Author Topic: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?  (Read 55645 times)

MrFancypants

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #150 on: October 27, 2014, 10:22:05 AM »
I'm sure it has already been said, but...

Like every other store, it all depends on what you buy.  An example, there's a certain kind of lotion (body butter) my wife likes to use.  I think it costs about $10 a jar.  To get the same quality product elsewhere you're spending $40 or $50.

Not only that, but my wife enjoys cooking as a hobby, and being somebody who enjoys eating tasty foods I like to encourage that hobby.  So if this means spending some extra at Trader Joe's on specialty items, I'm totally okay with it.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #151 on: October 27, 2014, 10:24:00 AM »
TJ's is a bit out of my way, so I only make the trip when we're out of wine.  Last week I was in a hurry so I only bought wine.  3 boxes of shiraz and 3 bottles of 3 buck chuck cab was about $48.  The cashier asked what's the occasion.  He seemed to backtrack when my answer was "we were out of wine." :)

Thanks to this thread I'll be looking to price compare almonds, peanut butter, coffee, and marinara.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 08:53:14 AM by MooseOutFront »

OSUBearCub

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #152 on: October 27, 2014, 11:58:57 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. :-)


We need to get this man to a neuroscientist!  By figuring out what broke in your genetic code, we can solve America's obesity epidemic!

I just don't understand it.  It's the same as Biscoff Spread (http://www.biscoff.com/indulge/biscoff-spread) and I would put money on them as the manufacturer of Trader Joe's house brand.  Biscoff cookies are addictive and my favorite part of every Delta Airlines flight.  But I want to meet the deranged man who looked at a pile of cookie dust and crumbs at the Biscoff factory and said "why don't we crush up our delicious cookies and mix them with oil into a spreadable cookie paste?"  :-)

4alpacas

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #153 on: October 27, 2014, 12:11:32 PM »
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. :-)
I agree!!!  Especially about the cookie butter!  It's so gross!

I go to Trader Joe's every few months.  Usually I go before we have house guests.  I pick up a few fancy cheeses, prosciutto, and the chocolate croissants.  A meal of cheese, prosciutto, and wine keeps us from going out at least one night while the visitors are in town (we have an excellent wine selection).  The chocolate croissants provide a decadent breakfast with no effort (toss them on a cookie sheet before bed to rise).  We also bought some of the almond croissants when our last guests were in town. 

For our basic grocery shopping, we stick to one store.  Trader Joe's is a way for us to get fancy food for a reasonable price.  And two buck chuck.  We keep bottles of it for cooking and sangria. 

sobezen

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #154 on: October 27, 2014, 01:59:50 PM »
Confused by the popularity here in California but I feel the same way about Whole Foods. I prefer local ethnic markets, Ranch 99, Sprouts and Costco. :)

mlipps

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #155 on: October 27, 2014, 06:53:22 PM »

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. :-)


We need to get this man to a neuroscientist!  By figuring out what broke in your genetic code, we can solve America's obesity epidemic!

I just don't understand it.  It's the same as Biscoff Spread (http://www.biscoff.com/indulge/biscoff-spread) and I would put money on them as the manufacturer of Trader Joe's house brand.  Biscoff cookies are addictive and my favorite part of every Delta Airlines flight.  But I want to meet the deranged man who looked at a pile of cookie dust and crumbs at the Biscoff factory and said "why don't we crush up our delicious cookies and mix them with oil into a spreadable cookie paste?"  :-)

I agree that the butter alone is a little weird. But the cookie butter ice cream is addicting!

frugalecon

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #156 on: October 27, 2014, 07:15:10 PM »
TJs is in my rotation, but primarily for: coffee, nuts, dried fruit (esp. tart cherries), chips (esp. black bean quinoa corn chips), salsa, pasta, frozen green beans, emergency black bean and corn enchiladas, and chocolate. Not much else, though I do try the odd new thing.

I do a fair amount of shopping at Whole Foods, mainly because their produce is good and it is possible to buy non-factory farmed meat there. We don't eat much meat, and for ethical reasons I try to favor humanely raised stuff. Wish I could find a good meat CSA. Plus, the WFM private label stuff is a pretty good deal. Oh, and the store is only 3 blocks away from the house.

fa

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #157 on: October 27, 2014, 07:54:32 PM »
We went to TJ a couple of times.  Every time was kind of a disappointment.  Very limited selection and the prices were not great.  All in all, there are better organic grocery chains in our area and of course there is always Costco.  I just don't see a need for TJ.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #158 on: October 27, 2014, 08:22:31 PM »
I'm a fan of TJ's for what it is. Cheap sub par produce, well-curated specialty items, and bargain wine (that happens to agree with my taste buds). If you're expecting more, I guess it's bound to disappoint. Have seen this discussion on multiple blogs though. It's just a different strokes for different folks thing.

RootofGood

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #159 on: October 28, 2014, 05:03:33 PM »
TJ's is a bit out of my way, so I only make the trip when we're out of wine.  Last week I was in a hurry so I only bought wine.  3 boxes of shiraz and 3 bottles of 3 buck chuck cab was about $48.  The cashier asked what's the occasion.  He seemed to backtrack when my answer was "we were out of wine." :)


+1  "Oh, cool, you're having a party!" the TJ cashier says.  To which I respond, "Yep". Every day is a party in my life.  :)  And paying $3 for some delicious wine only makes it more awesome.

1967mama

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #160 on: October 28, 2014, 05:38:52 PM »
I wouldn't shop at TJ's because its a 25 minute drive for me. But when I'm in the area for Costco, its a nice place to stop in for some fun foods instead of eating out. We liked the cheeses and yes, the Cookie Butter.

dragoncar

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #161 on: October 28, 2014, 07:36:15 PM »
TJ's is a bit out of my way, so I only make the trip when we're out of wine.  Last week I was in a hurry so I only bought wine.  3 boxes of shiraz and 3 bottles of 3 buck chuck cab was about $48.  The cashier asked what's the occasion.  He seemed to backtrack when my answer was "we were out of wine." :)


+1  "Oh, cool, you're having a party!" the TJ cashier says.  To which I respond, "Yep". Every day is a party in my life.  :)  And paying $3 for some delicious wine only makes it more awesome.

This is crazy.  Happened to me the other day with like 3 measly bottles.  Ok he didn't say the word " party," but he acted like people don't regularly buy multiple bottles.

RootofGood

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #162 on: October 29, 2014, 12:29:30 PM »
TJ's is a bit out of my way, so I only make the trip when we're out of wine.  Last week I was in a hurry so I only bought wine.  3 boxes of shiraz and 3 bottles of 3 buck chuck cab was about $48.  The cashier asked what's the occasion.  He seemed to backtrack when my answer was "we were out of wine." :)


+1  "Oh, cool, you're having a party!" the TJ cashier says.  To which I respond, "Yep". Every day is a party in my life.  :)  And paying $3 for some delicious wine only makes it more awesome.

This is crazy.  Happened to me the other day with like 3 measly bottles.  Ok he didn't say the word " party," but he acted like people don't regularly buy multiple bottles.

I know.  It's TJ's.  I've had the same thing happen at the grocery store when I was buying a case of light beer and a 12 pack of some fancy beer and a couple of other regular food items.  Nothing fancy.  "Oh, having a big party for the game this weekend?".  No, just restocking my pantry for the next few months of occasional beer drinking by buying in somewhat bulk quantities.  I usually lie and just agree that yes, I am in fact hosting a party.  Makes it easier. 

Maybe it's being in a lower income area where buying a case of beer or case of wine is an investment not lightly made by most folks.  Why put yourself out of $13 for a case of 24 beers when you can spend $5.99 each week on a six pack instead? #mathchallenged  :)

galliver

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #163 on: October 29, 2014, 01:56:09 PM »
TJ's is a bit out of my way, so I only make the trip when we're out of wine.  Last week I was in a hurry so I only bought wine.  3 boxes of shiraz and 3 bottles of 3 buck chuck cab was about $48.  The cashier asked what's the occasion.  He seemed to backtrack when my answer was "we were out of wine." :)


+1  "Oh, cool, you're having a party!" the TJ cashier says.  To which I respond, "Yep". Every day is a party in my life.  :)  And paying $3 for some delicious wine only makes it more awesome.

This is crazy.  Happened to me the other day with like 3 measly bottles.  Ok he didn't say the word " party," but he acted like people don't regularly buy multiple bottles.

I know.  It's TJ's.  I've had the same thing happen at the grocery store when I was buying a case of light beer and a 12 pack of some fancy beer and a couple of other regular food items.  Nothing fancy.  "Oh, having a big party for the game this weekend?".  No, just restocking my pantry for the next few months of occasional beer drinking by buying in somewhat bulk quantities.  I usually lie and just agree that yes, I am in fact hosting a party.  Makes it easier. 

Maybe it's being in a lower income area where buying a case of beer or case of wine is an investment not lightly made by most folks.  Why put yourself out of $13 for a case of 24 beers when you can spend $5.99 each week on a six pack instead? #mathchallenged  :)

It's like this in reverse:
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 02:00:01 PM by galliver »

galliver

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #164 on: October 29, 2014, 02:25:21 PM »
Things we consider TJ good for now/here (SoCal) include uncured bacon ends (bits&pieces?), cherry tomatoes, our giant basil plant/potted herbs/potted plants generally, frozen desserts, cheese, good bread, and chocolate. And of course wine.

Growing up I remember getting the sense that TJ's was a place for a more "European" shopping experience. Basically, if your list of "bread, cheese, chocolate" are satisfied by "Wonderbread," cheddar, and Hershey's, it's understandable how you wouldn't see the point. My parents went there for things that are unpopular in the US or for things that didn't taste right in the US "standard versions" if you will: cheese, cured meat (salami, etc), crackers, chocolate, mineral water, desserts/treats. Sometimes we got bread or pre-marinated meat as a treat, and I think the price (or perhaps quality) of milk, eggs, canned goods (esp salmon), nuts, and of course wine was comparable/better than traditional grocery stores. We hardly/never got produce, cereals, frozen meals, juice, chips/snacks there.

So I guess my point is: the prices may not be great in general, but on many products the quality/price is fantastic (i.e. same quality elsewhere would be MUCH pricier). It's a matter of taste/choice/preference if that quality (or specialty) in any given product is worthwhile.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #165 on: November 03, 2014, 05:18:59 PM »
The whole wheat spaghetti is quite good. Much better than any of the supermarket brands I've tried.

Penny Lane

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #166 on: November 03, 2014, 05:53:38 PM »
The nearest Costco is 2 states away so I've never been. I hit the TJ's ( only one in the state) about once a month for nuts, the 17 oz dark chocolate almond bars, frozen baby peas, canned artichoke hearts, etc.  I don't get cheese there as it seems to mold quickly.

Little Nell

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #167 on: November 04, 2014, 09:07:09 PM »
We go for pasta, olive oil, nuts and dried fruits, cheap cheeses, Cliff bars in bulk, the large bars of chocolate (the dark is great for covering candies), choc. chips, and wine. We go every six weeks or so, and the bill is huge. But most of this stuff costs much more elsewhere.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #168 on: December 04, 2014, 05:36:42 PM »
I really like the tortilla chips and the 'salsa autentica'.

The whole wheat spaghetti is some of the best pasta I've ever tried.

We've been doing cheese, wine, and smoked salmon date nights. Huge fans of the smoked salmon and Unexpected Cheddar, which I believe are regular items. This month we tried the French Truffle Chevre. ZOMG. Don't calculate the price per pound, it's ridiculous (okay, facepunch, it works out to $16/lb) but so delicious. Definitely worth $4 for the small 4oz log package they sell it in for a special dinner.

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #169 on: December 04, 2014, 06:22:45 PM »
Huge selection of packaged goods. The bell peppers that were selling for a crazy deal the other day were the smallest peppers I had ever seen (priced per pepper). Their bananas are always .19 but that is per banana. No other grocery store I've shopped at sells bananas per banana. Just felt like tricky pricing to me. "Organic" cookies are still cookies and are still processed. Same goes with all of their TJ brand frozen meals. I think people think anything with the name Trader Joes on it is healthy.

I don't get it.

I'm vegan and I don't get the hype either. Same pricing as Whole Foods without the same selection of fruits and veggies. It's like a Trendy Expensive Aldi's.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #170 on: December 05, 2014, 11:09:44 AM »
Thai Lime Almonds = legit.  Thanks for people mentioned that I should check the nut aisle.

Helvegen

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #171 on: December 05, 2014, 11:47:34 AM »
I was not impressed either by it. I do 95% of all of my grocery shopping at Costco and Winco.

MandalayVA

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #172 on: December 05, 2014, 12:09:30 PM »
The nearest one to me is a twenty minute drive and I don't get it either.  True, what little I've gotten from there is good, true, but the aisles are laid out diagonally (?) and it's always packed.  And I ALWAYS have some kid ramming a cart into my Achilles.  Whole Foods is out that way too but one's being built about three miles from me, so I'll just wait for that. 

ruthiegirl

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #173 on: December 05, 2014, 02:07:28 PM »
The Trader Joe's by me has excellent, HUGE avocados.  They also sell mint tea that I like and they have free coffee in those little cups. 

Not much else.  I was excited to move close to a TJ's, but the shine has worn off.  It seems expensive for snack-y stuff that we don't really need and I am always pissed by the incredible amount of packaging.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #174 on: December 05, 2014, 02:21:21 PM »
Close by and small - ie in and out in minutes + free coffee. We have all the stores within 2 mins drive - I hate Wegmans, far to big and pain in the ass to find anything

notquitefrugal

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #175 on: December 06, 2014, 09:07:14 AM »
The frozen spinach and kale bites are outstanding. I could eat a whole package of those (or more!) as a meal.

MrFancypants

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #176 on: December 06, 2014, 11:04:39 AM »
Another thing to consider with Trader Joe's, they have a "no questions asked" return policy.

If you buy a box of cookies, eat one, and decide that it's the most awful thing you've ever taken....  bring it back and get your money.

Like people are saying, not everything there is a good deal, but I can't think of a single store where that's true (Dollar Tree?).  But Trader Joe's is definitely a good place to go for certain items.

blub

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #177 on: December 06, 2014, 01:35:27 PM »
Are there any better deals on wine than at Trader Joe's (here in Dallas, it's $3 per 750ml bottle)? I haven't found any, but I'd love to.

notquitefrugal

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #178 on: December 06, 2014, 03:20:31 PM »
I've probably said this before, but TJ's boxed wine is quite good. Here, it's around $10 for 3 liters, which is about the same price as Franzia (or maybe even a little less), but TJ's tastes better than Franzia. If you buy a case of bottled or boxed wine, they will give you a discount.

1967mama

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #179 on: December 06, 2014, 03:40:18 PM »
I made myself a list of the "favourites" from these 4 pages of comments and thought I'd post it here in case anyone else might find it useful. I plan on taking the list with me next time I go to Trader Joe's. I've only been once and was a little overwhelmed by all of the choices! (NO! I won't be buying everything on this list! haha)


-frozen spinach and kale bites
-huge avocados
-mint tea
-lime almonds
-tortilla chips
-salsa autentica
-whole wheat spaghetti
-olive oil
-dried fruit (esp. tart cherries)
-cheap cheese
Cliff bars in bulk
-large bars of chocolate
-chocolate chips
-17 oz dark chocolate almond bars
-frozen baby peas
-canned artichoke hearts
-uncured bacon ends
-cherry tomatoes
-potted herbs (esp. basil)
-frozen desserts
-good bread
-cured meat (salami, prosciutto,etc)
-crackers
-mineral water
-cookie butter
-chips (esp. black bean quinoa corn chips)
-black bean and corn enchiladas
-cookie butter ice cream
-chocolate croissants
-Charles Shaw wines
-Charles Shaw 2014 beaujolais nouveau
-spinach and kale greek yogurt dip
-one pound chocolate bars for $5
-shiraz
-body butter
-cheap fancy beers
-$5 champagne
-hummus
-frozen seafood like scallops
-naan
-edamame
-capers
-pesto
-bananas
-Joes 0's
-kettle corn
-craft beer
-ketchup
-graham crackers
-frozen meals (esp. mac and cheese)
-Asian noodle boxes
-spices
-flavored cream cheese (pumpkin! peanut butter!)
-fresh flowers
-oatmeal soap
-face lotion
-ginger snaps
-sea salt butterscotch caramels
-italian meatballs
-walnuts
-coconut chips
-shampoo and conditioner
-whole wheat pizza dough
-cookies
-sunflower butter
-lemon pepper in grinder jar
-parmesan/romano mix
-sundried tomatoes in a vacuum pack (dry, not packed in oil)
-haloumi cheese
-honey
-coconut milk
-seaweed snacks
-cereals
-sliced sourdough rounds
-frozen green beans
-mahi mahi burgers
-frozen berries
-frozen broccoli
-Scharffen Berger chocolate
-crumpets
-multigrain pancake mix
-cottage cheese
-tofurky
-tempeh
-soy milk
-Stilton cheese