Open Letters

An Open Letter to Trader Joe's

Dear Trader Joe’s,

Holy Coconut Chips, do I love me some Trader Joe’s!

Trader Joe’s makes me want to join a cult, that’s how much I love you, Trader Joe’s. My love for you is so strong that I am willing to endure one of the most irritating parking situations in supermarket history (and if it weren’t for Whole Foods, it might be THE MOST) to have the honor of shopping at your grocery market. Even while at my lowest of lows, convinced I’ll never park because I’m going to rear-end a person and/or shopping cart when attempting to pull into a cramped spot at a funny angle that’s all the way at the far end of the parking lot because I wasn’t aggressive enough to go after an earlier spot – even then, I love you Trader Joe’s.

Isn’t there some saying about how the journey can suck but then the reward is awesome and makes it okay in the end because it was worth it all? You know the one. Trader Joe’s is worth it all! (In other words, I’m willing to forgo your terrible parking situation because I love your groceries so G-D much).

Every Trader Joe’s is not the same, however it is “the same” enough that you are able to almost always figure out the aisles and layout quite easily. Some Trader Joe’s might have more of certain products than others (I once drove to three different Trader Joe’s to find a box of steelcut oatmeal, and no I am not yanking your chain, I really did do that and I would do it again if I had to), but for the most part all the Trader Joe’s are pretty similar. It’s kind of like if you are an Episcopalian and you go to an Episcopal church in your hometown for like all your weekends when you are little but then after a few years you move to a different town and go to a different Episcopal church and it’s different but it’s also the same. I don’t know why I just used a super specific reference like the Episcopal church just now but it definitely shows that I’m talking about a cult, the way I talk about Trader Joe’s. Which makes me a devotee — a follower, a believer, a whatever Elizabeth Olsen was in that indie film Martha Mary Steenburgen Ted Danson Marcy May Marlene. I worship at the altar of Trader Joes!

I like the pretty handwritten item cards at Trader Joe’s that tell you if it’s Havarti or Lite Havarti or Colby Jack or Lite Colby Jack. Those colorful notecards look as though some super awesome camp counselor named Becky made them, and sometimes they have nice ideas and suggestions like “goes great melted on Honey Roasted Turkey” and health info like “Gluten Free” but they’re not telling you in a douchey way of saying it’s gluten free, but more cool and as sort of casual suggestion or afterthough, like, “ FYI, there’s no gluten in here don’t feel like you have to buy this and eat it because you are gluten-free, you can eat however or whatever you want, but with this thing it’s just an added bonus on our end. You do you!”

Trader Joe’s makes me feel great about myself and my life choices, and never as though I’m constrained to a diet, certainly not when there are so many delicious and interesting options! With Trader Joe’s, maybe I’m eating vegan food for dinner like the Quinoa Duo but I’m also so down to have some of that peppered salami on a sandwich during lunch. That peppered salami (you know the one, trust me) is delicious. I love that salami just as much as I love kale, and thanks to Trader Joe’s I can also get some delicious kale-based foods and feel like while maybe part of me is turning California hippie on you guys, I’m really just eating what tastes good and kale is good!

But perhaps the best thing about Trader Joe’s – no, not your amazing soundtrack, a playlist that evokes this notion that a flash mob might happen at any moment, or perhaps a Soul Train, or just some sort of lip dub thing, because the songs are always consistent – is Charles Shaw. Yes, I daresay the overall best thing about Trader Joe’s is Two Buck Chuck. I think all lovers of Trader Joe’s/Trader Ming/Trader Jose/Trader Jaques/Trader Giotto/you get the point, would probably agree that paying two dollars for a wine that definitely doesn’t taste like a two dollar wine, is perhaps the finest of fine reasons to swear your loyalty and your firstborn child to this supermarket chain. (Culty again, see?) Salut, my fellow cult members!

Anyway, I love Trader Joe’s. I wish there was a Trader Joe’s cookbook. Maybe there is. Do you guys know if there is? I know I could Google that but I’d rather ask you to encourage that you post some comments and interact with me and then we can nerd out about Trader Joe’s together. Also, the monthly mailer – can that maybe be emailed, or like sent as a text message or an app alert? Can you think about that please, Trader Joe’s?

I look forward to an eventual BuzzFeed list called something like 17 Gifs Explaining Why Trader Joe’s is a Cult!


Sincerest regards,


  • Becky Snow
  • Deanna Weber

    I am glad someone is as obsessed with Trader Joes as me. I was so upset when I moved that my town doesn’t have one. But I am willing to make the 45 min drive to the nearest Trader Joes just to get some of their awesome multigrain crackers and the oh so delicious Gruyere/Cheddar cheese.

  • Rebekah Wright

    Oh I am reposting this for sure. I’m in love with their coconut oil, coconut milk, their coconut ice-cream (Strawberry and Chocolate), mango everything, Corn puffs that are just under 150 calories for 2 1/4 servings…. I could go on. It’s like you went into my noggin’ and wrote it all here. Except I’m not a two buck chuck girl. I like spending the extra dollar and getting their brands from Chili or Italy. But close. You were oh-so-close.

    PS. I drove to two TJ’s for different cheeses. Also when I express how much I love TJ’s everyone thinking i’m talking about Tijuana, Mexico… I have to express on multiple occasions I’m talking about the store.

    • Rebekah Wright

      *So excited I didn’t proofread*
      2 1/4 cups not servings
      Also “I have *HAD* to express on multiple occasions…”

  • Carrie Rice Marino

    Have you tried Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Power Berries with Acai, Pomegranate, Cranberry and Blueberry–oooohh, SO GOOD!!

  • Lisa Knox


  • Cori Matherly

    agreed… and just in case you haven’t seen this… : )

    • Annie Stamell

      Oh girl, not only have I seen that video but that is my Whole Foods. So that’s exactly what I was referencing when I mentioned the worst parking situation at a grocery store, like, EVER.

  • Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    Love them! Best powdered chai, tofu and apple bacon in the world.

  • Lauren Scharf

    there IS a trader joes cookbook! I saw one the last time i was at the check out at Forever 21! But yeah, you can probably find one online. And I would SO join a TJ’s cult. Wouldn’t even question it.

  • Taryn Pestalozzi

    I just moved and will have to make quite a drive to go the nearest Trader Joe’s, but the Chevre with honey is so worth it. Oh, and the honey sesame almonds. My god are they good.

  • Nicole Kayla

    I am a huge fan of Trader Joe’s as well, however not all of their product items are as healthy as one might think. Interesting article here from Food Babe made me start questioning a few things….

  • Monica Tesdahl Colvin

    I LOVE getting the mailer…..when it arrives, I ‘m hit with a wave of excitement knowing what awaits. I have a special routine……i wait till the evening, hop into bed and slowly take the time to read each & every item on the page (and all the silly little side notes & comments). I circle items I want to try…..dream about preparing & eating suggested recipe ideas…etc. and check off appropriate items on the convenient shopping list they provide…….this usually takes me a good 30 – 45 minutes……and worth every one! So I would be devastated if the mailer stopped arriving at my door……reading on- line for me, is not the same.

  • Caroline Jeffery

    just the fact that you can get 35-ish ozs of yummy nummy olive oil for half the price you would at regular grocery stores? UM> YES PLEASE! value for a dollar makes me holler!

  • Gwen Toffling

    UGh, We don’t have Wine At PEnnsylvannia’s TJs! The Parking Is Bad At Mine, Too; Especially When A tractor-Trailer Comes In. I Love TheiR Junk Food And So Do My Co-Workers Who Think I’m Tricking Them Into Eating Healthy With TJs Cookies. The Best Part Is When I’m At The Checkout The Cashier Almost Always Gives Me Cooking Tips On Whatever I’ve purchased.

  • Lisa Klingler MacDonald

    I live 5 hours from the nearest Trader Joe’s which is probably a good thing. That buy 11 get the 12th bottle of wine free would bankrupt me, not to mention sending me to detox.

  • Ashley Smoot

    I don’t even know where the closest trader Joe’s is to me. I’ve never even been to one. I will say I have Google pulled up and will be finding and visiting the nearest one very soon after reading this post, even if its 5 hours away… thanks.

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