Why I love Trader Joe’s or Mo’ Choices, Mo’ Problems

Trader Joe's in Old Town Alexandria
OId Town Trader Joe’s: Where I am unfortunately on a first name basis with the man who does wine tastings

I’m very, very late to this not-so-scandelous expose on Trader Joe’s, but thank you Forbes (and Huffington Post for your round up with photos) for pointing out that more is not always better. I’m Trader Joe’s crazy, so not much of what the article reveals surprises me. But I love how the writer hit on the main reason I shop there: lack of choice. I love how shopping at Trader Joe’s requires making almost zero decisions!

I can be very indecisive: a trait that becomes more exaggerated the more minor the decision is to be made. Picking between peanut butter brands and yogurt flavors paralyzes me. What if I pick the wrong brand? What if pomegranate and cherry isn’t as good as pomagrante and raspberry? What if I hate it and have to throw it out? Oh, to be a consumer in the USA!

The main draw for Trader Joe’s is that they have only one brand (Trader Joe’s brand) of everything. I don’t have to spend 20 minutes comparing those price/oz signs that normal supermarkets have. I don’t have to grapple with what my selection of food brands says about me. I get to grab the first thing I see, and then I get to go home. (Of course, not before I sampled the wine, cheese, coffee and meal idea of the day).

So marketers everywhere, consumer happiness is not about choice. It’s about getting your shopping done and leaving. Oh yeah, and free samples.



  1. You’d probably really dig communist food stores too, you communist.

  2. ” I don’t have to grapple with what my selection of food brands says about me. ”

    Correct! You’ve already made that decision when you walk into the store. :p

    • True! It says: I’m a yuppie, but I’m too cheap to shop at Whole Foods.

    • First of all, if you like both stores, this is a good thing. Why is there an acattk on either stores? The fact is both of them do good jobs. Expense? I hear this from people who think Mc Donalds and fast food is CHEAP. Think about the long term effect on eating this garbage. If you eat this, what is the REAL COST? The fact is the focus should be raising COSTS on FAST FOODS. Why? The people who go to these places get bigger, fatter, sicker, faster. So, why not have them pay?

  3. I agree TJ’s rocks (and they’ve FINALLY moved into Portland, Maine. But look, Whole Foods takes a back seat to no one in terms of friendliness. Both srotes are great. Yes, WF is more expensive in general. But they have some amazing stuff that is well priced and not available anywhere else, even TJs (when their organic cherries are in season, there’s no where else I’d rather be than the WF product section!)

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