Author Topic: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?  (Read 55655 times)

tag

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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.

jrhampt

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 06:24:40 PM »
Finally, I am not alone!  Yes, I have no idea why people love Trader Joe's and claim it is cheap.  It really isn't.  Maybe compared to Whole Paycheck, it is, but certainly not compared to anything else.

Eric

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 06:32:36 PM »
I don't get it either.  Other than the 2 Buck Chuck.

tag

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 06:36:21 PM »
Somebody there did a great job building their reputation.

footenote

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 06:38:09 PM »
Ridiculous pricing exceeded only by Whole Paycheck. You are not alone.

innkeeper77

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 06:45:25 PM »
The trader joes I have been to (in Chicago) had some good deals on meat- only slightly more expensive per pound than walmart, jewel, etc, but far nicer tasting, and organic. However, most of the packaged crap is extremely expensive, and I have never bought any.

dragoncar

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 07:55:39 PM »
Trader joes is great for certain items.  Alcohol, grass fed beef, frozen veggies, frozen berries, and fancier cheese in my case.  Other people live it for the tasty, reasonably priced prepackaged food and snacks (I don't get those).

The frozen broccoli is about the same price as Safeway, but higher quality.  They tend to have more specialty foods cheap.  Coconut oil and California olive oil for example. 

Are you guys in California?  I think we tend to get the best deals here.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 08:03:53 PM »
I buy ingredients as opposed to processed food. TJs may have organic stuff, but a lot of it is processed.  There are great farms near where I live and a long growing season so in general I find grocery store produce to be less than desirable.

Every once in a while I stop at Trader Joe's for nuts.  That is about it for me.

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 08:26:07 PM »
I don't get it either. A lot of processed stuff in pretty packages and the bells get on my nerves. I can get basic staples for much less elsewhere without the crowds. I go to TJ's mainly because they have the best price on Weetabix cereal and for some of the wines featured in their Fearless Flyers.

Jamesqf

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 10:03:28 PM »
The thing I like about Trader Joe's is that I can get stuff there that I seldom if ever see anywhere else, as for instance their cherry cider (which I love).  But I wouldn't buy my ordinary groceries there.

jamccain

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 10:34:31 PM »
I love to hate them because I have TWO within a mile of me here in LA and I can't go to either because of the points mentioned.

Christof

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 10:37:11 PM »
ALDI has 50 years experience in painting an image of high quality offerings for a really low price. Kind of a Robin Hood image even though the two owners are the richest persons in Germany and are not known for donating anything to charity (TBH, they might just not talk about it).

binkley

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 10:44:55 PM »
TJ's has just been part of the background the entire time I've lived in California.  They have a limited selection of good quality products, at mostly good prices - certainly cheaper than Whole Foods, competitive with Safeway (and better quality), but not as cheap as Costco. I get lunch meat, dairy products and snacks there, occasionally beer and wine.  Are they hyped as something more special in other parts of the country?

zinnie

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 11:24:37 PM »
Their produce is generally a rip off. So is prepackaged food, but when is that ever not?

We have staples we always get there because they beat our grocery store. Big tubs of hummus, good marinara sauce for the same price as a can of crushed tomatoes, sprouted bread, canned corn, nuts and raisins, butter, big jugs of olive oil, wine, crackers, whole milk mozzarella, dark chocolate. I'm sure there is more I'm forgetting...

Their quality has gone down over the years, I've noticed, but they still have some good deals. For lazy nights, we keep a tray of their roasted veggie lasagna in the freezer. $5.50 and it feeds my husband and I dinner two nights in a row and one lunch of leftovers.

Bigote

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 02:29:03 AM »
I'm a fan, but for select items.   And pricing I suppose is relative, here in NYC they are much cheaper than most other options.

Produce - hit or miss.  A couple things I like there are the leeks (very uniform length of the yummy white part) and the haricot vert, which are good and inexpensive.  I also buy their bananas.  But that's about it unless I'm just being lazy - we have a fabulous geen grocer who is generally higher quality and has good prices.

Bread - I like one of their breads and we eat it every day.  Their ciabatta rolls are good and I usually keep a supply of them in the freezer.

Dairy - the real reason to go there.  Organic milk much cheaper than I can find anywhere else in the neighborhood.  Eggs are also less expensive.

Meats, fish - not so much.  We have a fabulous butcher and fish monger close by.






ScienceRules

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2013, 03:14:14 AM »
To be contrary... I like TJ's. I think it can be really great for some things and certain situations. Growing up, my parents didn't really cook and I'd get home super late from swim practice. TJ's prepackaged food gave me an okay dinner option that wasn't very expensive. Their turkey chili or corn chowder would last me two meals and they are only $2 and 3.29(?) each. When I got a little older (haha, 21) TJ's was great during my first year of marriage. My husband and I can share a frozen orange chicken for a dinner and lunch. It was a great way to save time and to figure out things we both like (I didn't like Sichuan food, and my husband doesn't like bread, cheese, or pasta). Now that I actually learned to cook (at 23) I don't rely on TJ's very much, but it's still nice to have the option of healthier, not expensive prepackaged food when I'm super rushed (ie, finals week). 

NumberCruncher

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2013, 06:57:42 AM »
We rarely shop there, but when we do, we often get some of the prepackaged food for those nights we get home really late and just want to heat something up on the stove quick - like the vegetable biryani and other foods you normally don't see at grocery stores. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's better and lower priced than other comparable things we could get at the cheaper grocery stores around here (and takes away lure of eating out). We need to work on meal planning a little more so we do this less...but until then Trader Joe's will be our once every couple months grocery shopping treat!

mushroom

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2013, 07:11:19 AM »
Most of their stuff is pretty pricy, but there are a few items here and there I like to buy that are not too bad compared to elsewhere in Chicago: olive oil, soy milk, cage-free eggs, canned garbanzo beans, almonds (cheaper than Aldi). Oh, and the soy chorizo for $2 a pound is a great deal and tasty, too - I've never seen a prepackaged meat substitute sold that cheaply before. I usually make my own seitan, veggie dogs and burgers, etc. but TJ's soy chorizo is probably cheaper to buy than it is to make those things.

SnackDog

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2013, 07:31:25 AM »
The main attractions are 1) huge range of cheeses at amazing prices, 2) good deals on staples like oil, 3) frozen unprocessed foods like seafood, 4) and of course the wine.  You generally will not find the same variety, quality and price elsewhere.

zhelud

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2013, 07:49:15 AM »
In our area, the prices are comparable to (even cheaper sometimes) the local supermarkets. Even for produce. (I know because my husband is obsessed with this stuff.) If you can avoid the temptations of the premade dinners and expensive snack items, you will be fine.

One feature I like is that they are small. I hate pushing a shopping cart around a big cavernous supermarket. At TJs, I can just go and grab a basket, pick up a few things, and be done in 5 minutes.

anastrophe

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2013, 08:02:51 AM »
TJ's makes no sense to me either. I can get better produce at more attractive prices from local farms, and other staples from Asian grocers, discount stores, etc.

I'll admit their prepackaged snacks are extra tasty, but I try not to eat that kind of stuff.

PantsOnFire

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2013, 08:05:56 AM »
TJ's is OK, but not as special as they used to be.  Around here, 5 or 6 years ago it was almost impossible to find anything organic outside of a member-owned co-op, farmstand, or Whole Foods.  TJ's was one of the first mid-priced grocery store chains to really market organic foods.  Mainstream grocery stores have started to come around though, so TJ's only fills one need for me--cheap, decent charcoal.  No 2-buck-chuck here so that's not a factor. 

Another thing that probably keeps them going... If you don't really cook, but rather "heat 'n' serve" semi-cooked meals, TJ's offers some more attractive alternatives to the Kraft/Stauffer's/Swanson slop that is the staple of so many Americans' diets.  It's meaningless to me, but a lot of people don't even own a sharp knife or know how to do anything in the kitchen other than open a refigerator door and push buttons on a microwave, so TJ's gets high marks from them. 

lisahi

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2013, 08:16:33 AM »
I don't get it either.  Other than the 2 Buck Chuck.

Yep, I always bought the cheap wine (which was actually quite good).

I also would get the Scharffen Berger chocolate, which was hard to find (it's easier now that it's owned by Hershey's), and the crumpets (which, to this day, were the best crumpets I've ever tasted).

I haven't been in awhile--not since I lived in San Francisco, but I only ever really went there to get items I couldn't find elsewhere. And alcohol.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 08:20:08 AM by lisahi »

adesertsky

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2013, 11:00:14 AM »
I actually do all my regular shopping there.  I get:
-citrus fruits
-almond or coconut milk
-organic eggs
-red oak lettuce, cucumbers, onions when they aren't in season in the garden or in my CSA box
-dairy- cheeses, sour cream
-organic bread
-handmade tortillas
-nuts (almonds and sweet/spicy pecans which are the best thing on earth in a salad)
-pasta
-wine
-my dog's favorite organic chicken and brown rice treat sticks

I am realizing that costco has some of this stuff cheaper so I am shifting a little bit in that direction for some things. 

BigRed

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2013, 11:29:08 AM »
For Milk, Eggs, Pasta and Staples, TJs is very good.  The bananas work out to be well priced also.  The greek yogurt also used to be good, but seems to have taken a quality nosedive recently.  Also, my TJs carries kosher chicken and meat, otherwise I'd have to go a much farther distance to get that stuff.  So, it's limited usefulness, but worth it if youare selective.

samustache

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2013, 11:35:02 AM »
Like anywhere else they have a few "doorbusters" and then some margin producing items they hope you buy to ring up some profit. I pretty much buy Trader Jose Dark, or a mixed 6 pack there. Not the greatest beer, but definitely the best price/quality ratio I've ever found.

naners

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2013, 11:42:25 AM »
For organic it's one of the best deals. Can't comment on how their organic compares to Costco since I don't have a car to drive the 6 miles. Their dairy, even the non-organic, is all free of rBST, which I like. Their frozen prepared foods are tasty and cheap for the level of quality; so much cheaper than takeout for the couple of times a month I'm tired or not organized enough to cook! Finally, their food has many fewer unpronounceable ingredients than is typical at a regular grocery store - I don't buy bread at regular grocery stores because of that. Bread should contain flour, yeast, and maybe some salt, nothing else.

Agreed that they are not so great for some ingredients, and you have to avoid impulse buys to keep on-budget. But I think they have a very useful niche.   

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2013, 11:55:07 AM »
I'm a bargain shopper, so I'll only go there for the things I can't find cheaper anywhere else or for the 1 item my spouse is picky about. So far, the list looks like this:

* canned chickpeas
* natural peanut butter
* multigrain pancake mix


mpbaker22

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2013, 12:26:06 PM »
WINE!!

mlipps

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2013, 12:32:57 PM »
I love Trader Joes, but I'm pretty sure I make up any savings there on a few items on my other splurges. I do love their prepared foods on rare occasion. My cooking is better, but when we've been extra busy or out of town, I'll stop & get a few for lunches to save me cooking a meal or two that week. $10 for 4 meals is still less than eating out most places.

anastrophe

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2013, 01:01:01 PM »
I'm a bargain shopper, so I'll only go there for the things I can't find cheaper anywhere else or for the 1 item my spouse is picky about. So far, the list looks like this:

* canned chickpeas

* multigrain pancake mix

Not to be annoying, but...I rather think these come out cheaper and tastier when made at home.


Gyosho

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2013, 01:13:50 PM »
Since trying to add more protein to my diet, I have come to love TJs for one thing - their cheap sustainable flash-frozen-at-the-dock fish! I get about 3 packages of frozen fish or shrimp per week from TJs; it's always delicious, and much cheaper than anything I can buy in any of our local grocery stores.

I also love their "chocolate lover's dark chocolate bar" which is very low in sugar.

I also love their cottage cheese, tofurky and soy milk, which are all at least a dollar cheaper than our local grocery store (the famous Berkeley Bowl, for those who live in the Bay Area).

I get some strange looks from the cashier when I pull up with my cart containing frozen fish, tofurky, tempeh, cottage cheese, soy milk, and chocolate bars, but I love it! Especially when I follow some old alcoholic with a cart full of wine, whiskey, chips, and frozen dinners.

We get a weekly CSA farm box so I don't need TJs for vegetables.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2013, 02:21:03 PM »
I'm a bargain shopper, so I'll only go there for the things I can't find cheaper anywhere else or for the 1 item my spouse is picky about. So far, the list looks like this:

* canned chickpeas

* multigrain pancake mix

Not to be annoying, but...I rather think these come out cheaper and tastier when made at home.

ITA with you. The spouse is not so keen on making his own pancake mix. (And I don't want to make pancakes at all, but I'll eat them if he's making them!) And again the lazy factor on the chickpeas ... I've had a jar of dried chickpeas in the cabinet for at least 2 years :(

CNM

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2013, 02:27:52 PM »
My local TJ's is good for dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and booze.  I don't buy much else there with any frequency.

destron

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2013, 06:05:47 PM »
Every time I see a post like this, I can't help but be reminded that grocery store prices and options vary greatly depending on where you live. It is possible that your opinion is swayed by different prices in your region added on top of different priorities.

newideas2013

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2013, 08:18:42 PM »
One of the biggest problems I see in western culture right now is so many people sucked into this notion of healthy foods vs. unhealthy foods but ignoring total calories and macronutrients.

YOU CAN EAT TOO MUCH OF A HEALTHY FOOD. Ooh your Organic Grape Juice has Anti-oxidants, you don't need to drink 3 jugs of the sugary stuff. You can definitely eat too much whole wheat bread, or too much peanut butter, nobody is paying attention to total calories over an extended period of time, but they pat themselves on the back everytime they eat out at Subway because they think a bit of shredded lettuce on a bun with processed meat and a few tomato slices is "healthy"

bogart

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2013, 08:19:44 PM »
Another fan of select items, but not the prepared foods.  They have the best price on a decent blue Stilton cheese I can find, for example, and are the only place locally (unless maybe WF sells them, but I rarely shop there) where I can buy smoked trout or pickled herring.  They're good on a decent chocolate bar, and fine on dairy products relative to other local options (not great, but I don't cringe if I need to grab milk there). 

I won't go into the one near me (which is the only one I know) unless I have earplugs with me, though.  There are limits.

PantsOnFire

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2013, 08:41:02 PM »
smoked trout or pickled herring.  They're good on a decent chocolate bar
For some reason those two phrases ran together in my mind and it was NOT a good image. 

sheepstache

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2013, 10:30:30 PM »
ALDI has 50 years experience in painting an image of high quality offerings for a really low price. Kind of a Robin Hood image even though the two owners are the richest persons in Germany and are not known for donating anything to charity (TBH, they might just not talk about it).

How is that contradictory?   Why would you say selling a superior product at a lower price means they're trying to look like Robin Hood?

cats

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2013, 11:02:40 PM »
Agreed that the "awesome" factor of TJ's may vary a lot by location.  In my case, I find having a Costco membership means a lot of things I used to get at TJ's are now purchased at Costco because they offer better pricing (e.g., cheeses, eggs, olive oil).  Produce has always been very hit-or-miss: I usually try to keep my prices down by shopping the loss leaders at the grocery store or whatever's in season at our local produce market, but if I need something specific that is not in season, TJ's will often have the best price (they do generally have a wider range of produce than Costco, plus for a family of two the bulk factor at Costco is not so good for perishable goods). For baking, their whole wheat flour is cheaper than the bulk prices at Whole Foods or any local co-ops.  Also, they have the cheapest (and best tasting, imo) almond milk in our area.  Coconut milk and coconut cream are also usually cheapest at TJ's.

However, most of the people I know who do the majority of their shopping at TJ's tend to eat a lot more packaged food than I do, or they aren't aware of/interested in costco.  I do occasionally like to buy a bag of their salt-and-pepper ridge cut chips or a bag of sesame sticks though, so there's only so much I can snark about the packaged food thing.

Christof

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2013, 01:37:26 AM »
How is that contradictory?   Why would you say selling a superior product at a lower price means they're trying to look like Robin Hood?

What I'm saying is that ALDI managed to build up a perception that quality is higher than it actually is and prices lower than they are. There's a widely accepted rumor that most ALDI products are made by well-known brands and are the same products just in a different package. Over the years ALDI has created followers very similar to Apple, just on the other side of the price range, that will immediately come up with any justification, why ALDI is so much better than any other chain.

When there's sort of a hype about ALDI stores (ALDI and TJ) then this hype been designed on purpose by someone with half a century of experience of doing exactly this. There's a reason that the two owners of ALDI (one of them died recently) combined are worth $42 billions (not far away from Warren Buffet).

Don't get me wrong: From a business perspective that's brilliant. If they weren't privately owned, I would have bought ALDI shares years ago.

sheepstache

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2013, 08:08:11 AM »
How is that contradictory?   Why would you say selling a superior product at a lower price means they're trying to look like Robin Hood?

What I'm saying is that ALDI managed to build up a perception that quality is higher than it actually is and prices lower than they are. There's a widely accepted rumor that most ALDI products are made by well-known brands and are the same products just in a different package. Over the years ALDI has created followers very similar to Apple, just on the other side of the price range, that will immediately come up with any justification, why ALDI is so much better than any other chain.

When there's sort of a hype about ALDI stores (ALDI and TJ) then this hype been designed on purpose by someone with half a century of experience of doing exactly this. There's a reason that the two owners of ALDI (one of them died recently) combined are worth $42 billions (not far away from Warren Buffet).

Don't get me wrong: From a business perspective that's brilliant. If they weren't privately owned, I would have bought ALDI shares years ago.

Ah ha, that makes sense.  I thought you were saying there was something contradictory or inherently bad about it simply because they had made money.  I felt like I was in an Ayn Rand novel :)

The spouse and a friend mentioned to me the other day, "Oh, did you hear our supermarket is being turned into a Trader Joe's?"  I let out a shocked and dismayed, "Noooo!"  Thankfully they were just trolling.  They found my reaction hilarious because either of them would have been delighted if it had been true.

mustacheme

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2013, 12:47:17 PM »
I'm with you. I'm practically scared to say I don't worship at the altar of Trader Joes in my city! People are so adamant in their love for that store. I've been in a few times, didn't see anything special and left. I'd rather go to the farmer's market.

MrsPete

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2013, 01:41:44 PM »
I like one Trader Joe's item very much and will make a special trip to buy several jars at a time.  Other than that, I don't have much use for the place.  The item:  Cookie butter.  It's a bit like peanut butter. 

I do like Aldi's and shop in their store frequently.

daymare

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2013, 03:25:22 PM »
ALDI's always makes me sad when I go.  Everything I've bough that's 'similar' to another packaged food has been far inferior. (ex, cheddar penguins, protein bars, cheese slices).  80% of the store is really bad quality, packaged & fake, or frozen stuff.  On the other hand, their cheap produce can't be beat (OMG $.60 avacados).  So lesson learned -- I buy a ton of produce ('real food') and avoid most of the other things.  The cashiers always comment that my assortment is 'so healthy', but mostly I've realized that actual food tastes better and I feel better when I eat it.

On the other hand, I lived in DC for ~2 years and have a huge, huge amount of love for TJ's. I lived only a few blocks away from the Foggy Bottom TJ's, so it was really convenient & worth battling the huge crowds.  Growing up, my parents always called TJ's an expensive place, and went there exclusively to buy nuts, dried fruit, and desserts.  But for me, in DC, it was wayyy less expensive than other options around (WF, Safeway, etc).  I worked crazy hours at a consulting job -- so when I didn't work late enough to have my company pick up the dinner tab, I'd often come home tired or wanting to veg out, or at least to not cook.  Soo, I enjoyed their selection of frozen food.  They have some pretty unique offerings, as well.  I would constantly see people loading up on their seafood wraps.  I, on the other hand, am obsessed with their cheese.

netskyblue

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2013, 04:19:47 PM »
On the other hand, their cheap produce can't be beat (OMG $.60 avacados).

OMG!  Is that a sale, or regular price?  I only buy avocados when they go under $1.  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.

binkley

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2013, 04:37:07 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?

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2013, 05:02:13 PM »
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?
binkley - I double-dog-dare you to cook much of anything from scratch shopping at TJ's. The proportion of pre-packaged or kit food per square foot at TJ's far exceeds that at a traditional grocery store. And what non-packaged food they do carry is not competitive with traditional grocery stores (much less compared to Costco).

I agree there are no grocery stores without prepared foods. But if you want to cook and consume healthy and cost-effective, TJ's is a very poor choice for anything but a few select items.

Eric

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2013, 05:50:58 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.

If you can find giant ones, $1.50 each isn't bad.  Usually they have more meat (is that the right term?) then the smaller cheaper ones, so you get more avocado for your $.

binkley

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Re: Am I the only one who does not understand the hype of Trader Joes?
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2013, 06:16:41 PM »
binkley - I double-dog-dare you to cook much of anything from scratch shopping at TJ's.

You would win that one.  We typically spend ~20% of our weekly grocery bill there.  If we were limited to one store, it would not be TJ's.

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And what non-packaged food they do carry is not competitive with traditional grocery stores (much less compared to Costco).

That is certainly not true here (SF Bay Area).  For what I buy (milk, yogurt, cheese, lunch meat, occasional snacks and beer), their prices are as good or better than Safeway, and the quality is better.  I can certainly believe that it would be a different story in other parts of the country.