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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,465
Registered: ‎03-18-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


Moonchilde wrote:

ValuSkr wrote:

Irshgrl31201 wrote:

I do like Trader Joes a lot but the one near us has such a small parking area it is literally impossible to find a place to park no matter what time you go.


Same here.  There are two TJ's near me and both parking lots are much too small.  I wonder if that's intentional - surely, when TJ's plans a store, it can accurately forecast parking requirements - or just poor planning.  In either case, I lump it, with other examples, under "poor customer service."  


 

 

FWIW, TJs always seem to have "small", packed parking lots. They are not the same size in square footage as a large chain grocery, so why would their parking lots be the size of a much larger square footage store? That doesn't make sense.

 

The lots are packed because the stores are full of (happy) customers.

 

Poor customer service? Customer service is their best asset. Their employees are cheerful and helpful. They are well-paid and also financially invested in the company. They promote from within. Any of them will stop what they're doing and check anything for you, bring stock out from the warehouse, offer to put an arriving item aside for you. They always have multiple check-outs open. Everyone who shops there is in a good mood.


This isn't only a problem with Trader Joes in my area, it happens at a lot of newly built plazas. They just built 2 new beautiful plazas full of great stores and restaurants and the area the builders put in for parking has made in such a nightmare to go to either. Unless I plan to go there in the morning or early afternoon before 2, I won't go. There have been so many complaints. I know an owner of a furniture store and she said they picked that plaza because they thought it would be great for them but they are now moving because many of their long time customers refuse to come there because of the parking.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
JFK
Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,783
Registered: ‎05-23-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store

Trader Joe's can be, and is, the same as a regular grocery store for many people, but not for everyone. It depends on the household. No, they don't stock a huge drug & personal care section, a laundry section, or an entire aisle of TP, vitamins or other non-food items, so for people who do a lot of essentially drugstore shopping in the supermarket, they're not ideal. They do sell most of those items, but their own brand - which is not only equal to name brands in many instances, but often superior.

 

They are great for singles and couples who like to combo cook - some fresh baked goods, meats, veggies and fruits, some things pre-packaged or prepared, some frozen. They are not so great for SAHM who love to cook in bulk for a family of six.

 

They sell items their customers want. If they stock a new item and it doesn't sell, they stop carrying it. They pay attention to customers' suggestions and stock things people ask for. Many things in their frozen area you won't see in other stores. Many vegetarian and vegan items, for example. Quite a few ethnic foods.

 

Many years ago now there was an infamous grocery strike in So Cal that lasted about 9 months. That's a LONG time. Because of that strike, TJ's started carrying basics - TP, soap, pet food & other things. Between TJs and a drugstore, you can do just about all shopping - depending on what your household buys. I get that it won't supply it "all" for everyone, but it does supply it "all" for many people.

Life without Mexican food is no life at all
Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,783
Registered: ‎05-23-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


Caligurll wrote:

Moonchilde wrote:

ValuSkr wrote:

Irshgrl31201 wrote:

I do like Trader Joes a lot but the one near us has such a small parking area it is literally impossible to find a place to park no matter what time you go.


Same here.  There are two TJ's near me and both parking lots are much too small.  I wonder if that's intentional - surely, when TJ's plans a store, it can accurately forecast parking requirements - or just poor planning.  In either case, I lump it, with other examples, under "poor customer service."  


 

 

FWIW, TJs always seem to have "small", packed parking lots. They are not the same size in square footage as a large chain grocery, so why would their parking lots be the size of a much larger square footage store? That doesn't make sense.

 

The lots are packed because the stores are full of (happy) customers.

 

Poor customer service? Customer service is their best asset. Their employees are cheerful and helpful. They are well-paid and also financially invested in the company. They promote from within. Any of them will stop what they're doing and check anything for you, bring stock out from the warehouse, offer to put an arriving item aside for you. They always have multiple check-outs open. Everyone who shops there is in a good mood.


I so agree about the check out.  TJs has the best, and fastest by far, of any of the other places I shop.  Which is why I hate going to Target.  They never have enough checkout lines open and the ones that are seem really slow to me,


 

 

OMG, Target & Walmart check-out is almost worse than Costco.

 

TJ's is fast, and they manage to have a pleasant short conversation with you and chat about a product without holding up the line. I always feel happy when I leave TJ's. I sure can't say the same for any other chain grocery.

Life without Mexican food is no life at all
Regular Contributor
Posts: 201
Registered: ‎11-15-2011

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store

We live in So. Cal so many of the stores listed I am not familiar with.  We do shop at TJ, Albertsons Co. stores, Aldi, and Sprouts and others that are in our local community.

Our daughter lives in San Antonio and we spent 6 weeks there in Oct. & Nov. as we became the proud grandparents of twin boys!!

We shopped at HEB as that is their main grocery store and really loved it.  They carry name brands, regional brands and many, many products under their own label.  We found things there we had never seen before.  Their produce prices are higher than we are used to, but as a whole they carry everything you could possibly want and lots of variety.  Somehow they have kept any other grocery chains out of that city.  If you have to rely on one store, HEB is probably the best.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,783
Registered: ‎05-23-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


Caligurll wrote:

I probably buy 50-60% of my groceries at Trader Joe's, with the remainder being spread out among Whole Foods, Sam's, Costco, Target, and a local grocery chain.

 

My only complaint about TJs is the lack of local produce in the summer.  Most of the tomatoes are either from Mexico or Canada.  It's what I like about Whole Foods, they offer a lot of locally grown produce so I prefer to buy it there.

 

What I do love and respect about TJs is how much they give back to the community.  I park in the back parking lot and almost every time I go, there are organizations picking up donated food and flowers at the loading dock.   They keep a sign inside with the amount they have donated year to date, and it was close to $1M, for one smallish store.  For 2016, TJs donated $341 in goods not fit for sale but still good to consume, to food banks.

 

There is an excellent documentary on Amazon Prime about food waste, called Just Eat It.  It is really eye opening how much food goes to waste.


 

 

I do have to say their fruit doesn't always please me. Not because of its country of origin, but because the ripeness or unripeness and the spoilage isn't always tip-top. But I have no doubt that if I brought it back or told them about it, they'd cheerfully refund my $$.

Life without Mexican food is no life at all
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,688
Registered: ‎03-15-2014

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


Noel7 wrote:

They are rated poor customer service because of a small parking lot?  That doesn't make sense to me.


I think I said..."among other examples."   I know most people rave about their service but that hasn't been my experience.  No express check-out, items out of stock or hard to find while contending with crowds in a small store - and all that after circling the postage-stamp sized lot for some time waiting for a spot to open.  Not a fun experience.  Sure, the workers are cheerful, but oftentimes eccentric and goofy.  Easy to handle if you have all the time in the world but not if you're in a hurry.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,783
Registered: ‎05-23-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


ValuSkr wrote:

Noel7 wrote:

They are rated poor customer service because of a small parking lot?  That doesn't make sense to me.


I think I said..."among other examples."   I know most people rave about their service but that hasn't been my experience.  No express check-out, items out of stock or hard to find while contending with crowds in a small store - and all that after circling the postage-stamp sized lot for some time waiting for a spot to open.  Not a fun experience.  Sure, the workers are cheerful, but oftentimes eccentric and goofy.  Easy to handle if you have all the time in the world but not if you're in a hurry.


 

 

It's all in what you expect. Before retiring, I often shopped at TJs on my way home after a full day's job stress compounded by bumper-to-bumper LA traffic. Yes it was a pain to park - the same pain for everyone who parks anywhere in LA, lol. They often had someone directing you to open parking spaces & getting you a cart as you walked in. Yes it was crowded & I could get cranky. But after working all day & sitting in traffic with idiots, I got far MORE cranky in my local chain grocery. Shopping there put me in a good mood, even when I was in the worst mood. I had no trouble finding things, I shopped there weekly. If I needed to ask, it was usually brought TO me.

Life without Mexican food is no life at all
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,978
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store

Wish I had a TJ near me.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,465
Registered: ‎03-18-2010

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store


Noel7 wrote:

They are rated poor customer service because of a small parking lot?  That doesn't make sense to me.


I don't know if you were speaking to me or not because I did mention that. I do love Trader Joes, I would definitely shop there more often if I could get in. I don't think this is the fault of TJs as much as I do the builders of these plazas where I live. It is a problem if there is no place to park though. I have tried to shop there many different times of the day and different days but it doesn't seem to matter when I go. Our store is very small. I don't know how big or little other stores are because I have only been to mine. It is so small that you cannot comfortably browse the aisles and stop to look at something in the freezer section, produce, etc.. because there is always someone who is trying to get into there too. This happens even during hours that would be considered the slower hours. 

 

When I shop I usually shop at more than one store. Iget my paper products and cleaning supplies at Costco, I get my fruits and veg mainly from my CSA but do get things they don't have at other stores. I don't get my fruits and veg from TJ because they just don't have the best quality like they do at other stores. I don't know if that is just my store or others too. I also don't mind that I can't get everything I need there because Iike I said I do shop at Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Aldis and Costco and I get certain things from each store that I like but I could never get all my grocery needs at TJs, not even close to it. Maybe about 40% or so. They don't have all the fish, meat, breads, frozen items, etc.. that I need. When I shopped at Wegmans I could get nearly every food item I needed there. It doesn't make me like TJs any less but that with the difficulty of getting a parking place, not being able to browse without being in someones way or someone being in mine just makes it not as appealing to me. Now I don't mind parking and then walking but most of the time an available parking place is on the complete other side of the plaza which is close to a quarter of a mile away. That is difficult when I have my grandson because there are no cart corrals over in that area. 

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
JFK
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,688
Registered: ‎03-15-2014

Re: Trader Joe's - America's Favorite Grocery Store

I've shopped in CA and agree that roads can be stressful, and the supermarkets are nothing to write home about.  But here (on the East Coast) we have many beautiful stress-free options with very good service - Wegmans is one, and they've upped the ante for others.  Publix is also very good.  They generally have more than enough parking, large well-stocked produce, good service, etc.  For me and others I know, TJ's is a specialty store - interesting things, especially frozen - but not a regular supermarket.  From talking with others, I think TJ stores are quite a bit different on the West Coast.  Here, TJ's produce section is about 1/10 the size of that in a supermarket (if that) and actually not very alluring compared to what we find at, for example, Wegmans.

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