A couple of months ago (ok more than a couple) a Trader Joe’s opened in our part of the planet. We had always heard great things about Trader Joe’s from Miss Carol’s littlest seester who loves in California and knows about these things first hand, so we decided to go once the furor had died down somewhat. (The place was PACKED when it first opened)
A couple of weeks ago we remembered that a Trader Joe’s had opened and resolved to go and see what all the hubbub was about.
A couple of days ago we finally went.
I really don’t know what I was expecting, I mean it’s just a grocery store right?
Wrongo to the nth degree.
It’s more like a religion or a way of life or, or something. Trader Joe’s is to grocery chains what the Greatful Dead was to bands. Something you have to commit to and become a part of and embrace as you travel the magical aisles of all-naturalness with your fellow shoppers.
Who, by the way, are the same happily smug, self satisfied, birkenstock shod rainbow warriors that you see at a Greatful Dead show. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There they all are pushing their cute little red shopping carts jammed full of bottles of economically responsible Two Buck Chuck (which is very good by the way), dolphin friendly edamame, and free range peanut butter, feeling very superior to the likes of, well, me.
And the whole time they’re shopping, they’re reading every single ingredient on every single label of every single thing they’re thinking about purchasing, making sure that the foodstuff they’re considering has not in some way broken one of the gentle live and let live tenets which guide and nourish them on their path to nirvana.
Once your cart is filled with earth saving goodies you proceed to the checkout which deserves a visit in and of itself. No long conveyor belts expediting the checkout process here. No, no, no. One by one, each item has to be handed to the cashier so that she can scan it (whoops, they DO have scanners, I guess all the mechanical cash registers have been taken to museums or dumps) and then place it on the tiny little counter where someone else (a cashier assistant?) takes it places it in your special Trader Joe’s thematically approved, recycled paper bag.
And the whole time this is taking place both cashier people want to talk. I don’t mean the incidental small talk you usually exchange with cashiers, I mean in depth discussions about your purchases. I swear I aged months.
Honestly, though, if you can put up with the good natured snootiness of all the other hippies, the foods are really good and the prices are great so pull your tie-dyed t-shirt and birkenstocks out of the back of the closet and visit a Trader Joe’s near you.
It’s a hoot.