Trader Joe’s yea/nay/meh 2021

Yeas
-Pumpkin Rooibos tea (seasonal)
-Harry & David pears (seasonal) - note to self: refrigerate these the day of purchase
-Fromage Pave (seasonal) OMG this was like a young Epoisse. I paired it with Fuyu persimmons as the TJ newsletter suggested. Can’t wait for this one to come back.

Nays
-Cuban style citrus garlic bowl

Meh
-Cocktail hour Advent chocolate truffles (seasonal)

28 posts were split to a new topic: Trader Joe’s meta-discussion

Yay for the spicy chakri mix. Savory, crunchy, medium spicy, and brings me right back to South Asia.

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Might be good, but my local Indian grocery (Sayreville, NJ) has an entire aisle of these sorts of snacks, in varying degrees of heat, different base ingredients, and assorted sizes and shapes of the constituent pieces.

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Well of course they do, so does mine. Any specialty store is going to have a better selection.

Just reporting on a TJ item I tried and liked enough to buy again.

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Haven’t read this entire thread, nor even the last dozen or so replies.

I love TJ’s, and have, since long before I ever shopped in one. I had friends in California who talked about it, and would gift me items. I was so excited to finally go, and it didn’t disappoint. It is a unique grocery, as they say, however.

When I had two athletic teens to feed, I used to go at least once a month and stock up. I came to find what I did and didn’t like. Far more positives than negatives, though. I don’t buy a lot of frozen, or pre-prepared foods, but have some favorites, like the Mandarin Orange Chicken, frozen croissants and soycutash. Also like their bread products, dried fruit and nuts, pasta, wines and juices. Some spices, mustards, and canned stuff too.

Although the store that’s only 20 minutes from me is the largest, least crowded store I’ve been to, it is still popular, and crowded. Due to Covid, being empty nesters, and facing a toll every time I go, haven’t made it there in well over a year. H has picked up a few things from time to time. But I do look forward to shopping there as soon as it’s safe for me to do so.

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Except for me. I type fast and have a lot to say.

Last week when I went to Giant for curbside there was someone standing in a pickup parking spot with their “grandma cart”
https://www.google.com/search?q=grandma+cart&client=firefox-b-1-d&channel=cus2&sxsrf=ALeKk01G-Jw7ywajyqyoT7kf29rOCXMkUg:1609920155824&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiooIT464buAhWlGFkFHb94DrYQ_AUoAnoECA8QBA&biw=1350&bih=764
for pickup. I wish I had a picture but it seemed intrusive. I suspect the bigger issue is not whether you choose to own a car but whether the demographic for that store is car-based (thus parking lots and marked spaces) or walk-up (no parking and perhaps limited sidewalk space). The real challenge of being carless (is that a word?) is that it forces more frequent smaller shopping trips.

Maybe. Following the media reporting and looking at alternatives there seem to be two models. One is third party pickers, mostly focused on delivery but also supporting curbside. Food Lion who I am using for an upcoming delivery has contracted out all their curbside and delivery to Instacart. The other model is using grocery employees. Giant Food, our regular grocery, does this and the pickers are also the stockers; they know EXACTLY where everything is. Giant by the way had a leg up as their Peapod delivery subsidiary has been around for years. They had processes and just (ha! just!) had to scale up.

Sure. One of my Davisms is that I don’t trust anyone, including myself. I’m open to questioning my own opinions and conclusions. We have a TJ here in Annapolis near the mall. I don’t mind heading up in your direction to Gambrills or Odenton or Hanover. I’d just as soon not slog to Towson. grin

Interesting. I don’t believe one-way aisles were ever mandated here. They seemed like a good idea to the stores and were adopted. The last time I was actually in a store all the inconvenient displays in the aisles were gone also. That is certainly a net plus. I suspect the stores are finding more impulse buying from one-way aisles.

California on the whole seems to be making odd choices at government and institutional levels. “Lockdowns” that aren’t actually lockdowns come to mind. Forget enforcement - no reports I’ve seen of any enforcement at all in California. ICU margins in California urban areas seem to be looking pretty grim. One-way aisles in the grocery won’t fix that alone of course. Y’all need to get people to STFH.

Their produce is good and fresh. My friend buys the cut flowers. I
buy spices that seem to fit niches no one else sells. TJs is an occasional treat when we go on a run to the big city (Medford) 10 miles away. :slight_smile:

Last time there our aisles were still 1 way.

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If there are any moderators reading this, could we please split the off-topic digression into a thread of its own? A separate thread about whether or not Trader Joe’s is worthwhile would actually have some value. Thanks in advance!

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I did not want to make assumptions.

Is curbside even an option? Two parts of that, perhaps three. Is it even available? If available does your regular shop meet cost thresholds? Curbside for us has a $35 minimum which seems reasonable. Can you carry (grandma cart or not) the minimum amount? The last is an awkward question as sometimes something big (a cheap pack of eight rolls of paper towels) is about as much as I’d want to manage without a car.

Maybe. It would be interesting to have a controlled study to see. It’s been quite a while since I was in business school. I do remember a huge body of literature about retail including groceries: right-handed and left-handed stores, various traffic management schemes (those awful cardboard displays that intrude into the aisles), relabeling rates, reorganization rates, all kinds of things. Your opinion just like my opinion isn’t really worth much stacked up against real science that explores the true impact. I don’t have access to HBR any more. Perhaps someone else does and can skim the literature for the impact of one-way aisles vice capacity caps. Someone is surely crunching numbers on the subject.

Your post is too integrated to parse so I won’t blow it up by trying.

I’m not a troll.

I have been to TJ’s only twice (that I remember). I also do my research and read a lot of reviews. I drill down to the record of reviewers to discard those who hate everything and who love everything.

I see “we don’t have time to cook” in many social media fora. I think it’s whining and represents laziness. My wife and I both work very long days and still have time to cook. It’s my observation that take-out food takes just as long as cooking for most (not all) dishes. It may be easier but is not faster. It’s certainly more expensive.

The time argument is specious. People should learn to cook. I blame the summer of love but that is another topic.

I started to draft a response to the troll, but thought better of it. I think it’s time for those of us posting here in good faith, unlike the troll, to adopt a Do Not Feed the Troll policy.

YEA: Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins. Not a new item, but I was reminded of how much I like them when we got a box recently. Good in their own right, but also perfect for cookie sandwiches–in our case, vanilla ice cream, which made a lovely simple dessert.

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Yea- Le Delice De Bourgogne triple cream, soft ripened cheese. Super decadent and very delicious. I bought a few :wink:.

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Forgot to mention their pound plus Belgian chocolate bars for baking or candy projects. Also, the soft peanut butter cookies in the bread section, and their tubs of mini chocolate chip cookies, and cashew caramel mini cookies too. I never buy the cookies anymore, since the DD’s flew the coop. Too much temptation.

I’ve found some of their bagged veggies, and fruit mixes to be good, and the frozen desserts too, when I’ve tried them.

I don’t care for their meats and frozen fish portions, so pass on those. Yes to the cheeses and dairy. I like being able to find the European butters!

Also, without fail, every single time I’ve shopped there, the checkers never fail to be upbeat, helpful, and curious. Curious? Yep, when you’re buying ingredients they want to know what you’re making! They sometimes will alert you to a new product, or remark on one in your basket.

You could say I’m a fan, and have been a TJ’s shopper for about 29 years now.

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These make good icebox cakes! (And my sister says they’re excellent dipped in the TJ Belgian Chocolate Pudding.)

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same here. open a box of belgian waffle cookies and they’re gone. can’t help myself.

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Love that cheese!!! Definitely Yay! :yum::yum::yum:

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I love a whole bunch of things at TJs. However, the persian cukes have been disappointing. Every single time I buy them and refrigerate them immediately, they are going slimy and soft in a matter of 3-4 days. Whereas when I brought inside garden grown cukes, I could keep them in the fridge for 2 weeks, easy. So - note to self and others - unless you are using them immediately, pass on the persian cukes.

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I’ve had that problem with Persian cucumbers from TJ’s as well. But I’ve also had it from a couple of other stores. I wonder if it is something particular to the variety.

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I’ve had the same experience with Persian cucumbers from TJ’s. (Haven’t tried them from anywhere else.)

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold