In Which I Profess My Love for Trader Joe

Today, TODAY, Trader Joe's opened up in my town.  Do you even know how exciting this is?  So exciting.  Do you know that any time we travel to an area with a Trader Joe's we plan our stay so as to make a Trader Joe's run possible?  We've filled our van with our favorites and traveled hundreds of miles with it like drug dealers smuggling contraband over state lines.  Do you know we've even had people from Trader Joe's laden lands fill their suitcases with our favorites to bring to us when they visit?  We're that pathetic devoted.

(I'm not done yet.)  Do you even know that I got a private tour of the place yesterday before the grand opening???  Not even joking.  Apparently this blog thing is my ticket to great and fancy things after all.

This is why you want to be friends with me.

In honor of and in gratitude for this dream coming true I am dedicating this post to my deep abiding love for this most awesome of stores.

Why I profess my love for Trader Joe's:

Their products rock.  
Almost all the products they carry are their own (though they do carry other brands for some things) and they have pledged that their products contain no synthetic dyes (yay!), no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, no MSG, no added trans fats, and get this, NO genetically modified ingredients.  That is amazing.  Their dairy products are antibiotic and hormone free.  They are constantly bringing in new and fun products.  They're not perfect by any means if you're picturing health food store type of thing but they take mainstream food and make it a bit better.  In case you were dying to know, our personal favorite staples are the peanut butter, the tortillas, the party size meatballs, their fluoride free toothpaste, and their great selection of vitamins.  But ohmygoodness you should see their frozen food aisle.  Oh, and fair trade coffee at prices I've never seen anywhere else.

They make me feel fancy.  
Every single time I shop there I suddenly am quite sure that I will be entertaining dozens of people at my home and hosting cocktail parties and fancy soirees for weeks on end.  Their food, especially their frozen convenience foods, are like something you see served either at a black tie wedding reception or at a hippie potluck dinner.  Either way it's fun.  I pretend that I'm one of those people that just loves to eat seaweed and kale chips and why of course I should buy that hunk of gruyere for the make believe luncheon I am not going to host.  I don't care that I will probably end up eating it by myself in my pajamas in front of an episode of Downton Abbey. For right then, I feel fancy. 

Their staff is incredibly friendly.  
Seriously, the people at every store I've been to seem to be so happy and it makes you want to shop there more.  I know they have pretty sweet benefits and the company is intentional about making it a good place to work and that's a good thing.

It's small.
I'm sure some of my friends who have heard me gush about Trader Joe's over the years will go there and be very much underwhelmed.  But here's the thing: I get overwhelmed in large stores quickly.  I hate shopping so much.  My purgatory in order to be most effective will take place in a mall.  While Wegman's has tons of great stuff, there is no such thing as running in and out of Wegman's.  It's like a warehouse with the industrial ceilings and the echoing of the carts and the noise.  I feel my chest tightening just thinking about it.  I love that Trader Joe's doesn't have aisles and aisles of choices.  It's small and yet it still has almost everything I need.  I am mucho excited for the ability to do most of my grocery shopping in one small place.  I'm sure I'll still have to do an Aldi's run once in a while and yes, likely some Wegman's runs too, but I'm hopeful that the Trader will be getting most of my business from now on.  

They have fair prices.
Because the product line is their own, they are priced pretty much equivalent and sometimes even cheaper than normal grocery stores!  And this stuff is often organic or at the very least, less processed.  They don't do sales or coupons and this actually keeps all their prices lower because they don't spend any money on advertising.  They let the products speak for themselves and they keep their base prices lower.  Which makes a grocery tightwad who also likes to feed her family as naturally as possible extremely happy.

They're just fun.
Their stores have a nautical theme.  The employees wear Hawaiian shirts and every store has a hidden stuffed animal mascot.  Children are encouraged to find his hiding spot that day and in return they get a treat at the checkout.  They have children size shopping carts available so that kids can help.  Their product labels are often silly and their seasonal "Fearless Flyer" is lighthearted and playful.  And SAMPLES.  They always have delicious samples. 

Two Buck Chuck.
This is actually quite hard for me to write.  Two Buck Chuck is the nickname for the Charles Shaw wine selection carried by most of the stores.  It's a pretty darn good wine that costs $2.99 a bottle.  Most of their stores carry that as well as a great selection of very reasonably priced wines.  But not here.  Because the nanny state of New York has decided that grocery stores are not permitted to sell wine or liquor because...  The liquor store lobby?  Seriously?  Why would there be a not ridiculous reason?  It's New York.
At least we still have the beer.

Go on over to Jen's for less fanaticism and more 7 Quick Takes...


  1. Ok, you've totally sold me on Trader Joe's! There's actually one right around the corner from where I work and I'm embarrassed to say I've only been there once since it opened. I think it's been open for around 7 years now!!! I think I will start working trips to Trader Joe's into my lunch breaks :) And it sounds like a fun place to take my girls, too. I think they would love it!

  2. Not a week goes by that I don't also long for a Trader Joe's! Alas, all we have in my city is a small Whole Foods. The small is not bad; the problem is that the volume of business is astronomical. Going there is like an exercise in conquering any phobias regarding small places and personal space that you might have. So I had to laugh at your comment about purgatory involving shopping, because I'm pretty sure mine will, too!

  3. Funny- I just always figure 'Trader Joes' would be like 'whole foods' and way out of my price point. But I guess not? We have one not far from our house, maybe I will check it out :)

    1. Definitely not Whole Foods. We could never shop there. I think I went in there once when we lived in the area of one and I almost hyperventilated. It's definitely not Aldi's cheap so after being there today there will be a few things that we'll have to stick with Aldi's for but it definitely has great or at least comparable prices to other grocery chains for a lot of things.

  4. We are like you were, Mary! All of the ones around us are an hour we plan our trips around them. We need one in our town or at least closer, and my family has sent emails and stuff, but to no avail. Trader Joe's come to Southcoast MA!!!

  5. Since it seems you have a some pull with Trader Joe's (the tour!!!), please put a word in that I would love one in Jefferson City Missouri!! We have nothing here! Our Hy-Vee has a "health food market" and a very small organic section in the produce department, but I need more selections and better prices.

    1. I'll see what I can do ;) Actually they have a location request page on their website! Have you tried that? I know there was a big campaign a few towns over to bring Trader Joe's a few years ago and apparently they listened!

  6. You've hit the big time, Mary! VIP Trader Joe's shopper! Can't wait to go :)
    Oh, and if you haven't had their Cilantro Jalepeno hummus yet, then it is a Must Taste. (Wegmans doesn't come close - and I LOoooove Wegmans!). :)

  7. Ohhhh how I love Trader Joe's! We do almost all of our shopping there - *maybe* a monthly trip to Wegman's, a monthly trip to Costco, and once in a while a quick trip to the nearby grocery stores to get things we can't get at TJ's. But produce, dairy, wine, it's TJ's all the way!

  8. Happy Trader Joe's Day!! I was thinking about you all day, wondering if you camped out all night to be the first in line this morning, but I should have known that you would score a private tour before the masses came! Way to go,Mary! Your dream has come true - you'll have to give your old mama a tour one of these days!

  9. I agree! It would be fun to hear what are your favorites from TJ's as well. I'll share one of mine - their pre-made pie crusts are *almost like homemade and so much easier. What do you recommend?

    1. I think those pie crusts I may try! We love chicken pot pie but the added step of making the crust always makes me save it for special occasions! Let's see...the whole wheat tortillas. They are the ONLY tortillas I've ever found (besides making them myself) that don't have a whole lot of preservatives. Also love their creamy salted peanut butter. I wish we could upgrade to the organic but we go through so much that it would be too expensive. I love that they have organic suckers and jelly beans for treats for the kiddos! Their coffee is awesome. Also, their vitamin C tablets for the kids and their salmon oil for all of us. They have a few things I've been disappointed in but I guess that should be expected, right? Hmm...I could probably write a whole post on this topic...

  10. When I am upset, my husband recommends a trip to Trader Joe's

    1. Ha, I know! Last year during Advent I got super overwhelmed one day and took a loooong ride out alone to the new one in Rochester over an hour away. Most therapeutic car ride of my life.

  11. Many of the gringos here in Mexico plan their trips north specifically to pick up things at TJ's. There's a lot of comparing notes on what is missed most, what is a MUST BUY when in the states, what is important enough to have someone else pick up to bring when they come visit, etc.

    1. So funny! They definitely beat me crossing international borders to get their TJ fix!


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