Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

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

Post by pondering » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:50 pm

We really like Trader Joe's. Unfortunately a lot of their products have more sugar(s) in them and they don't have many alternatives to the products with sugar(s).

My wife recently had her gallbladder removed so I imagine we will be shopping more at Trader Joe's in the long run.
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foreverihope
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by foreverihope » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:09 pm

sprouted trader joes bread. cheapest sprouted bread in the country
Pilgrim joes clam chowder.Best 1.69 chowder that doesn't look like snot
trader joes lager beer. cheapest american non lite(diet )beer owned and made in america
shrimp/veg guoza =expensive, a like it not a cheap item

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jlawrence01 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:38 pm

Ok, I'll bite.

When I shop at Trader Joe's, I buy mostly the "middle of the store items." I do NOT like their produce as it is prepackaged and less fresh than the ethnic markets that are in my area. Ditto on the meats. I prefer bread that is baked "in house" as opposed to being shipped in from California although it is a lot better quality that the garbage that they sell for bread in the Midwest.

Their prices are on average LESS expensive than MOST full line supermarkets. However, if you live in a very competitive market like Chicago, Trader joe's prices are higher and much less attractive.

However, in the Midwest, I found that there were at least 20 items that I purchased at Trader Joe's that were also sold at ALDI for lower prices, especially in the cookies, crackers, cheese, candy and other imported items (especially German) areas. I found myself shopping at Trader Joe's 3-4 times per year.

I shop there more often here in Tucson. However, they get under 2% of my business on average. I used to buy a lot of coffee from them but I now bring that in from Aldi on my trips home.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by WildBill » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:51 pm

Interestingly, the Aldi family, which owns Aldis, is also the owner of Trader Joes.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by straws46 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:06 pm

Love their crab cakes and chocolate ice cream. Stay away from their salted chocolate covered caramels - may lead to addiction issues.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by OnTrack » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:39 pm

I like the chocolate bars, salad dressing, some of the frozen foods. I've noticed that some products are often discontinued. Also, I find pricing fruit by the piece instead of by the pound confusing since most stores charge by the pound.

Regarding store layout in general. My biggest desire is that it does not change. Once I am familiar with a store, I don't want to waste my time finding things when things are moved around. As far as I can tell, TJ is good in this respect. I had shopped loyally at another local supermarket for many years, and I finally got fed up after they repeatedly keep moving things around. I now shop somewhere else.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by southbay » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:46 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:"Old School" greeting cards, the paper kind. They're tasteful, artsy and cheap.
I love their $1 greeting cards

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:27 pm

Trader Joes Os cereal is a great value. Bags of dried fruits and nuts are good values. Trader Joe Dijon mustard is an very good value. It has great flavor and is very finely ground so it makes an easy and excellent vinaigrette.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by aboose » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:29 am

Unlike a lot of people I'm not trying to optimize cost and healthiness, I'm also trying to optimize calories. As I struggle to gain weight, is it important to me that each meal I eat out of the day has at least 700 calories, so that my 450 calorie protein shake bumps me up to ~2500 calories for the day for my weight gain.

So I've found that Trader Joes has the best cost/calories for perishables like fruit (I like the bananas and peaches), milk, eggs, and bread. Other good things are the frozen meals, which are 700 calories for only $2-3 which is a steal for how high quality they are. For example, the mac n cheese and the frozen chicken bites are really really good and really cheap.

Things that are good but can be bought at Costco in bulk for even cheaper -- non-perishables like peanut butter, snacks (gummies), packaged food, protein powder (idk if Trader Joe's even carries), non-food groceries like paper towels/tissues/toilet paper.

Things not good -- meat selection. Way expensive. Local Vons (think Safeway, Kroger, etc) has chicken thighs for $2.99/lb and steak for $4-6/lb. Everything at TJ's is much more for some reason.

Anyway, that's my experience as a terrible chef who is looking to get as much good food in for as little as possible.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:44 am

aboose wrote:Things not good -- meat selection. Way expensive. Local Vons (think Safeway, Kroger, etc) has chicken thighs for $2.99/lb and steak for $4-6/lb. Everything at TJ's is much more for some reason.
FYI, Vons is Safeway (same chain), it just depends on what part of the country you're in as to which name is used. For example, Northern California uses Safeway and Southern California uses Vons/Vons Pavilion.

Albertsons owns the chain now, which I have noticed has affected pricing and the in-store brands, plus chain-wide promotions. Albertsons does seem to be maintaining some distinctions in the brands and promos for Vons/Safeway though.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by BeachPerson » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:37 am

I go there for almond butter and Puffins cereal - Otherwise, I go to Wegman's.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jdb » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:41 am

Beware of the beer and check expiration dates. After one opened near me last year bought two six packs of beer, different brands, they were both bad, the expiration date on each showed had expired months earlier. When returned the assistant manager asked where I had found the beer, he walked over with me to shelves, we found almost half of the beer on shelves past expiration date. He blamed the suppliers. About month later at next visit checked and found several past expiration date. Haven't been back since except to get the dark chocolate covered almonds, best in town. Maybe one of reasons for cheaper prices is they get supplied with products near expiration dates.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by gatorking » Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:13 am

Most shopping is done at Market Basket but I favor TJ for following items:
Sourdough bread
Greek yogurt
Omega 3 eggs
Raw milk cheese
This "fruit" walks into a bar
Granola bars
Pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds
Organic chicken
8 vegetable mix
Pound plus chocolate
Masala burgers
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:16 pm

jdb wrote:Beware of the beer and check expiration dates. After one opened near me last year bought two six packs of beer, different brands, they were both bad, the expiration date on each showed had expired months earlier. When returned the assistant manager asked where I had found the beer, he walked over with me to shelves, we found almost half of the beer on shelves past expiration date. He blamed the suppliers. About month later at next visit checked and found several past expiration date. Haven't been back since except to get the dark chocolate covered almonds, best in town. Maybe one of reasons for cheaper prices is they get supplied with products near expiration dates.
The control of the stock entirely depends on the employees at your location. My location, even those quite small, has about a half dozen employees in the evening rummaging through items to find those that have expired or are close to expiring. I've observed it every time I've shopped there (since I shop in the evenings after work).

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

Post by foreverihope » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:32 pm

aboose wrote:
Things not good -- meat selection. Way expensive. .
the meat at trader joes is not good at all, and I like the store.The sushi is dated like for a month out you have to look close for sure . the Cod bits from alaska are good at 3.99 but shrink a lot for no water on the label.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:43 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?
It's their entire concept and I consider it a feature. There is no need to try to figure out which item is better, less expensive, more nutritious. They have already done that selecting for you. Most of the items are sold under their own name and are identical to one brand or another although some do come from private-label manufacturers. It makes shopping relatively fast and easy.

It's not quite true that there is never a choice and only one kind of something. Peanut butter, olive oil, items like that have a variety to choose from. But no, there are rarely two very similar items such as organic salted crunchy peanut butter. A few items do have different sizes to choose from but it seems they have eliminated some of those choices recently, such as rice crackers and basic balsamic vinegar.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by heartwood » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:11 pm

Several great ice creams, and in keeping with the op's title, I think they're good value. Thanksgiving/Christmas season they have pecan pie ice cream. I also like the Coffee Bean Blast Ice Cream. There I add TJ's chocolate chips and then use the Midnight Moo chocolate sauce.

BTW the chocolate chips are so much better than the chocolate chunks. Don't know why, perhaps its chocolate content?

I also think the frozen croissants are wonderful and a great value too. Frozen tuna burgers. Bavarian Bockwurst take the place of breakfast sausage. Madrigal cheese chunks; much more flavorful than Jarlsburg.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Afty » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:02 pm

When we lived in MA, the local TJ's had very poor quality produce, but here in CA they're fine and at least as good as the supermarket chains. Eggs and milk are half the price of Safeway. Meats are not great quality, but the frozen raw fish is surprisingly good and cheap.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by stinkycat » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:24 pm

I am surprised we have two pages of posts and only one person has mentioned two buck chuck. The market must be doing well. I have never tried it though, since our TJs don't sell wine.

Seriously, I find it is a bit cheaper for a "trendy" grocery store. They are no Price Rite, but we usually find something interesting there.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:31 pm

There is at least one web site that reviews TJ products - http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/.
If you look at the site, on the column at the right, the reviews are grouped from best to worst. Look under the heading 'Ranking Roll Call'. The best as the link named 'Pantheon Level - The Best of the Best'.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:18 am

Afty wrote:When we lived in MA, the local TJ's had very poor quality produce, but here in CA they're fine and at least as good as the supermarket chains. Eggs and milk are half the price of Safeway. Meats are not great quality, but the frozen raw fish is surprisingly good and cheap.
The western stores are served by a warehouse in Pasadena, CA. The eastern and midwestern stores are served out of Massachusettes.

You will notice that the canned and packaged goods are nearly identical in both regions.

The perishables - produce, prepared foods, meats, and bakery- are MUCH different. The CA stores have a lot better perishables as these itsms are sourced locally as opposed to being shipped halfway across the country.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:28 am

We just purchase a few things there regularly because we use quite a bit and Trader Joe's prices are right. Specifically - spices, toasted sesame oil, nuts and seeds, 72% chocolate bars.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:45 am

Second favorite supermarket, just behind Wegman's:
Olive oil
Cheeses
Crackers
Nuts
Coffee
Cereal
Frozen salmon
Tomatoes
Selected produce
Hummus
Milk
Yogurt
CA stores have good wine deals

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Tamarind » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:41 am

This is my go to grocery store. After making a list we try the farmer's market first for produce that's in season or fancy meats. Then TJs. If something isn't in stock that we really need for a recipe, only then do we try the other 2-3 grocery stores in the area.

My understanding is that almost everything at TJs can be found for same price or less somewhere since it is just rebranded but this requires driving around, careful couponing, and searching the shelves. I'd rather spend my time cooking or relaxing. So I find the small selection to be a plus as it reduces time spent and I trust everything to be good enough.

I also love the chatty staff. We made friends with someone who worked the wine display and she hosts her "regulars" every Sunday evening with chatter, cheese cubes, and a "flight" of taster cups. Very rare to find that kind of pleasant experience in the middle of errand day.

To answer OP, price per item at Trader Joe's is consistently good, but seldom unique. Value assessments depend on whether you consider their other distinctions to add value for you.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by DVMResident » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:51 am

TJ's best deal is their free samples! 8-) Keeps the kids busy vs a melt down.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:43 am

For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:05 am

soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
If someone is getting TJ's products that they want and can't get locally for a price that they are willing to pay why is that a "rip-off?" Don't you think they know that they are paying a premium? Isn't the person providing the service of spending their time and money to pick the product up and to ship it, and Amazon for providing the functionality of their online store due a profit? It's not as if TJ products are essential to anyone's well being or that anyone is forcing the customer to purchase them on Amazon. Similar products can be found found elsewhere, although perhaps a bit more expensively. No one is forced to buy the products on Amazon and they do have the option of traveling to the store themselves, which undoubtedly would cost much more in time and money. The fact is that it's a win-win-win for the seller, Amazon and the customer or it wouldn't happen.
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:16 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
If someone is getting TJ's products that they want and can't get locally for a price that they are willing to pay why is that a "rip-off?" Don't you think they know that they are paying a premium? Isn't the person providing the service of spending their time and money to pick the product up and to ship it, and Amazon for providing the functionality of their online store due a profit? It's not as if TJ products are essential to anyone's well being or that anyone is forcing the customer to purchase them on Amazon. Similar products can be found found elsewhere, although perhaps a bit more expensively. No one is forced to buy the products on Amazon and they do have the option of traveling to the store themselves, which undoubtedly would cost much more in time and money. The fact is that it's a win-win-win for the seller, Amazon and the customer or it wouldn't happen.
Perhaps, but then I find that almost everything Amazon sells, except new books and dollar-store type items, are a ripoff. Their PR is the second- best in the world, next to Apple. You can almost always find equivalent quality for a better price elsewhere.

Ignore the noise.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by SuperGrafx » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:30 am

Trader Joe's is great. As others have noted, it's the unique/eclectic variety of items (and regular introductions of new product) that keep things interesting.
Great value or not, it's fun to shop at Trader Joe's in comparison to Costco (which is boring and has needlessly large portions on most grocery items). I never get the near cult-like following that Costco has, but what do I know.

Anyway, the coffee beans and various frozen items are a great value.
Some things like breads, tofu and hummus are also fairly priced (and of higher quality than what you may find at your local Kroger).

I noticed that all Trader Joes' locations vary in their setup and product offerings as well.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:49 am

soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
I would imagine TJ's biggest concern is if the reseller sells items well past their expiration date or doesn't appropriately store the items so they're no longer as tasty as the ones off the shelf at TJ's. After all, they did sue the people behind Pirate Joe's, who bought from TJ's in the USA, then took the items up to Canada to sell.

Article on Pirate Joe's lawsuit being reinstated: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-t ... story.html

It's pretty much the same thing going on with the resellers on Amazon, except it's a whole lot easier to trace down the owner of a physical store to sue than it is to trace down the owner of a virtual store.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:09 pm

soboggled wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
If someone is getting TJ's products that they want and can't get locally for a price that they are willing to pay why is that a "rip-off?" Don't you think they know that they are paying a premium? Isn't the person providing the service of spending their time and money to pick the product up and to ship it, and Amazon for providing the functionality of their online store due a profit? It's not as if TJ products are essential to anyone's well being or that anyone is forcing the customer to purchase them on Amazon. Similar products can be found found elsewhere, although perhaps a bit more expensively. No one is forced to buy the products on Amazon and they do have the option of traveling to the store themselves, which undoubtedly would cost much more in time and money. The fact is that it's a win-win-win for the seller, Amazon and the customer or it wouldn't happen.
Perhaps, but then I find that almost everything Amazon sells, except new books and dollar-store type items, are a ripoff. Their PR is the second- best in the world, next to Apple. You can almost always find equivalent quality for a better price elsewhere.

Ignore the noise.

What do you mean equivalent products? The last 8-10 times that I started shopping at Amazon, I found the SAME item at the brand's own web store at 10-20% cheaper and usually with free shipping. Why add the extra middleman - Amazon?

Twenty years ago, when traveling to California, I used to carry an extra bag with me to carry food products from Trader Joe's. In most of the items I was bringing back, I found equivalents from other sources - either on the web or from Aldi.

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by aboose » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:42 am

soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
Do you know if the people selling TJ's on amazon are selling it with TJ's permission? For example, could I (a random non TJ's affiliated person) buy a bunch of TJ's peanut butter and flip it on Amazon?

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:06 am

aboose wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
Do you know if the people selling TJ's on amazon are selling it with TJ's permission? For example, could I (a random non TJ's affiliated person) buy a bunch of TJ's peanut butter and flip it on Amazon?
As far as I know TJ does not object, people do it all the time. I suspect they don't have a problem with it because they don't sell online themselves, the resellers pay retail price and TJ's would not be liable for any problems with product. Amazon itself has some restrictions on what food you can sell and you have to qualify to sell food, not sure what hoops you need to jump through.
Video from one seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6NFss2EnAE

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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:23 am

jlawrence01 wrote:
soboggled wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
If someone is getting TJ's products that they want and can't get locally for a price that they are willing to pay why is that a "rip-off?" Don't you think they know that they are paying a premium? Isn't the person providing the service of spending their time and money to pick the product up and to ship it, and Amazon for providing the functionality of their online store due a profit? It's not as if TJ products are essential to anyone's well being or that anyone is forcing the customer to purchase them on Amazon. Similar products can be found found elsewhere, although perhaps a bit more expensively. No one is forced to buy the products on Amazon and they do have the option of traveling to the store themselves, which undoubtedly would cost much more in time and money. The fact is that it's a win-win-win for the seller, Amazon and the customer or it wouldn't happen.
Perhaps, but then I find that almost everything Amazon sells, except new books and dollar-store type items, are a ripoff. Their PR is the second- best in the world, next to Apple. You can almost always find equivalent quality for a better price elsewhere.

Ignore the noise.

What do you mean equivalent products? The last 8-10 times that I started shopping at Amazon, I found the SAME item at the brand's own web store at 10-20% cheaper and usually with free shipping. Why add the extra middleman - Amazon?

Twenty years ago, when traveling to California, I used to carry an extra bag with me to carry food products from Trader Joe's. In most of the items I was bringing back, I found equivalents from other sources - either on the web or from Aldi.
That's what I meant about Amazon - go to the brand web store if possible. Also, you do not have to deal with sometimes sketchy resellers.

aboose
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:54 am

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by aboose » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:26 am

soboggled wrote:As far as I know TJ does not object, people do it all the time. I suspect they don't have a problem with it because they don't sell online themselves, the resellers pay retail price and TJ's would not be liable for any problems with product. Amazon itself has some restrictions on what food you can sell and you have to qualify to sell food, not sure what hoops you need to jump through.
Video from one seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6NFss2EnAE

Fantastic, thanks for the reply and the reference video. :sharebeer

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:44 am

soboggled wrote:
aboose wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
Do you know if the people selling TJ's on amazon are selling it with TJ's permission? For example, could I (a random non TJ's affiliated person) buy a bunch of TJ's peanut butter and flip it on Amazon?
As far as I know TJ does not object, people do it all the time. I suspect they don't have a problem with it because they don't sell online themselves, the resellers pay retail price and TJ's would not be liable for any problems with product. Amazon itself has some restrictions on what food you can sell and you have to qualify to sell food, not sure what hoops you need to jump through.
Video from one seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6NFss2EnAE
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me repeat myself from upthread:
Mudpuppy wrote:I would imagine TJ's biggest concern is if the reseller sells items well past their expiration date or doesn't appropriately store the items so they're no longer as tasty as the ones off the shelf at TJ's. After all, they did sue the people behind Pirate Joe's, who bought from TJ's in the USA, then took the items up to Canada to sell.

Article on Pirate Joe's lawsuit being reinstated: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-t ... story.html

It's pretty much the same thing going on with the resellers on Amazon, except it's a whole lot easier to trace down the owner of a physical store to sue than it is to trace down the owner of a virtual store.
Don't confuse "existence" with "acceptance". The stores may exist because Amazon doesn't give a hoot and TJ's is playing a game of whack-a-mole.

Angst
Posts: 2068
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:31 am

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Angst » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:30 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:I continue to be bothered that they have no Express lanes. The bell system is not a substitute.
Ours added one recently, and I use it! Perhaps there's hope for you.

My frequent purchases include:
tofu
yogurt
almonds, walnuts
cheeses - great values with certain brie/blue cheeses
cold water crackers
sprouted bread
various frozen fish
generic TJ wine

they no longer sell the veggie burgers I liked, i.e. the ones that actually taste a bit like a hamburger

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Mudpuppy » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:49 pm

Angst wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:I continue to be bothered that they have no Express lanes. The bell system is not a substitute.
Ours added one recently, and I use it! Perhaps there's hope for you.
Ours has an express lane too, but it's rarely open. And amusing, the sign says something like "15 items, more or less".

But usually there's someone up front in a half a minute when the bells are rung, since the store is so small. I've rarely had to wait long.

soboggled
Posts: 901
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:26 am

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by soboggled » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:11 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
soboggled wrote:
aboose wrote:
soboggled wrote:For those of you without a TJ's, you can buy their stuff on Amazon. They do not sell directly on-line but there are several third party merchants who do.
Unfortunately, you will pay at least double what you would pay in the store, so it is a ripoff.
I am sure the merchants could not get away with it if TJ or Amazon objected. An interesting business model: Use TJ stores as your warehouse! It's a win-win-win for seller, Amazon and TJ since the only way you can get a TJ item is to buy it off their store shelves: The seller gets a 100%+ markup, Amazon gets its cut (15%+), and TJ makes sales.
Do you know if the people selling TJ's on amazon are selling it with TJ's permission? For example, could I (a random non TJ's affiliated person) buy a bunch of TJ's peanut butter and flip it on Amazon?
As far as I know TJ does not object, people do it all the time. I suspect they don't have a problem with it because they don't sell online themselves, the resellers pay retail price and TJ's would not be liable for any problems with product. Amazon itself has some restrictions on what food you can sell and you have to qualify to sell food, not sure what hoops you need to jump through.
Video from one seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6NFss2EnAE
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me repeat myself from upthread:
Mudpuppy wrote:I would imagine TJ's biggest concern is if the reseller sells items well past their expiration date or doesn't appropriately store the items so they're no longer as tasty as the ones off the shelf at TJ's. After all, they did sue the people behind Pirate Joe's, who bought from TJ's in the USA, then took the items up to Canada to sell.

Article on Pirate Joe's lawsuit being reinstated: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-t ... story.html

It's pretty much the same thing going on with the resellers on Amazon, except it's a whole lot easier to trace down the owner of a physical store to sue than it is to trace down the owner of a virtual store.
Don't confuse "existence" with "acceptance". The stores may exist because Amazon doesn't give a hoot and TJ's is playing a game of whack-a-mole.
TJ's problem with Pirate Joe is trademarks, not reselling their product (retail arbitrage). I doubt TJ cares about Amazon - they make retail sales they would otherwise not make as they have no on-line presence. If they objected they could notify Amazon and sellers, other manufacturers do it all the time and Amazon suspends the sellers, but I have never heard of that happening with TJ.
But this may be changing. I understand that Amazon recently announced an arbitrage policy of requiring wholesaler invoices to be allowed to sell all arbitrage items, i.e., those bought in a store. Their problem is QA of products sold as new or out of date, which reflects on their reputation. My understanding is that previously they accepted store receipts. But Amazon has a lot of gray areas and they don't always enforce their official policies unless the manufacturer objects - they only enforce the policy as CYA when it becomes convenient.

SitraAchra
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 3:44 pm

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by SitraAchra » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:34 pm

I was waiting for someone to bring up Pirate Joe's - I heard about that last year and found it fascinating.

My favorites:
1. Smooth and Mellow Coffee (my absolute fave) - a poster above noted they buy their coffee at Aldi now. Is there an equivalent to this at Aldi???
2. Frozen Croissants - these are amazing, you leave them out overnight to rise and bake in the morning. Our store recently stopped selling the Queen Croissant variety and now only stock chocolate and almond. Queens were my favorite (the sugar on top, wow!). Glad others agree with me.
3. Greek Yogurt
4. Peanut butter Dog Treats - our lab loves these things
5. Trail mix and dried fruit bags
6. Cereal
7. Cookie Butter - am I the first to mention this one? Please tell me I'm not! Our store imposed a "one jar per family" limit due to its popularity.
8. Chocolate chip scone baking mix - my wife makes these and they are delish.
9. Toasted Coconut Pancake mix

I'm a TJ's nut, so I will prematurely end this list. I agree with other posters that it may not be the best value for certain products but overall the prices are excellent and I like their smaller selection that has already been vetted for my enjoyment.

Independent George
Posts: 487
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:13 pm

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Independent George » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:26 am

The water crackers are the biggest discount I've noticed compared to other grocery stores - $1.99 at TJ versus $3.99 every other place. I stock up every few weeks or so.

protagonist
Posts: 6039
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by protagonist » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:24 am

I love Trader Joe's for many items. I shop there more often than at the local supermarket.

I think nobody has yet mentioned the mango chutney or the soyaki sauce or the fig butter, at least one of which I use almost daily in a sauce or a sandwich spread.

And sure, my homemade guacamole is way better than theirs, but theirs is still better than what you get at many restaurants, and factoring in prep time and clean up, and the low price, I will probably never make my own again.

Oh, and the smoked salmon.

And the orchids. I always have 3 or 4 TJ's orchids in my house. With luck you can sometimes get 6-9 months of bloom before the flowers fall.

All that said, I once made the egregious error of trying to shop at a Trader Joe's in NYC. There had to be a couple of hundred people in the checkout line. Add to that the hassle of carrying the groceries home on the subway....never again.

retire2022
Posts: 951
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:10 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by retire2022 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:40 pm

Op as a follow-up on this thread

Trader Joe's on Freakonomics transcript, which explains what they do how they are successful:

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/trader-joes/

Jeff Albertson
Posts: 724
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:11 pm
Location: Springfield

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:56 pm

My favorite, Trader Joe's Habanero Lime Flour Tortillas (very good with ham & eggs)
Image

also, a good review site: http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/

Trader Joe
Posts: 1269
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:59 pm

LuigiLikesPizza wrote:
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).

I only buy:

1. Trader Joe Beer
2. Trader Joe Humus
3. Trader Joe Yogurt

AerialP
Posts: 204
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:34 pm
Location: Central Kentucky

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by AerialP » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:16 pm

Hilarious that the previous two comment authors were Trader Joe & an Albertson.

Dottie57
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Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:24 pm

Spanish Marcona almonds with Rosemary. Absolutely love them.

High percentage of cocoa chocolate bars. Varying frozen foods.

Wine - some good, some not.

Quirkz
Posts: 226
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by Quirkz » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:51 pm

The nearest one is 4 hours away, but we still stop in any time we're close. There are several things we really like that seem very affordable there:

- jarred cherries - dark, sweet, not luxardo, but very tasty, and extremely inexpensive
- my wife swears by both the diswasher soap and either the liquid dish soap or laundry detergent - can't remember which
- just today I noticed the organic coffee is less than half the price we pay at Kroger

jmk
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:48 pm

Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by jmk » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:53 pm

European style yogurt
Organic Milk
Vegan ice cream
Extra firm tofu
Dark chocolate
Pasta
Capers
Soy milk
Coffee Filters
Cauliflower rice (plain and lunches)
Indian lunches
Nice $4-$5 wines
Cheerios
Bagette
Sprouted style bread
Pumpernickle
Olive Oils
Last edited by jmk on Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

finfire
Posts: 185
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Re: Trader Joe's Fans - good value?

Post by finfire » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:04 pm

Coffee.
Cereal.
Milk.
Eggs.
Frozen meals.

Their branded beers are awful. As are aldi's. Awful.

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