Trader Joe’s Is Great But Their Lack Of Name Brand Products Is Downright Appalling
A trip to Trader Joe’s is always time well spent. Everytime I go to check out at a TJ’s - whether it’s in Chicago, NYC, Phoenix, Austin, etc. - I’m greeted by a chipper worker that seems genuinely happy to be there.
Conversation with TJ’s employees is easy and free flowing, and sometimes they’ll even comment on the things I’ve chosen to buy for myself. The dark chocolate covered pretzels usually get me a “Nice choice” as well as the frozen mongolian beef. Both are must have items when I’m visiting a nearby TJ’s location. Free parking is a staple there are always beautiful people walking the aisles, filling their carts with everything from Organic Mango Acai Juice to TJ’s brand toilet paper.
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for whatever is currently cooking as a free sample in the back corner of TJ’s. If it’s being set out as a sampler, there’s like a 75% chance that I’m going to buy a bag of whatever it is to take home with me.
I love that one can buy fresh flowers and beautiful bouquets for a reasonable price, and their wine selection is a revelation. Everything from rieslings to cabernet sauvignon is well represented, and again, the prices are tough to beat.
The problem with TJ’s is that I’m a slave to brand names, okay? TJ’s has their own brands. It’s certainly noble, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with making knock offs of everything. I love brands. That’s just the way I am. I love them because I’ve been conditioned to do so through a combination of television commercials, radio spots, and parents who for the most part, did not buy generic alternatives.
Nothing grinded my gears as a child quite like sleeping over at a friends place and having to eat off-brand cereal or soda. No, I don’t want a fucking Sam’s Choice Mountain Lightning. I want a goddamn Mountain Dew, and if you try and serve me a bowl of Marshmallow Magic instead of Lucky Charms I’m going to vomit everywhere.
TJ’s holds a special place close to my heart, and I’m not here to bash them. I love most everything about that grocery store, and I’ll shop there until the end of my days because there isn’t another grocer on planet earth that makes those delicious dark chocolate covered pretzels that I love to throw in the freezer and eat in the span of a few hours after arriving home.
But sometimes a guy just wants to buy some Cheetos and a 6-pack of lemon-lime Gatorade, you know? The TJ’s equivalent to that is “Baked Cheese Crunchies” and fucking Strawberry Kiwi Juice. Like, yeah that’s good shit but it’s not Cheetos and LL Gatorade, you know?
There are times when I just need Cheez-Its, Cafe Bustelo, Swiffer wet jet pads, and Colgate toothpaste.
The point I’m trying to make here is that there are just certain things at TJ’s that one cannot buy. The snack selection at TJ’s is phenomenal. Nothing gets my dick hard like a bag of TJ’s “Just Mango Slices” or some roasted plantain chips, okay? I love that store to death, but the fact that I can’t buy brand name stuff there makes it a place that I only go to every so often.
It’s not Meijer, Jewel-Osco, H-E-B, or Publix. It’s Trader Joe’s, and for specialty items it’s perfectly fine but I’ll never understand folks who exclusively shop there. It’ll never be a one stop shopping experience at TJ’s and that’s fine. But I need my Cheetos and Gatorade like I need air to breathe.