Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

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LuigiLikesPizza
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Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by LuigiLikesPizza » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:57 am

Do you have a list of items you buy repeatedly at Trader Joes? either due to price or quality - or best case, best value?

For me - I probably spend at least 75% of my grocery budget at that one store

cultured butter
fresh garlic peeled
uncured meats
cheese
smoked salmon
frozen sea scallops
bagged greens
some of their wines and juices
onions, potatoes, citrus
nuts (crazy good value)
oils, some of their condiments
tea tree shampoo
crackers
almond butter
ginger and coconut pieces
gums
hummus
broths
frozen fruits & veggies
Xmas time: hors doevres, truffle salt

Other than the hors doevres, I rarely buy any prepared foods or recipe type meals- very hit or miss (too many misses).

Zott
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Zott » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:06 pm

Several things, notably the 19 cent bananas, as I eat two per day on average, I usually have a couple of huge bunches at checkout and get a look from the cashiers. Trail mix, and milk, european cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, packaged ham (uncured). A few cereals for the kids. Occasionally I'll buy one of their coffees. Oh, and my chocolate bars (dark chocolate w/ almonds :mrgreen: )

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by foreverihope » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:12 pm

sprouted trader joes bread.
Pilgrim joes clam chowder.
trader joes lager beer.
shrimp/veg guoza

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by travelnut11 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:12 pm

Marinated artichoke hearts and kalamata olives are our TJ staples because they're a good size/price. I also like the peanut butter coated granola bars just because they delish.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by GoldenFinch » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:17 pm

Our Trader Joe's was so popular they moved the location to accommodate more parking spaces and built a new building from scratch. Ironically the new building lost all the charm of the old one and the layout of the store made the whole experience shopping there unappealing. So sadly I quit shopping at Trader Joe's and go to a nice local farmers market instead. The conclusion around town is that they were ruined by their own success, at least a little bit anyway because they are no longer crowded.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by 123 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:19 pm

Honey roasted sliced almonds - $3.99 for 8 oz - we use them for salad toppings and general snacking. We often buy 3 to 5 bags of them at a time and they're currently our main trigger for a Trader Joe shopping stop. Spouse favors the Trader Joe cranberry juice with only 10 grams of sugar per serving, much lower then other brands. Of course while we're there we pick up other stuff.

Grocery shopping is usually a matter of finding stores that "fit" you shopping needs. Different stores, even of the same chain and in the same city, often have different product selections and availability. We usually go to a Trader Joe's once or twice a month.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by blueberry » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:36 pm

organic free range chicken drumsticks, cheap, low boil for 45 minutes, pick out all bones and split it between dogs (they get all cartilage and skin) and a pot of soup

boxed organic tomato roasted pepper soup - it keeps well, poach eggs in this while camping = classy!, add to stew or soup you're making from scratch (secret ingredient), have plain with grilled cheese, versatile (and cheap)

great variety of cheeses, stilton, camembert, etc. high quality and great prices

organic sour cream - make stroganoff from heaven! priceless

testing321
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by testing321 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:16 pm

wine
liquid soy coffee creamer (best deal for this)
pita chips and hummus
cheeses
Greek yogurt
cereals
frozen salmon
greeting cards

I avoid their frozen prepared foods

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Christine_NM
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:34 pm

I buy most food items at TJ -- it is just down the street a couple of blocks.

My frozen favorites are:
Trader Jacques wild salmon dinner
Trader Jacques cod provencal dinner
Black bean taquitos
Chile relleno -- not as good as DIY, but a lot easier
Orange glazed chicken

Deli favorites:
Havarti sliced cheese
Seasoned roast beef
Pilgrim clam chowder

Shelf:
Carrot-ginger soup
tuna in olive oil
sardines in olive oil
all the canned beans, esp. pinto, cannellini, vegetarian chili
Fire-roasted diced tomatoes
Bran flakes, buy fresh or frozen berries or fruit as topping.

Meat: organic ground beef to go with the vegetarian chili + fire-roasted diced tomatoes (that's tonight, with chopped celery and onion)

And don't forget the Joe-Joes (oreos). You only live once.
Last edited by Christine_NM on Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:36 pm

"Old School" greeting cards, the paper kind. They're tasteful, artsy and cheap.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by saltycaper » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:44 pm

Flowers
Tea
Seeds (to eat)
Pie on occasion
I actually like some of their frozen prepared meals. Portions are convenient for two people. Quick to make, though cooking time always more than what the package says. Yes, some are not so good. The gnocchi is probably my favorite.
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Tycoon
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Tycoon » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:08 pm

The chocolate bars at the checkout counter - three for $1.79. I can't find a deal like that anywhere.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:19 pm

Nobody mentioned the mirepoix. It saves me a lot of time, cleaning the chopping board, knife, etc. Okay, I'm lazy.
Speaking of lazy, I love the pre-peeled hard boiled eggs. I add the egg whites to salads all the time, and while I don't mind boiling eggs, peeling them is a PITA.

DW loves the sesame sticks.

I think other things have been mentioned already.
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Ice-9
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Ice-9 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:25 pm

Probiotics. When my doctor recommended them for me, he immediately mentioned Trader Joe's as the best deal.

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House Blend
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by House Blend » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:29 pm

LuigiLikesPizza wrote:For me - I probably spend at least 75% of my grocery budget at that one store
I have a fair amount of overlap with you, but probably only spend half of the grocery budget there. The fraction would be higher if more of their produce were not dismal.

Here's a few things I buy regularly due to various combinations of price and convenience:

organic bananas @ $0.29ea
500g bars of 70% chocolate @ $5
craft beer
various wines
cereals
some of the bakery bread (e.g., sourdough)
cheese/yogurt/butter
grapefruit juice
coffee beans
pasta @ $1/pound
nuts and dried fruits

The bags of shelled sunflower seeds @ $2 per lb were a bargain, but haven't seen them for a couple of months.

The ravioli + sauce/cheese topping of choice + salad makes for a great quickie meal for two.

Also the 1lb bag of frozen shellfish is a great starting point for an expedient etoufee/cioppino/bouillabaisse/etc without the shells.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jebmke » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:38 pm

Tycoon wrote:The chocolate bars at the checkout counter - three for $1.79. I can't find a deal like that anywhere.
We buy these too. Closest TJs is over an hour away for us so only get there when in the area for other reasons. We also buy their laundry detergent.
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denovo
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:41 pm

Good value- absolutely not. It's not as much a rip off as Whole Foods, but your local supermarket chain and Costco are definitely cheaper for 90 percent of things.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by sbaywriter » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:09 pm

Regular TJ shopper since the 70s in LA. Then it was the cheese and chocolate.

Now it's mainly the convenience and some better deals than supermarket:
Handful of nuts - various kinds
Frozen cheese and green chile tamales
Frozen brown rice
Eggs
Packaged butter lettuce/radicchio mix salad
Ricola cough drops
Avocados (generally cheaper than supermarket)
Tofu
Frozen Asian vegetable mix

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by BW1985 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:10 pm

Used to make the trip to TJ's but now there's a Fresh Thyme right next to our house. Still make the occasional trip to WF's, mainly for a cake my wife likes. :shock:

Not a fan of local supermarket chains, they're huge and mostly full of junk we don't buy.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by countofmc » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:12 pm

I like shopping there due to their excellent customer service (at least so far) and rather eclectic selection. There aren't a lot of grocery stores in my area that sell both some rather exotic Asian food selections and also generic cheap deli meat.

I do not think they are that great of a value $ wise.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by htdrag11 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:53 pm

Half and half cream is w/o preservatives but only last one week. Price is right though.

Black raisins are reasonable, no sulfite added.

Cashiers and staff always have a pleasant smile.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by joe8d » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:25 pm

denovo wrote:Good value- absolutely not. It's not as much a rip off as Whole Foods, but your local supermarket chain and Costco are definitely cheaper for 90 percent of things.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by joe8d » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:27 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:"Old School" greeting cards, the paper kind. They're tasteful, artsy and cheap.
Good cards, 50 cents, Dollar Tree.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Grasshopper » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:38 pm

TJ's organic 100% pomegranate juice,
organic gala apples, just always the right size,
white modena vinegar, use to be called white balsamic vinegar
Ms. G likes some produce, but with a Sprouts just down the street, Sprouts get a lot of our fresh produce bucks.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by MichaelRpdx » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:40 pm

Organic romaine hearts
Dog treats
yogurt
organic potatoes
veg corn dogs - splurge item
organic fruits
hummus
whole cauliflower

Joes' is six blocks away and is our convenience grocery store.
Grocery Outlet, WinCo, Costco, and Bob's Red Mill (with coupons, we live about five miles away) for the bulk of our other food shopping.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by hoops777 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:42 pm

Been shopping there for over 30 years.It is a great store if you are single or a couple and they do have unique items.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:55 pm

I thought you were asking whether these were a good value:

Image

(photoshopped, not real)
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by gkaplan » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:05 pm

Looking at what I now have on hand:

Lundberg Brown Rice Organic Rice Cakes
Low Sodium Better'n Peanut Butter
Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Pretzel Twists
Trader Joe's Yellowfin Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil
Trader Joe's Alaska Wild Pink Salmon
Trader Joe's Boneless Skinless Mackerel in Sunflower Oil
Trader Joe's Kipper Fillets Smoked Herring in Canola Oil & Juices
Trader Joe's Wild Caught Unsalted Sardines in Spring Water
Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Plain Bagels
Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds
Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Almond Beverage Original
Trader Joe's Spanish Manzanilla Olives with Pimentos


I also buy the cage-free Eggs, unsalted almonds, unsalted pumpkin seeds, and other items that slip my mind.

I avoid the produce section. I generally buy my produce at Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, or the local farmers' market.
Gordon

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:53 am

denovo wrote:Good value- absolutely not. It's not as much a rip off as Whole Foods, but your local supermarket chain and Costco are definitely cheaper for 90 percent of things.
Trader Joe's has the best prices available to me within a reasonable walking distance out of more than a dozen grocery stores. The other grocery stores chains are only less expensive on the occasional sale item or on substantially different products with a few exceptions such as cheese. I do go to other grocery stores and shops for certain items that are mostly not available at Trader Joe's.

The prices that are almost impossible to beat are at Aldi, but there is not one anywhere near me.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by mouses » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:06 am

I live a distance away from the one store in my state, so I drive up there every couple of months. I stock up on their vegetable birds nests. I used to stock up on their samosas, but they changed them completely and the new ones are awful. Their hummus wraps are good.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by mouses » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:09 am

GoldenFinch wrote:Our Trader Joe's was so popular they moved the location to accommodate more parking spaces and built a new building from scratch. Ironically the new building lost all the charm of the old one and the layout of the store made the whole experience shopping there unappealing. So sadly I quit shopping at Trader Joe's and go to a nice local farmers market instead. The conclusion around town is that they were ruined by their own success, at least a little bit anyway because they are no longer crowded.
If you can buy the same products, why does the store layout matter? The only time I notice a store layout is when the store is gigantic, so I have to walk what seems like miles through it to find everything.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Barefootgirl » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:37 am

I was wondering the same...my local Wegmans is as big as a football field. Responding to customer complaints, they installed a new section near the checkout just for milk, eggs and juice to help people avoid the journey to the back of store. Seemed like that just adds to the issue, but what do I know, lol.

With respect to Trader Joes however, in a world where things change rapidly - and in particular, in the consumer markets, it's refreshing that TJs remains steadfast to their niche. They found one not occupied and they fill it well.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:29 am

I like Trader Joe's and if there were one a little closer to us I'd shop there more often. I do have a question, though.

When I shop at Trader Joe's I have the impression that, within reason, you name it, they have it--but only one kind, never a choice. Is that your impression, too? If so, is that a bug or a feature?

(Re an earlier comment... yes, that's true, too. No two Trader Joe's have the same store layout. Another respect in which they are "different." Since I don't shop there regularly it's not a problem because it's unfamiliar to me anyway. Many other store chains are virtually identical, provided they can get the store space. Costco is extremely uniform in my experience. You literally can't tell which one you're in. Walmart seems to have two layouts, the older Wal✭Mart layout, and the newer Walmart* layout).
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by pshonore » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:46 am

nisiprius wrote:I like Trader Joe's and if there were one a little closer to us I'd shop there more often. I do have a question, though.

When I shop at Trader Joe's I have the impression that, within reason, you name it, they have it--but only one kind, never a choice. Is that your impression, too? If so, is that a bug or a feature?
Kind of like Stew Leonard's in Fairfield County CT. Of course the store is laid out so you have to literally traverse the entire store and buy more (unless you can find the cleverly concealed exit shortcuts)

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by hicabob » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:58 am

Pound plus chocolate. Really decent Belgian chocolate for about $5 for a pound of it - lasts even me a few days.
The frozen croissants that you let rise overnight. (ones with chocolate in are wonderful).
The triple ginger snaps.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by reriodan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:59 am

Not a big fan of Trader Joe's, the employees annoy me to much. They always try to talk to you and make conversation. I was checking out once and the cashier goes "So, what are you plans for the day?". :shock: I am just trying to run some errands and checkout dude, not become part of some hippie commune and make a bunch of new friends.

Compare that to Costco where the employees are so efficient they don't really have time to talk. "Charge it?", "Yep", and I am out of there :D.

That said, I do love Trader Joe's JoJos though (oreo-like cookies).
Last edited by reriodan on Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:05 am

^ I understand what bothered you about the overly friendly TJ checkout, but I prefer that to the opposite. I find most of my local ones are sensitive to my mood and give me brevity when that's what I want, friendliness when that's appropriate.

I appreciate TJ for paying well, supporting their workers with a living wage (rather than expecting the taxpayer to fill the gap ala Walmart), and being inclusive in its hiring practices.

I continue to be bothered that they have no Express lanes. The bell system is not a substitute.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Barefootgirl » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:32 am

We're so lucky to be living in the developed world.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by JPH » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:51 am

My spouse is addicted to their sugary granola cereals. I have to dig through the boxes to find my Uncle Sam.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:34 pm

Never been in the store, so the only thing we've got from them is their multi-page paper mailer where each page has a one-page essay on some fancy kind of food item that I didn't know existed. So the only things I know about Trader Joe's is that they sell a bunch of fancy food, and that they don't mind chopping down a bunch of trees to broadcast that. :oops:

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by mouses » Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:48 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Never been in the store, so the only thing we've got from them is their multi-page paper mailer where each page has a one-page essay on some fancy kind of food item that I didn't know existed. So the only things I know about Trader Joe's is that they sell a bunch of fancy food, and that they don't mind chopping down a bunch of trees to broadcast that. :oops:
Nobody says you have to subscribe.

I also like the checkout people. I particularly like that they unload the carts, as supermarkets used to. At my age, I appreciate that. I also like their being paid a living wage.

Yes, I agree with a previous comment, they seem to have one of various item types. I assume this is by design, as it saves them money.
Last edited by mouses on Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by blueberry » Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:55 pm

One thing that I think hasn't been covered here, TJ's convenience foods usually have a very good ingredient list. There are rarely preservatives or artificial flavors. I always have their frozen cheese pizzas on hand and pile em with produce from my own garden or from another store (TJ produce is very limited).

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by WildBill » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:15 pm

nisiprius wrote:
When I shop at Trader Joe's I have the impression that, within reason, you name it, they have it--but only one kind, never a choice. Is that your impression, too? If so, is that a bug or a feature?.
Agree in general. For me it is a feature. The items they have are always good value, and if the item they have is one you like you are good to go. Don't have to spend a lot of time on comparing different brands. Examples for me are their whole grain mustard, organic steel cut oatmeal, mayonnaise, nuts, breads and coffee (which they have a good selection of but the best is the New Mexico blend with roasted piñon nuts).

Of course their wine selection is excellent and Two Buck Chuck makes a fine sangria.

I am underwhelmed by their house beers in general, but good beer is so widely available now that that is not a consideration.

And they have Dark Chocolate Almonds, $0.99 per pack, conveniently located at the checkout. :wink:

Enjoy them

W B
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:16 pm

mouses wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Never been in the store, so the only thing we've got from them is their multi-page paper mailer where each page has a one-page essay on some fancy kind of food item that I didn't know existed. So the only things I know about Trader Joe's is that they sell a bunch of fancy food, and that they don't mind chopping down a bunch of trees to broadcast that. :oops:
Nobody says you have to subscribe.

I also like the checkout people. I particularly like that they unload the carts, as supermarkets used to. At my age, I appreciate that. I also like their being paid a living wage.
What do you mean "Nobody says you have to subscribe." I'm getting unsolicited junk mail. :oops:

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by mouses » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:04 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:
mouses wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Never been in the store, so the only thing we've got from them is their multi-page paper mailer where each page has a one-page essay on some fancy kind of food item that I didn't know existed. So the only things I know about Trader Joe's is that they sell a bunch of fancy food, and that they don't mind chopping down a bunch of trees to broadcast that. :oops:
Nobody says you have to subscribe.

I also like the checkout people. I particularly like that they unload the carts, as supermarkets used to. At my age, I appreciate that. I also like their being paid a living wage.
What do you mean "Nobody says you have to subscribe." I'm getting unsolicited junk mail. :oops:
So look for the place where it tells you to get off the mailing list. :oops:

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:28 pm

mouses wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
mouses wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Never been in the store, so the only thing we've got from them is their multi-page paper mailer where each page has a one-page essay on some fancy kind of food item that I didn't know existed. So the only things I know about Trader Joe's is that they sell a bunch of fancy food, and that they don't mind chopping down a bunch of trees to broadcast that. :oops:
Nobody says you have to subscribe.

I also like the checkout people. I particularly like that they unload the carts, as supermarkets used to. At my age, I appreciate that. I also like their being paid a living wage.
What do you mean "Nobody says you have to subscribe." I'm getting unsolicited junk mail. :oops:
So look for the place where it tells you to get off the mailing list. :oops:
Interesting. Perhaps you could list all the unsolicited junk mail you receive and how you respond to it. Do you actually carefully scrutinize these unsolicited junk documents and engage the senders in further exchange of correspondence in order to attempt to reduce further exchanges of correspondence? I find the whole scenario quite counter-intuitive, time-consuming, and predictably ineffective.

Don't blame me for being the recipient of unsolicited junk mail. :confused

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
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Location: Sunny California

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:28 pm

I spend most of my time (and money) in the produce, meat, and frozen foods aisles at Trader Joe's. I prefer the produce and meat at Trader Joe's over most of the other supermarkets in my immediate area.

I don't shop exclusively at Trader Joe's though. I'll get dry goods and some frozen items at other grocery stores such as the Albertsons/Vons/Safeway chain, Sprouts, or even the market pantry part of Target.

Luckily, I have at least one location of all of these stores within a mile or so of work, so I can just swing by them on the way home from work and pick up my preferences for that particular store.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
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Location: Sunny California

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:39 pm

nisiprius wrote:I like Trader Joe's and if there were one a little closer to us I'd shop there more often. I do have a question, though.

When I shop at Trader Joe's I have the impression that, within reason, you name it, they have it--but only one kind, never a choice. Is that your impression, too? If so, is that a bug or a feature?
The one by my work is a very small store, so selection is pretty limited. But there are multiple options for some items. Certainly there's a lot more cereal, bread, yogurt, and salad options than I would expect for a store that is so tiny. The dry goods and canned goods have the fewest options, and not surprising since there's only half an aisle aisle of these items. Our local TJ's is not the place to go to stock up on canned veggies, bakery supplies, or spices.

hicabob
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by hicabob » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:34 pm

The Trader Joe's flyer does remind me of that J Peterman's flyer we all knew and loved.

Northern Flicker
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Northern Flicker » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:40 pm

If they ever stop carrying Feline Pine Cat Litter, our kitty cat might have a nervous breakdown.

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