Trader Joe’s – when it’s your first time, you get flowers

I’m about to tell you something you may find surprising…despite my reputation as a bit of a “foodie,” until just a couple of weeks ago I had never been to Trader Joe’s. Truth. I know, I know, they “have the best prepared foods!” and the “produce is fantastic.” I’d heard it all, yet remained disinterested. The Wolf Road location always seemed like a clusterf*ck and I do all right with P Chops, Shop Rite and Honest Weight with the occasional Aldi foray. There really isn’t room in the rotation for another grocery store.

But, when a special friend invites a girl to a wonderful “new” place, she goes, right? And that’s how I found myself on a recent Sunday evening cruising the aisles of TJ’s for the very first time. First impression: we picked a good time to go. The parking lot was more empty than full and the store itself was surprisingly mellow. Despite my intention to merely browse, we had a full sized cart and plenty of time in case I changed my mind.

So, what did I walk out of there with? Although the produce looked good and more fairly priced than I had anticipated, I passed since I had already done my pre-Thanksgiving shopping and was set on fruits and veggies. The cheese and meats cases held my attention and I was unable to resist the sliced German smoked ham, at $3.99 for 4 oz it gave me a cheap olfactory trip to my Opa’s house in the Black Forest. Also in the cart were 2 bags of frozen potstickers (chicken and pork at $2.99 each), 2 bags of frozen seasoned corn (haven’t tried them yet), a bar of goat’s milk soap for my weirdo son who wanted goat’s milk, a large bottle of all-in-one shampoo/conditioner/body wash (just trying to cover the bases for my 12 y/o!) and 6-pack of something the guy selected. There might have been another item or three, but I honestly can’t remember – except, of course, for the sweet bouquet of flowers I received once our check out dude learned that it was my very first visit. Nice touch.

The takeaway – there were some cool things and most items were less expensive than I had anticipated. Am I going back? Well, if the fella asks again, of course! But, seriously, I do like the size of the store and the items I’ve purchased and sampled. There was definitely some other stuff that I’d be game to try, but I’m not in a big rush to go back. It’s kind of the same way I feel about places like Marshall’s – when I’ve got some extra time and money, I’m game to recreationally browse.

How about you? Are you a regular at Trader Joe’s? What should I get next time?

7 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s – when it’s your first time, you get flowers

  1. I work nearby so I stop fairly regularly. They’ve got a lot of snack food. If you like shredded wheat, I like theirs. They have a 3 cheese blend that’s our taco cheese. If you need creme fraiche (I put it on one of my pizzas), theirs is good and cheaper than most. I like some of their dry pasta. They have a lot of good nuts. I like the reduced salt roasted almonds. And they flowers are nice. They last pretty long too. I grab some once in awhile.

    1. Maybe once my boys are out of the house I’ll shop there more. I imagine a future of solely consuming foods that I can eat with a spoon or my hands. Cereal..yogurt…soup…ice cream. And maybe some of that creme fraiche topped pizza of yours!

  2. It blows my mind how many people around here say they have never been to TJ’s. I guess they don’t like saving money and getting quality products…..

  3. What i like most about trader joe’s is that i know there aren’t funky ingredients in my food. They have strict standards for ingredients – for example compare the ingredients on the gyoza to some from a regular grocery store.
    The prices are fantastic, and the various bagged salad greens and other produce is sold by the piece so there’s no surprise at checkout. The greek yogurt, various nuts, frozen japanese fried rice, individual bags of kettle corn, 50/50 corn and flour tortillas, coffee beans and lots of produce are regular purchases for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s