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Old 12-02-2018, 03:02 PM   #21
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Oh that reminds me, it's time to make my annual trip to Trader Joes for their Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes! That's my main TJ weakness.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:13 PM   #22
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I eat nothing that I would consider a novelty, and as I have mentioned I buy almost everything other than some of my fresh meat and my fresh fish at TJ's. It is good, 6 blocks away, and very reasonably priced in a store that is not ugly. Plus the staff are not unionized people who are doing their best to ignore the customers.

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Old 12-02-2018, 04:27 PM   #23
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Oh that reminds me, it's time to make my annual trip to Trader Joes for their Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes! That's my main TJ weakness.
We arrived in US two weeks ago and went to TJ's the next day for their Christmas-Only Pfeffernusse cookies. We leave tomorrow, the cookies are gone. PS: I ate the whole box myself, I must confess.

I have tried pfeffernusse cookies EVERYWHERE and have paid exorbitant prices at US bakeries, including the top 5 German bakeries in DC-Metro. TJ's are the BEST.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:37 PM   #24
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This reminds me of the Demoula's story in MA:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-massachusetts

Spoiler alert: The good guys won in the end. This one story, to me, disproves all the corporate BS about how you have to screw your employees and customers in order to stay in business. There are a hundred lessons to be learned there, so I won't go into it all now.

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I remember before they got their checkout scanners how the cashiers just had to pretty much memorize the price of all of the foods because half the time the pricing sticker would be missing. They would ring up each item manually while shouting out the price to you so you knew how much they were charging. It was like shopping in the 1960ís but it was kind of a cool retro experience.
My favorite memory of shopping technology was when the power went out in our local grocery store. The check-out clerks just opened the drawer under the register, took out a crank handle, stuck it in the side of the register and kept on ringing up customer's orders.

Even then (mid 70's) that was obsolete technology, but it came in real handy that day!
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:38 PM   #25
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Love TJ’s. Was not a fan originally but wife got me hooked. Would go there more often if Sprouts, Costco and Walmart were not closer. Have not shopped big box (Kroger, Tom Thumb) ina while. Also like Aldi but shop there less frequently. TJ’s has the best dog treats (peanut butter filled pretzels). Dog gets 1. I get 3!
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:16 PM   #26
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We're big TJ's fans and I also know Whole Foods all-too-well, since they acquired the company I used to work for and I spent plenty of time sitting in executive meetings.

As a serious "foodie" I find Trader Joe's most useful for produce (specifically fennel, Belgian endive, baby bok choy, bagged apples, English and Persian cucumbers, citrus and such) at prices that approach Costco's but in quantities that work ever-so-much-better for our two person household.

They have fabulous chocolate (72% Belgian Dark chocolate Almonds and 71% Cacao Valrhona specifically) at bargain prices, some very good frozen entrees ($4.99 for Kung Pao Chicken that's as good as what I make from scratch), nuts and dried fruit, very good dairy, superb value olive oil and spices, etc. They also have a lot of dud private label stuff and their famously cheap wines are often undrinkably bad. Still, all in all, I always feel like i get good value for money and service at TJ's.

Whole Foods invariably lives up to their "Whole Paycheck" reputation. Always expensive, rarely high quality it's fear-based (our products are "free from"....) food for the 1%. I'd thought things would improve there under Amazon's ownership, but am not seeing it so far.
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:03 PM   #27
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I love TJís for many things - cheese, crackers, nuts, olive oil, pasta sauce, pasta, tamales, fresh salmon, pork tenderloin, pork chops, eggs, butter, milk, dips, olive tapenade. We buy some produce there - bananas, tomatoes, basil, peppers, potatoes - but often their produce spoils more quickly than grocery store produce, and they donít have as much variety. Almost never buy green vegetables or salads there. I like to pick my own broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc. vs buying prepackaged. We do like some of their prepackaged salads, but some are really big and most have very short expiration dates. Love their lemon pepper precooked chicken, but donít usually buy it because of the short expiration.

Iíve tried their frozen fish and didnít love it. While we do buy a lot of things there, we definitely have to supplement them with Vonís, Costco, and Gelsonís.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:13 PM   #28
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Our Trader Joe's is a distance from me so I occasionally shop Fresh Market . I feel so "Blow the Dough " when I go there . I love to just walk around and check out all their offerings .
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:45 PM   #29
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A recent posting mentioned Amazon including some subtly labeled sponsored gift items in a list of baby shower items made by a customer.

Today I listened to this Freakonimics podcast (#359) on Trader Joe's and how it operates. They examine the big difference between modern grocery store marketing and how TJ's does it. Given that Amazon now owns a supermarket, I figure that is a good comparison to look at.

Should America Be Run by ‚€¶ Trader Joe‚€™s? (Ep. 359) - Freakonomics Freakonomics
I enjoyed the podcast. Thanks for posting the link. I loved the comment from the founder of Trader Joe's about his target customers: "Trader Joe's is for over-educated and underpaid people." He selected Pasadena as the location for his first store.

The first time I was in an Aldi was 40 years ago in Germany. I had just crossed the border from France on my bike, and immediately met another touring cyclist, a hilarious guy from L.A. We both needed to buy some groceries and he said to me, "Let's go to the funny market." I asked him what the funny market was. He said, You've never been to an Aldi?"


I see a lot of parallels between how Trader Joe's is run and how Southwest Airlines is run. Both do things differently from their competitors, and both have very loyal followings that their competitors can only dream about. The employees at both also seem happier than employees at their competitors.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:10 PM   #30
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I love TJs, it's my happy place. We have one a mile from our house and it is also next to the train. I typically go there once a day. Sometimes I use it as a destination to get a walk in, there is always something I can pick up.

I follow a plant based diet, otherwise I don't think I could shop there. They have a lot of really tasty looking junk food. I am especially enjoying looking at their holiday products.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:33 PM   #31
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I enjoyed the podcast. Thanks for posting the link. I loved the comment from the founder of Trader Joe's about his target customers: "Trader Joe's is for over-educated and underpaid people." He selected Pasadena as the location for his first store.

The first time I was in an Aldi was 40 years ago in Germany. I had just crossed the border from France on my bike, and immediately met another touring cyclist, a hilarious guy from L.A. We both needed to buy some groceries and he said to me, "Let's go to the funny market." I asked him what the funny market was. He said, You've never been to an Aldi?"


I see a lot of parallels between how Trader Joe's is run and how Southwest Airlines is run. Both do things differently from their competitors, and both have very loyal followings that their competitors can only dream about. The employees at both also seem happier than employees at their competitors.
I thought it interesting the TJ's stocks its shelves during business hours so as to put many employees on the floor for customer service. Compare that to my local Kroger's affiliate where, IMHO, finding a knowledgeable employee is like looking for Pats fan in Green Bay.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:40 PM   #32
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I went to Trader Joe's and Aldi's a few times before we moved. Neither was very close to me and I was so disappointed that neither one had much we wanted. TJ was a little better. Now, they are about 15 minutes away but we have so many stores closer it isn't worth going to them.

I do shop at Costco from time to time. Main things I buy there:

1. Organic produce - mostly because it is fresher and more of it than at other stores.

2. Dark chocolate - more selection than most stores

3. Rotisserie Chicken - Can get many places but the ones at Costco tend to be good sized.

4. Occasionally single serving bags of chips that other stores don't carry

5. Stuff that is on sale, particularly for Prime members.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:23 PM   #33
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Trader Joes is the only supermarket I know that never overcharges me ever. Vons/Pavillions tries to rip me off on a regular basis.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:37 AM   #34
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Do they still require a deposit on the shopping carts? That was interesting...

We have tried Lidl and it is OK, but not our go-to. Very strange that they dedicate a large section for "surprises," which is a bunch of random low quality tools and such. It must work for them.

Like Aldi's, they are based in Germany and have a lot of European import items.


Yeah. They still do that and I think it keeps a lot of people away. I saw a guy with a quarter ďslugĒ clipped to his keychain. Interestingly we have a shiny new Aldi store that moved into a vacated fairly new Safeway (deja vu) but Aldi only needed half the space. Customers freely exchange carts and decline payment. Generally good vibe with customers and employees.

Made my second trip to Lidl which is not close by. We need two varieties of lactose free milk in our house. They were out of fat free on my 1st trip and out of 2% on my 2nd trip. Unacceptable but not too surprising since they charge $1.5 less per gal than traditional stores.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:06 AM   #35
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My recent TJ story:

I always buy canned cat food at TJs, in bulk, because the store isn't too convenient to me. 3 or 4 times the cashier has told me I can call and order cases. No discount though, and I always count the number I get of each and hand them one can and tell them, so it wouldn't be any easier on them. But OK. And the time before last they were almost all out, so I decided that next time, I'd call. They told me day before should work, but calling 2 days before is certain.

So I called 2 days before. Went to the counter, and the guy said, let me go get them. I waited, and waited, looking at the cans on the shelf and empty boxes of wine I could be filling and going on my way. Finally after 5 minutes or more, the guy came back, and grabbed an empty box. He was apologetic and embarrassed, but the cases didn't come in, or he couldn't find them. No big deal, just kind of funny. I was kind of hoping the cashier would make that suggestion again. Not sure what I'll do next time.

I used to get their frozen fish, but I like Costco's individually frozen rather than TJ's slightly frozen together at the ends packaging of salmon. Better cuts at Costco too.

Sometimes good beer at TJs, but I'm off beer for awhile. There's nothing else I prefer at TJs and it's usually crowded and being less convenient, I tend to only go when I'm running low on cat food, which is every few months.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:18 AM   #36
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I couldn't figure out Aldi brands at all. Is there stuff equivalent to name brands, or generic store brands? I sometimes get those store brands, but for that stuff is Aldi really cheaper? Groceries just aren't a big expense for me and I don't feel like dealing with that store.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:41 AM   #37
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Trader Joes is the only supermarket I know that never overcharges me ever. Vons/Pavillions tries to rip me off on a regular basis.
Same here, I think because TJ's never have sales. I love Trader Joe's, and really appreciate the fact that in general no junk ingredients in their products, though I still read the labels. I bargain hunt at other grocery store and I have the impression that the sale prices don't always make it into their computer system so always have to double check them.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:49 AM   #38
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Sometimes good beer at TJs, but I'm off beer for awhile. There's nothing else I prefer at TJs and it's usually crowded and being less convenient, I tend to only go when I'm running low on cat food, which is every few months.
I like their Trader Jose's beers that are made in Mexico. Good quality, reasonable price and I don't have to buy a case of 24. I don't drink that much beer.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:30 PM   #39
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I like their Trader Jose's beers that are made in Mexico. Good quality, reasonable price and I don't have to buy a case of 24. I don't drink that much beer.
That reminds me, this time of year they usually have a "Winter Lager", which IIRC, is actually a fairly decent DoppelBock. Not great, but quite good, and a very good price.

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Old 12-04-2018, 11:01 PM   #40
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I couldn't figure out Aldi brands at all. Is there stuff equivalent to name brands, or generic store brands? I sometimes get those store brands, but for that stuff is Aldi really cheaper? Groceries just aren't a big expense for me and I don't feel like dealing with that store.


Iím not all that big on name brands anyway (except Hellmanís and Breyerís), but Iíd compare it to national brands. Iím surprised to see more national brands at Aldis. I think it varies from product to product.
One of a zillion Aldi YouTube clips.
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