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,