Trader Joe’s Will Make You a Better Shopper

We’re all familiar with the 5PM gloom that rolls in on Sunday evenings as day winds down, the sun starts setting, and you remember that you have a full work week ahead. You then also realize to top it all off that you have no clean socks and underwear for Monday, along with no food in the fridge. The thought of going to the grocery store just to get peanut butter puts stress pimples on my forehead.

Having resided in Dallas for years prior to making the move to San Francisco, I was used to the idea that “everything is bigger in Dallas,” including grocery stores, parking lots, and even shopping carts. I would wander every aisle of Kroger for 40 minutes as I tried to pick out whether I wanted mini pretzels or Kroger-branded minute rice or organic whole wheat pasta. Simply put, I was inundated with choices, not to mention, low on time.

Upon moving into a new apartment with my girlfriend in San Francisco, we quickly learned that we need very little in our lives to be happy. We got rid of clothes, furniture, home knick knacks, and fancy kitchen gadgets that we’d use once before placing it back in the box and pushing it to the back of the cupboards. We also learned the importance of time. Between startup jobs, city commuting, and trying to find some balance in our social schedules, we looked to see where we could cut time and be more efficient.

Grocery shopping has always been a dreaded task. Between remembering to bring reusable bags to lifting 10 bags of groceries up the stairs of the apartment building and falling into the couch immediately after, this Sunday evening task never got my blood pumping. Well, that is until I realized the incredible efficiencies in time and cost from going to Trader Joe’s. Simply put, grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s gives me more time to do productive things like cooking, reading a book or building on my skillsets. Not to mention, keeping my face clear of acne.

There are the main reasons why I choose to shop at Trader Joe’s and forever will as long as it’s available in my city of residence:

1. Store layout: Trader Joe’s stores are small. With one larger produce section, one frozen goods aisle, an area for prepared foods and meat, an aisle for dry goods, and most importantly, a full alcohol aisle, you can easily roll your small Trader Joe’s cart through the entire store within 5 minutes.

2. Limited items: As humans, we are crippled when presented with too many choices. Knowing this, why not take yourself out of the situation? While Kroger, Randalls, or Albertsons provides at least 10 different choices for regular potato chips, Trader Joe’s presents 2 or 3, and this is the same for every product category. No longer are the days of standing in front of pasta sauce jars trying to distinguish which flavor you want, how many mgs of sodium are in each, and what you could do with the 50 cents you save when you go for the two jars for $3.50 price.

Oh and that Cookie Butter!

3. Always the best deal: Gone are the days of coupon clipping. There are no sales at Trader Joe’s. Though to some, this may seem like a disadvantage, to us and many folks we know, we love it because we know exactly how much something will cost us, today, next week, and 3 months down the road. Plus, we don’t have to be bitter about the lady standing in line in front of us with a handful of coupons,

4. The employees: We talk to the employees all the time and they love working for Trader Joe’s. The employees are eccentric, unique, and ultra-friendly. We don’t ever see employees who are there just to clock in and clock out, but rather, employees often look at our ingredients and ask if we’re cooking up some grand meal or they comment on our wine, or eagerly rush to the back room to see if they have more fresh cilantro or chives.

5. Seasonal items: It is October which means it is Fall. When people think of fall they think of warm drinks (like hot apple cider), pumpkins and squash. Trader Joe’s does a great job of bringing in seasonal items, putting them front and center in the store. Walk in and you instantly get reminded of great meals you can make that are well suited for the season, like butternut squash. Sometimes those seasonal items aren’t so great for you, like holiday cookies, and Trader Joe’s helps your stomach out by taking them away after the Holiday’s are over. Other grocery stores do the same, but again, there are 5 options for apple cider instead of the one which gives you less choice anxiety.

Source: Trader Joe’s

It’s now Sunday evening and I’m on a long flight back to SF knowing there will be no food in my fridge upon arrival. Usually I’d be exhausted just thinking about having to go the store to get food for the week and resort to Postmating an overpriced meal (or shall I say overpriced delivery charge) instead. However, I know my girlfriend and I will make it to Trader Joe’s tonight, be in and out in 20 minutes, and be able to have a delicious and nutritious meal together.

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