Author Topic: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?  (Read 55635 times)

chardog

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #100 on: September 21, 2013, 07:56:57 AM »
Now we Austinites have Trader Joe's as an option to Austin based Whole Foods and San Antonio based HEB/Central Market.

The beloved cult grocery chain opens its first of three Austin stores.
http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/food/2013-09-20/its-about-bloody-time-austins-first-trader-joes-opens-today/

I probably won't frequent TJ's as they will all be a few miles away from my place.  We have a Texas based chain (HEB) that is my go-to grocery store and close to home.  They have more than 350 stores in Texas and northern Mexico including Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods store which competes with Whole Foods.

RootofGood

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #101 on: September 21, 2013, 08:38:15 AM »
We shop there occasionally and don't feel bad about it.  Nice higher end groceries with generally lower prices (on those items) than the Aldi/Walmart/Food Lion/Kroger we usually shop at.  What we buy when we go every 3-6 months: hummus, naan, edamame, cheeses, wine, beer, capers, marinated artichokes, pesto.  Sure, many of these are "luxuries" but we spend almost nothing on dining out, and these ingredients allow us to cook dishes we enjoy that cost us 20% of what a restaurant charges.  And we can make it more healthy at home.  We spend around $6-7k/yr on a family of 5's groceries, and maybe $100-150/yr at TJs, so it impacts our expenses very little. 

The alternative would be us dropping $30-50+ at a restaurant a few times a month to get a taste of what we like. 

hybrid

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #102 on: September 21, 2013, 07:00:52 PM »
We frequent Trader Joe's only a few times a year (they are on the other side of the city, a full 30 minute drive, and not at all convenient to us) but I like them for a few things they do well.  Like a poster just said, for me and the missus some of the prepared foods are tasty and very reasonably priced and appropriately sized for us.  There are some things I don't think they do well at all, but that's OK.  They don't have to do all things well to get some of my business.  If they were on my side of town I would go there a little more often.  They definitely aren't worth a special trip though. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #103 on: October 13, 2014, 03:31:57 PM »
Resurrecting this thread because I just checked out my TJ for the first time. NOT someplace I can shop with kids on the first few visits.

I am enjoying their tortilla chips quite a bit. Tortilla chips plain, with cheese, or with salsa is a frugal not-terrible snack food I like to keep around. At $0.10/oz it's almost half the price what I normally pay. ALDI has okay chips, but the TJ chips are much better and way less salty.

A co-worker raves about Joe's Dark coffee. I picked up a can but I'm waiting for my new Aeropress to try it out.

gimp

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #104 on: October 13, 2014, 04:49:44 PM »
I like their liquor, not so much their food.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #105 on: October 13, 2014, 05:00:52 PM »
I REALLY don't understandd the hype of Trader Joe's since I live in Canada and they don't have stores here.

Although, there must be some Canadian appetite for the product because there is a store called "Pirate Joe's" in my city which is basically re-sells and marks up Trader Joe's merchandise and sells them to the Canadian customer. Apparently the owner drives down to the states, buys hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Trader Joes stuff and stocks the shelves of his "Pirate Joe's" store.

Trader Joe's tried to sue the guy a while back, but it was tossed out of court. Might have to check out "PJ's" one of these days. I wonder how much they jack up the prices?

Caoineag

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #106 on: October 13, 2014, 05:53:45 PM »
I was sadly disappointed at the one that opened up down the street as I didn't realize everything was prepackaged, including the produce (i.e., no I don't want to buy a weird plastic container of 10 oranges, I prefer to grab my own and a much smaller quantity as well). We do the bulk of our shopping at Sprouts and hit various other stores for their cheaper items throughout the year.

They did have a couple of interesting items and a few cheaper prices but not enough to justify a run there especially since they are so busy that there is no parking unless you go right at opening. We generally grocery shop on our way home from work so I would have to make time on a weekend morning, too much work for maybe 3-5 items.

I think we are spoiled because we appear to have better pricing and selection than a lot of other places so TJ's just wasn't all that unique.

plainjane

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #107 on: October 13, 2014, 06:08:27 PM »
A few times a year, we can find them for $.88, and I buy 2 or 4, but they don't keep, and I've never tried freezing.  Sometimes I'll cave at $.99 if I really want avocados.  I just can't stomach a $1.50 avocado, which was the advertized price in the store a few days ago, 2/$3.
Don't freeze them.  It'll only ruin them.

I love avocados, and have decided that I am willing to work a bit longer to have them covered in the budget.  That being said, one of the guys at my local market makes guacamole and freezes it in plastic bags to keep out the oxygen.  So next time you see a good sale, it might be worth trying. 

And I love visiting TJs when I'm on the west coast USA.  Great cheeses, and fun ideas for meals and snacks to make when I get home.

Beric01

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #108 on: October 13, 2014, 06:29:56 PM »
Trader Joes's isn't cheaper on everything, but it is on a lot of things (bananas for $0.19!), and their quality is excellent. My local Trader Joe's is right by Target, so I just hit both and get the cheapest items across the two stores.

DecD

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #109 on: October 13, 2014, 08:24:11 PM »
When I lived in Los Angeles, I lived half a block from TJs, so naturally I did a lot of shopping there.  Compared to the other grocery stores in my neighborhood, TJs was significantly cheaper across the board. I wasn't impressed by their packaged produce, but otherwise, loved the place.  Small enough to not be overwhelming, good prices, great beer/wine selection, and Joes Os are the breakfast cereal of champions, seriously love them. 

But mostly, for me, I could walk there, and I could get my groceries there much cheaper than Vons.  I'd get staples (sugar, flour, etc) elsewhere, but for most things, it was TJs for me. 

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #110 on: October 13, 2014, 08:58:52 PM »
I love TJ's.  Love love love, and I don't care what y'all think.  :P

My husband introduced me to TJ's kettle corn on our first date - we snuck a bag into a movie theater - and I tell people that's one reason I fell for him.  When they opened one in our current city a couple of years ago, we were just about counting down the days.

We get some basics there because they're cheaper and (imo) tastier than other local grocery stores.  Sometimes I go through sales for other stores, combine with coupons, etc., and yeah, I can get things cheaper that way, but if I don't have the time or don't want the hassle, I don't feel bad shopping at TJ's because their prices are better than non-sale prices anywhere else.

Husband loves their beer & wine.  I'm not much of a drinker, and am pregnant right now anyway, but I do like their wine when I'm in the mood.

Someone above mentioned their ketchup.  They have the best ketchup.  Ever.  It's one of those things where you'd think it's all the same, but it's not, and TJ's organic ketchup is absolutely the best I've had.

We do like the convenience foods.  It's cheaper for us to buy snack food at TJ's than for me to get things at the work cafeteria or Husband to stop at a gas station on his way to work every day, as we tend to do.  I recently discovered their graham crackers, and it's like the ketchup - you think a graham cracker is just a graham cracker, but these are far and away better than any others I've had.  I mentioned the kettle corn.  The frozen meals (OMG their mac & cheese!) and things like Asian noodle boxes are more expensive than making our own from scratch, but we've accepted that we're just not going to cook from scratch all the time, especially for work, and this is less expensive than buying food at work - which, again, we will do otherwise.  It's not perfect, but it's an improvement over our former habits.  We both work 12-hour overnight shifts, and it's worth it to us to pay a little extra for the convenience.

Like someone else mentioned, I appreciate that they're not huge.  I can go in, find what I need easily, and get out.  If I forget something in one aisle, it's not going to take me 5 minutes to make my way back and find it again.

My 8-year-old loves the samples (okay, we ALL love the samples), and the "hidden" stuffed animal to find.  (For those without kids: they take a stuffed animal, different for every location - here it's a seahawk bc that's our local college mascot - and put it in a different place every day.  Kids are supposed to look for it, and then they can tell the customer service desk where they found it and get a prize like a piece of candy or some stickers.  It's fun and keeps him occupied while I'm shopping.)

So yes, shameless TJ's love here, and that's not going to change.  Maybe I'm just a hipster or a sucka or whatever, but they have food I love at reasonable prices.  I'm pretty sure when Baby Tofu arrives (in approx 5 weeks), we're going to be eating a lot more of their frozen meals, bc I won't be cooking and Husband doesn't care to, and this doesn't bother me in the least.

These are the basics we get at TJ's:
- nuts & seeds
- dried fruit
- frozen fruit & veg
- canned tomatoes
- spices
- olive & coconut oils
- bagged salads
- coffee
- yogurt
- almond milk
- steel-cut oats
- frozen chicken breast
- ground beef
- maple syrup
- honey
- baking soda & powder
- whole wheat cinnamon raisin english muffins
- salsa
- other condiments/sauces (the sweet chili sauce is great, also curry simmer sauce, peanut sauce, etc)
- hummus
- tofu

favorite novelty/convenience foods:
- graham crackers
- flavored cream cheese (pumpkin! peanut butter!)
- kettlecorn
- tortilla chips
- single-serve frozen meals (mac & cheese, ethnic dishes)
- Asian noodle boxes
- veggie straws
- chocolate in all forms
- frozen waffles

I also like their flowers.  I like to have a vase of fresh flowers on the table, and their cheapest ones are $2.99, which I don't mind spending for a weekly bouquet.

iris lily

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #111 on: October 13, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
I find both the scorn and the alleged hype baffling.  It's just a mid-price grocery chain with a limited/specialty selection.  What's the big deal, one way or the other?  Does anyone really "worship at the alter" of TJ's?  Sounds a bit hyperbolic to me.

For those up in arms about their prepared foods, what are you comparing them with?  Are you suggesting that there are grocery chains that have better prepared foods?  Or are you suggesting that there are grocery chains that banish prepared foods altogether?   'Cause everywhere I'm familiar with has prepared foods that are no better (usually worse) and no cheaper (usually more expensive) than TJ's.  Why single them out?

Yes, the granola types who can't cook do seem to worship at the alter. And the store has a higher % of processed foods than, say, the international store I frequent.

When TJ's first opened here in town  (it's a 20 minutes drive) I tried to get excited about it. I found a few specialty items that I got jazzed about, but then two of them went out of stock. Then one came back. Then went long time out of stock. I learned that's kinda how it goes there.

I don't go there any more, well, maybe 1X annually.

It's also the only place I have EVER purchased Swiss chocolate I didn't like. I thin they were lying and it wasn't Swiss.

happyfeet

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #112 on: October 13, 2014, 11:08:53 PM »
Not a big fan of TJ. But if you have gluten issues the almond flour is the cheapest out there.

dragoncar

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #113 on: October 14, 2014, 12:03:39 AM »


Nuff said

Pigeon

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #114 on: October 14, 2014, 05:58:35 AM »
Some people like it, some people don't, some are meh.  There's no more worshipping at the TJs altar than there is worshipping at the Costco altar, which seems to be a thing, too.

I'm in the meh category.  They can't sell wine in my state due to ridiculous laws.  If they did, I'd probably shop there more often for wine for DH or company. 

Their parking lot is ridiculous.  It's about 500% too small.  I understand they do this on purpose, but I'll never understand why.  It means I don't shop there very often because I can only get there at times when I would need to spend half an hour waiting to snag a parking space, and my life is too short for that.

Their prices on some things were better than my other grocery stores, which is true of every place I shop.  I don't eat a lot of convenience food, but if I did, that would be the place to get it.  They do have tasty and inexpensive snacks, exactly the kind of thing I should avoid.  Their dried fruit and nuts are great.

I like Aldis very much and find the shopping experience similar, except with better parking.  Small, limited selection, not a lot of name brands, easy to breeze through.  We don't have a Costco, so that's not an alternative for me.

Kansas Beachbum

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #115 on: October 14, 2014, 08:55:17 AM »
Nope...I totally don't get it either.  We have two of them here in metro KC.  Went to one shortly after it opened a few years ago.  Overpriced deli stuff and really, really bad wine.  Haven't been back.

iris lily

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #116 on: October 14, 2014, 09:18:50 AM »
....  Their dried fruit and nuts are great.


Yes, and I developed a taste for dried Michigan sour cherries that I bought at TJ's. Then 2X within 2 years they were out of that product when I went, and I have to go out of my way to go to TJ's. That was a PITA.

So I do think of TJ's for these cherries and nuts as well.

But really, it's all of the packaging that bugs me.

dragoncar

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #117 on: October 14, 2014, 12:01:53 PM »

Their parking lot is ridiculous.  It's about 500% too small.  I understand they do this on purpose, but I'll never understand why. 

I'm guessing because it's ridiculous for our society to dedicate so much space to the storage of cars?  That said, I was always able to find a spot at TJs.  Don't go right after Yoga class lets out mkay?

golden1

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #118 on: October 14, 2014, 12:08:39 PM »
Love Trader Joes.  I started out skeptical, but now I do about 20-30% of my shopping there.  You can't do all your shopping there, and you have to know what to buy and what to avoid and that takes time. 

Produce is hit and miss.  I like their organic pears and the seasonal box of peaches they get sometimes.  While peaches at my supermarket rarely ripen properly (they often go from baseballs to sauce in two days) the trader joes peaches ripen gradually and stay good for a week.  They also get good blueberries in season.  I can get meat cheaper elsewhere so I usually don't buy it there. 

Their toiletries are also a very good deal.  They have cheap oatmeal soap that doesn't dry your skin or smell too perfumey.  They have a great face lotion that costs $7 a bottle and has lasted me over a year. 

They have an excellent variety of coffee at very good prices.  I grind my own beans and use a french press so I buy their coffee quite often.  They also have lots of amazing chips, desserts and crackers for those of us who like to indulge occasionally.  I love their ginger snaps, quinoa and black bean tortilla chips, and sea salt butterscotch caramels. 

They have some short cut preprepared things that are yummy.  I am a fan of their italian meatballs. 

Beric01

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #119 on: October 14, 2014, 12:12:57 PM »

Their parking lot is ridiculous.  It's about 500% too small.  I understand they do this on purpose, but I'll never understand why. 

I'm guessing because it's ridiculous for our society to dedicate so much space to the storage of cars?  That said, I was always able to find a spot at TJs.  Don't go right after Yoga class lets out mkay?

Their bike racks always have room! When I was still driving I would agree it was hard to find parking, but now that I bike I have no problem at all. :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #120 on: October 14, 2014, 12:13:51 PM »

Their parking lot is ridiculous.  It's about 500% too small.  I understand they do this on purpose, but I'll never understand why. 

I'm guessing because it's ridiculous for our society to dedicate so much space to the storage of cars?  That said, I was always able to find a spot at TJs.  Don't go right after Yoga class lets out mkay?

If I go without the kids, I'll just ride my bike and get the best spot of all.

Pigeon

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #121 on: October 14, 2014, 12:20:06 PM »

Their parking lot is ridiculous.  It's about 500% too small.  I understand they do this on purpose, but I'll never understand why. 

I'm guessing because it's ridiculous for our society to dedicate so much space to the storage of cars?  That said, I was always able to find a spot at TJs.  Don't go right after Yoga class lets out mkay?
If I go without the kids, I'll just ride my bike and get the best spot of all.
You'd be taking your life in your hands if you biked to ours, and we have no public transportation worth the name. 

Beric01

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #122 on: October 14, 2014, 12:21:58 PM »
You'd be taking your life in your hands if you biked to ours

Bicycling: The SAFEST Form of Transportation

If you're having trouble getting to the store safely, post a thread and we'll use Google maps and help you plan a safe route. :)

blackomen

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #123 on: October 14, 2014, 12:30:08 PM »
I've lived in Europe briefly and I feel TJ has the feel of many of the small European supermarkets.  Hell, they have quite a selection of European products, namely imported olive oils, cheeses, pasta, etc.  Also, maybe my sensitivity to various unnamed ingredients is unproven but I seem to sense less artificial chemicals and preservatives in the packaged foods from TJs (i.e. canned fish, snacks, etc.) than elsewhere, similar to the packaged foods I bought in Europe.

oldtoyota

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #124 on: October 16, 2014, 08:36:47 PM »
Yeah. Their packaging used to weird me out, but I just stopped buying most produce. Shrink-wrapped zucchini bothers me. For some reason, I don't mind apples in a plastic bag. Call me crazy. =-)

These are the items which I buy there. I have researched and they have the lowest price on the following:

Organic yogurt
bananas
carrots
GF bread
GF flour
rice milk
red lentils
cage free eggs
almonds
walnuts (they taste better than at other groceries)
apples
chicken
beef--only buy this once a month and price is good

They used to have a good price on oatmeal, but that changed. I don't buy it there anymore.



votu

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #125 on: October 16, 2014, 08:48:26 PM »
The only thing I buy from there is Dr. Bonner's soap since they have the best price around.  I tried to pick up some of their packaged snack food, but since they don't disclose the food source I ended up putting them back.  "Dist. and sold exclusively by Trader Joe" doesn't inspire any confidence.  That's the type of wording I often find on products sourced from China.

dragoncar

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #126 on: October 16, 2014, 10:38:35 PM »
Yeah. Their packaging used to weird me out, but I just stopped buying most produce. Shrink-wrapped zucchini bothers me. For some reason, I don't mind apples in a plastic bag. Call me crazy.

Don't most people put their produce in one of those little plastic bags anyways?  Or do you just put it directly in your canvas hippie bags?  Honest question.

vern

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #127 on: October 16, 2014, 11:05:03 PM »
Although, there must be some Canadian appetite for the product because there is a store called "Pirate Joe's" in my city which is basically re-sells and marks up Trader Joe's merchandise and sells them to the Canadian customer. Apparently the owner drives down to the states, buys hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Trader Joes stuff and stocks the shelves of his "Pirate Joe's" store.

Trader Joe's tried to sue the guy a while back, but it was tossed out of court. Might have to check out "PJ's" one of these days. I wonder how much they jack up the prices?

I remember reading an article about that guy a while back.  I'm glad he won his court case!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #128 on: October 17, 2014, 07:00:10 AM »
Yeah. Their packaging used to weird me out, but I just stopped buying most produce. Shrink-wrapped zucchini bothers me. For some reason, I don't mind apples in a plastic bag. Call me crazy.

Don't most people put their produce in one of those little plastic bags anyways?  Or do you just put it directly in your canvas hippie bags?  Honest question.

I never see people complaining about the shrink wrapped produce at ALDI in threads praising that store...

Pigeon

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #129 on: October 17, 2014, 01:44:25 PM »
Aldi's shtick is very low price, not hipsterism.

I don't like shrink wrapped veggies from anywhere.  My Aldi's sells a lot of produce that isn't shrink wrapped, but more than I wish they did.

minimustache1985

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #130 on: October 17, 2014, 02:29:48 PM »
When I lived in California TJs was my go-to, everywhere else was so expensive.  Organic 100% (not 51% like some marketed ones) whole wheat pasta for $1.19?  Yes please.

Then a Sprouts opened.  They are hands down my favorite store for produce, and I have one in my current location as well.

Now TJs is a filler for me to pick up occasional purchases, some of these things are cheaper at Costco but with a 2 person household I don't use enough to buy them there:
100% whole wheat pasta
WINE, both 3 buck chuck and better wine in the $4-$10 range
Fancy cheese (not the sandwich slices, but manchego, goat cheese, etc)
Spinach
Bananas
Vacuum sealed Beets <--- yes this is convenience, those suckers are a PITA
Organic boxed soups (tomato especially)
Udi's products <---- when we have GF house guests coming
Frozen veggies/fruit
Frozen vacuum sealed wild caught fish
"Just a handful" nut products for my briefcase <--- yes I could ziplock package the costco ones myself, but the $/oz is comparable enough for me to just get these

Chocoholic tip, the square containers they package their chocolate wares in are great for storing bulk-bought chocolate in a desk drawer.  Can't remember the last time I bought TJs chocolate, but I use those containers for a long time.  Don't get the chocolate covered almond bits though, I'm 98% sure they have cocaine in them.

As for 3 buck chuck, if you don't care for it try throwing some frozen fruit in it.  I'd never do that to truly good wine, but 2 pieces of frozen mango in charles shaw does a lot for it without going all the way to sangria.

The Architect

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #131 on: October 17, 2014, 03:21:15 PM »
They have *excellent* condiments. So I stock up on those there every few months, but do the rest of the shopping at the bi-monthly Costco and weekly Kroger trips.

carozy

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #132 on: October 19, 2014, 03:50:06 AM »
The only thing I get at TJ's is shampoo and conditioner.  I like the Trader Joe's brand because it has natural ingredients and not tested on animals.  Works fine, lasts long, and pretty cheap.

I use Costco, Bargain Market ($0.99 store), and FoodMax.  I've been impressed with Bargain Market -- blueberries, strawberries, and cauliflower head for $0.99 each, among other things.

10dollarsatatime

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #133 on: October 19, 2014, 11:21:06 AM »
I go to Trader Joe's every couple of months.  For their cookie butter.  And their coconut chips.  That's pretty much it.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #134 on: October 20, 2014, 08:17:23 AM »
I found this article amusing.

http://priceonomics.com/the-man-who-smuggles-traders-joes-into-canada/


Quote
The Man Who Smuggles Trader Joe’s into Canada

Oct. 3, 2014 · 70,104 views

Michael "Pirate Joe" Hallatt and his unmarked white van are Canada's number-one supplier of Trader Joe's items. And, so far, Trader Joe's hasn't been able to stop him.

MoneyCat

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #135 on: October 20, 2014, 09:24:13 AM »
Hipsters love Trader Joe's because it ticks all the right boxes for pretending to be an environmentalist -- including the weird veganism springing up everywhere, which I assume comes from a lifetime of watching Disney movies.  I personally never shop at Trader Joe's unless someone gives me a gift card, because it's overpriced and far out of my way.

MayDay

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #136 on: October 20, 2014, 10:32:33 AM »
I put my produce directly into my reusable shopping bags! Except lettuce.

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #137 on: October 20, 2014, 10:38:25 AM »
As a big fan of Trader Joe's, I feel compelled to speak up in their defense.  While pricing may not be especially cheap, the beauty of TJ's is that they have damn good buyers and staff that are knowledgeable about what they sell.  Thus I'm happy to pay a small premium, because I'm confident that someone with solid culinary taste has already vetted the products.  Additionally, I have no patience for monitoring the constant discounts of the conventional grocery stores - especially the frequent game of marking up the list price beyond reason and then offering a fictitious 20%-off which brings the price back in alignment with reasonable list-price, without any real savings.  Trader Joe's may not be particularly cheap but at least they avoid such pricing shenanigans.

My main complaint with TJ isn't the pricing, it is the fact they don't have a good spicy Mexican-style salsa.  Caribbean salsa just doesn't do for me...   


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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #138 on: October 20, 2014, 10:54:35 AM »
As a big fan of Trader Joe's, I feel compelled to speak up in their defense.  While pricing may not be especially cheap, the beauty of TJ's is that they have damn good buyers and staff that are knowledgeable about what they sell.  Thus I'm happy to pay a small premium, because I'm confident that someone with solid culinary taste has already vetted the products.  Additionally, I have no patience for monitoring the constant discounts of the conventional grocery stores - especially the frequent game of marking up the list price beyond reason and then offering a fictitious 20%-off which brings the price back in alignment with reasonable list-price, without any real savings.  Trader Joe's may not be particularly cheap but at least they avoid such pricing shenanigans.

My main complaint with TJ isn't the pricing, it is the fact they don't have a good spicy Mexican-style salsa.  Caribbean salsa just doesn't do for me...

I love Trader Joes, and we have one within walking distance of our house.  Though, groceries is a generally unmustachian area for myself...

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #139 on: October 21, 2014, 09:20:12 AM »
Loved TJ's when I lived in California, and pined for it for years after moving to Idaho.  Well, they finally opened a store in Boise last fall, and I've been there exactly twice, and spent about $10 total.  I cook almost everything from scratch now, buy many ingredients at CostCo, or the bulk bins at Rosauer's or WinCo, and that leaves precious little that TJs has to offer me, such as the frozen enchiladas or packets of trail mix I used to buy there.  I'm just pretty much over it.  The beer and wine selection and prices didn't seem that great when I was there, either. 

DollarBill

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #140 on: October 24, 2014, 02:43:48 PM »
I was down in Austin visiting my Sister and she took me there for the first time. Not a fan...I couldn't believe the prices and how much processed food they have (I always thought it was a health store). When I mentioned this to my Sister she said "this is where all the rich single people that don't know how to cook shop". I did find it to be a great place to people watch...but then I found out that is all of Austin! It's a strange City...lol.

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #141 on: October 24, 2014, 03:02:51 PM »
I don't get it either.  Other than the 2 Buck Chuck.

+1

I got a fancy wine decanter for Christmas one year and have been serving "outstanding" and "delicious" and "very fruit forward" wines to guests for years now.  I'm a rube so I always spill the beans at some point before the bottle is done ha ha

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #142 on: October 24, 2014, 05:18:04 PM »
I am glad there is not a Trader Joes near me or my wife would go there constantly as she loves Trader Joes. I do not get the hype. Aldi is way better than Trader Joes.

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #143 on: October 24, 2014, 06:04:17 PM »
I always buy a couple of their refrigerated whole wheat pizza doughs and freeze them. They are only $1.19, which I realize is more than making from scratch, but I've never been able to make a whole wheat version that tastes as good. We like our pizza very thin, so I can make a large pizza that will feed my husband and me dinner with a little bit of leftover using one dough.

The pound plus chocolate bars are delicious and reasonably priced. They are great for eating or using in baked goods.

I'm a fan of their breads. For the quality of the bread I think the prices are good.

Ditto on the nuts there. The prices are very reasonable. I saw an article recently that TJs beat out Walmart for pricing on nuts.

I do like the occasional processed treat, and some of their chips and cookies are better than the standard stuff at regular groceries.

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #144 on: October 25, 2014, 07:42:54 AM »
I am always amazed by TJ's prices.  They are always lower than what I would expect to pay.  Whole Foods, on the other hand, always produces bills larger than what I would expect to pay.

Fan of: Salads, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen fish, meat, coffee, bread mixes, sunflower butter (for a peanut free school), cereal, organic milk, box wine and friendly service.  I even bought TJ's bags so I no longer have to figure out what to do with a multitude of their paper bags.

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #145 on: October 25, 2014, 04:57:54 PM »
I recently checked out TJ and was not impressed after all the hype.  Almost everything is less expensive at Costco.  But I'm adding it to my monthly rotation for the following specific products: 

-organic potatoes
-organic yellow onions
-brown rice pasta
-organic marinara sauce
-wine!!! ($4.50-$6 range)
-chocolate bars!!

sunnyca

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #146 on: October 25, 2014, 05:16:33 PM »
I'm a fan of their nuts, nut butters, bagged greens, and cheeses.  They're the only store I've found near me that carries haloumi cheese :)

If I had to pick only one grocery store to shop at it wouldn't be TJ's, but it is part of my regular rotation. 

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #147 on: October 26, 2014, 04:52:03 PM »
I'm a fan, but TJ's isn't on my normal rotation (it's almost 3 miles away so a bit of a drive compared to Aldi/Walmart/local grocery that are walkable or <1.5 miles drive). 

I get $3 wine, cheap fancy beers, $5 champagne, fancy cheeses, hummus, nuts, frozen seafood like scallops, and maybe a few other things. 

Produce seems overpriced as does their fresh meats and dairy.  I'll have to try their Joe Dark roast as recommended by others in the thread if it's competitively priced. 

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #148 on: October 27, 2014, 09:07:14 AM »
This thread prompted me to check out our local Trader Joe's this weekend and I used this list:

http://www.foodbeast.com/2014/05/07/trader-joes-most-popular-items/

Some thoughts:

1. Generally, if you need to add a little froufrou to your meals for a special occasion, this is the place to pick up a specialty item.  In my former, spendy, life, I used to frequent gourmet groceries for stuff like TJ's sells.  A $10 splurge on a special occasion is going to stretch a lot further at Trader Joe's.

2. Cookie butter is just gross.  I don't understand it in my brain. I'll pass and you can have the rest of my jar. :-)

3. Charles Shaw wines are an exceptional value if you don't want to commit to a big box o'wine or like a little variety.  They just released their Charles Shaw 2014 beaujolais nouveau a full month before the French would dare to (3rd week in November).  Incidentally, this wine pairs amazingly with turkey dinners.

4. The one pound chocolate bars for $5 are going to make spectacular Christmas gifts.  The dark chocolate is very well made with good bitter cocoa flavor.

5. Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip - I hope it freezes well because I intend to have this on hand for every office potluck and neighborhood barbecue for the next decade.  I will also lie and say I made it from scratch - I have no scruples. :-)

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #149 on: October 27, 2014, 10:15:23 AM »

2. Cookie butter is just gross.  I don't understand it in my brain. I'll pass and you can have the rest of my jar. :-)


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