview skills, decent clothes, or even a place to take a shower. Do you honestly think they could pass a quasi-corporate Zingermans style interview? Zingermans would laugh in your face if they thought you expected them to hire a homeless person of the street.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:36 a.m.

Good going Zingermans. It may be for only a short period, but a short period of employment is better than no employment. And, $9/hr. is better than no/hr. Surely hopes this might help out some of our folks in need.