I’m in love with Trader Joe’s. The grocery store. Yes, indeed. I have found a new reason to get dressed and leave my house. This store is that reason.
I had heard of Trader Joe’s before. I even knew that they had a cult-like following. Typically, that makes me stay away. I’m not into the popular stuff. I’ve never even seen the movie, Jurassic Park. I avoided it because of all the hype. Usually, if I hear about something too much, I lose interest, and if everyone else is saying it’s great, I don’t like it. I like to think it’s because I’m artsy and eccentric and march to the beat of my own drum. Really, it’s because I don’t like crowds.
Anywho, I decided to be bold and go in Trader Joe’s in Gainesville, Florida, the “big city” near our little town. A friend of mine had said I HAD to go there, so I decided to follow her instructions. I wasn’t too eager to listen to her, apparently, since it has taken me almost 4 months to get there.
As I pulled up, I saw topiary monkeys hanging from the trees. I figured, how bad can a place been when they’ve got monkeys? I decided to find out. When I walked in, the store was packed. That was strike one against them, but I ventured in with Mr. Everything by my side. Quickly, I found out why everyone loves this store. They have excellent products at awesome prices! These aren’t just main-stream awesome prices. These are Al-awesome prices, and I’m a cheapskate.
The concept of Trader Joe’s is that they stock unusual items that no one else has. They have their own brand, and most of their items are labeled by their brand. The prices are low, low, low, and the quality is high, high, high. They had bananas for 11 cents a pound, for goodness sakes! I don’t even like bananas that much, but I’ll eat them for that!
Many of their items were priced about the same as the grocery store, but I’ll take that. Keep in mind that the grocery store I’ve had to shop at since moving to town is Winn Dixie. This, in my opinion, is the equivalent of death by groceries. I must interject here that the employees at this particular Winn Dixie are actually really friendly and have almost restored my faith in human beings. However, when I am in Winn Dixie, I still typically end up sounding sort of like Rainman, “Winn Dixie sucks.” They are dirty, expensive and just not cool.
Back to my new haven of refreshment…. Trader Joe’s had cookies and nuts and granola bars and unusual chips and organic items and special coffee and green tea and fresh produce (Fresh! Do you hear that, Winn Dixie??? Fresh!). It was amazing.
We had just one item in our buggy – coconut oil spray. I’ve never seen it before. It’s the coconut oil version of Pam. You’ve gotta love that. Anyway, Mr. E left me while he went to use the restroom. By the time he got back, I had 11 items in my buggy. Wild eyed, I said, “Get me out of here, quick!”
They had 99 cent greeting cards that were actually cute. They had kiwi and cherries and peaches. Fresh peaches! (Winn Dixie…Make a note.) They had cool paper bags with handles to bag our stuff. The employees wore fun Hawaiian print shirts. They carried hand-drawn signs that said, “I can help you!” They were willing to help. (W.D… Just sayin’.) At the register, if they needed something, they rang a bell that was reminiscent of being on a ship instead of yelling over the loud speaker. (Wal-mart, You might want to listen, too.) The store smelled fresh and not like death. The floors were clean. The lights were bright. The colors were fun. It was sensory overload, but in a good way. I could have stayed there all day.
If you have never been to Trader Joe’s, just must go right now. You must join us. The cult is waiting. We are accepting new followers daily. You will be glad you did. Trader Joe’s is your friend. Trader Joe’s is good. You must go to Trader Joe’s. Chant together with me, “Tra-der Joe’s. Tra-der Joe’s. Tra-der Joe’s.” -Al