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Trader Joes: What’s the big deal?


I have a friend who is engulfed, as are many, by the phenomenon that is Trader Joe’s. Her whole pantry, fridge, freezer are filled to the brim with pre-packaged food from this heaven: mini ice cream cones, caramelized French onion dip, orange sesame chicken, chocolate covered strawberries and bananas. Every time I am in her home I scarf down these various food items until it occurred to me that I had no idea where they came from. “You have never been to Trader Joe’s?” she said in disillusionment. Flushed with embarrassment I realized I needed to get there.

At 5:36 PM on Sunday, October 29, I drove 25 minutes to experience the delicacy of Trader Joe’s for the first time.

The first time I stepped into the store I immediately thought that whoever was in charge of marketing should get a raise. The walls and signs were decorated seasonally— painted pumpkins, fall wreaths, corn stalks, hay barrels. Everything came in cute packaging and the signs were hand-drawn big, bold, and colorful— even the checkout workers were in costume. It was instantly inviting and intriguing and I hadn’t even gotten to the food yet. The place was buzzing with families, couples, and individuals shopping for the week and stocking up on Halloween candy. On the wall there was a sign for a scavenger hunt for a racoon painting: “Where’s Rocky? Can you help us find him? Let us know where he’s hiding for a sweet reward.” I appreciated this clever way to make shopping more appealing to younger kids. This sign and the decorations in the store made a visit seem less like a chore and more of an experience.

In other words, Trader Joe’s has something for everyone. Even with food— they have everything. Where else would you find Philly cheesesteak Bao buns? Or pickled pups? Although I personally do not wish to consume these questionable combinations, I am sure there are others who live for a special Trader-Joe’s-only item like these. A few other concepts I noticed are that everything is reasonably priced, individually wrapped, (not the best for the environment), and mainly pre-made; Overall, Trader Joe’s is definitely not an ingredient store. However, these meal kits are what make Trader Joes Trader Joe’s and it wouldn’t be the same if they were selling ketchup instead of a pesto pasta dinner kit.

Four full bags of food later, I totally get Trader Joe’s obsession. A wide variety of unique, inexpensive food all in adorable packaging—what’s not to like? If you can, drive that 25 minutes to experience Trader Joes’.

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About the Contributor
Taite Harman ’26
Taite Harman ’26, Staff Writer
When not writing for GAP, Taite Harman enjoys playing field hockey, squash and lacrosse. Additionally, she can be found spending time with her family, friends, or three pets.

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