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What to buy and what to skip at Trader Joe’s

By Lisa Gosselin, February 7, 2011 - 12:18pm

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Am in San Antone right now (no Trader Joes here unfortunately). When I did find a TJ elsewhere, I mostly bought their frozen items, coffee, sardines, olive oil and their one trail mix sans peanuts. Stayed away from most other items. As for Whole foods (there's one here in SA), I go for their $5 a can three bean coffee but shop for little else. WH is expensive as the dickens.

Anonymous

03/06/2012 - 6:57pm

It is completely unfair to say that genetically-modified foods are inherently bad. Yes, there is controversy over the ethical implications of changing natural evolution, but the fact remains that some of them have actually helped a lot of people (as in the case of golden rice). Yes, there are chances of the modified genes being spread into wild populations, but I'm not trying to argue that GMOs are bad nor that they're good.

I'm saying that it's unfair to judge automatically that they're bad.

Anonymous

03/06/2012 - 1:59am

Their low-sodium chicken broth is so much cheaper than any of the other stores in my area.

Anonymous

03/06/2012 - 1:38am

English Cheddar (with carmelized onions) is the BOMB!! So is the rosemary-ham. Their Salmon Oil Supplement is the best! not only with price, but with no after-taste. We regularly use their General T'so's sauce, Dipping Sauce, the bottled pizza sauce is awesome. We love their pizza dough, the cinnamon rolls, oh, damn. Now I have to go make lunch. This article makes me hungry! And the $4.99 chocolate bars are better and cheaper than any others, even at Walmart.
Anyway, off to the kitchen!

Anonymous

03/05/2012 - 3:30pm

Our local Trader Joe's has many strengths and a few weaknesses. Their bread products are a real gamble. Fresh-baked are a real $ find and have an adequate shelf life. But have lost packaged whole grain breads, tortillas, hot dog buns to mold within 3-4 days at home. Agree cheeses are a real highlite. Love the extra sharp New York cheddar + Basque goat cheese. Regional wines are priced generally higher than our state liquor stores prices. (Will be interested to see what happens when Washington State goes out of this biz June 1st.!) Organic eggs are excellent and priced well. Excellent mixture of organic fruit and veggies at generally lower cost than neighboring chain stores. Shelf space pressure dictates some of my favorites come and go (e.g. Almond Milk in cooler), but appreciate the variety of ethnic products. Frozen wild salmon filets is another excellent buy for high quality fish. Not organic, but well-priced, good quality Angus filet steaks in smaller cuts are a big favorite.

Anonymous

03/04/2012 - 2:20pm

I don't see why so many of you are raving about TJ's customer service. I find it very spotty, most of the staff I've dealt with aren't pleasant to me at all. I'd rather deal with ANY cashier from a regular supermarket rather than the freaky weirdos that work at TJs. I find them very fake; they give you the illusion that they're all about great customer service, but I believed they are unbiased to a certain type of customer and biased to the rest. I've noticed a few times, (I love to watch people when they're not expecting to be watch) that their cashiers are only helpful occasionally, but pretty much you can count on them being inconsistent.

This one time I was 3rd in line. I distinctly saw the cashier open up that side tray where the baskets are kept for the customers in front of me, by the time I got there, the tray was put away. Really?? I had to put my basket up on the counter myself. Then suddenly, the young male cashier opens the tray and places my basket there. If they were about GREAT customer service, the tray would have been open initially, precluding me from having to place it up top.

Now most times I don't mind bagging my own groceries. In fact, I think it's something that I do practically every trip. This one occasion, I had to fumble through my wallet to look for payment options, and I deliberately noticed the cashier SLOW her price scanning down. Since I already started bagging, she allowed me to get my payment together and continue bagging my own groceries. REALLY? Some cashiers put on the oblivious look as if they're so into their work that they're unable to multitask. Perhaps before electronic scanning I wouldn't mind, but come on.

I pretty much despise every cashier I've had while there. Every time I enter a TJs, I ask myself, what do the PHONY, LISTLESS cashiers have in store for me today; surely, I'm going to have some sort of problem with them one way or another. The ONLY time I recall I had a great experience was with a mature lady (probably in her 60s) who was the nicest ever. If I'm dealing with the 20-30yo set, forget about it.

These are the main reasons why I don't like shopping there. Their cashiers and checkout process leave so much to be desired. Could it be racially motivated? I'm not sure, probably not, but I'm 100% certain that I've gotten horrible treatment by some cashiers because of my race.

If TJs offered self checkout, I'd shop there much more often. As it stands now, I shop there less and less.

Anonymous

03/02/2012 - 2:59pm

Traders joes
Read the label
watch the sodium content
Useually more than is good for you
Often more than tastes good

Hds

Anonymous

03/02/2012 - 11:05am

For those people that keep kosher like myself, I just wanted to point out that packaged Kosher meat is MUCH cheaper at TJ's than any other store. The boneless skinless Empire Kosher Chicken Breasts are about $2 less per pound at my local TJ's than at my local grocery store and similar lower costs are found with their beef as well.

Anonymous

03/02/2012 - 8:12am

The packaged nuts, the crackers, the pita chips, the chocoloate, the coffee ,the mac and cheese, the frozen prepared vegetables, the $1.00 greeting cards, the flowers for $3.99, the breakfast bars, the granola bars,the cereals, etc etc etc. My 86 year old mother loves their shampoo and conditioner and she is not easy to please. A great place to shop

Anonymous

03/01/2012 - 9:25pm

Great article, but don't forget to proofread! "....especially at West *Coast locations...."

~ TJ's employee

Anonymous

03/01/2012 - 6:03pm

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