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January 10, 2007

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Great article, and I think you've hit on that magic "Trader Joe's" element that makes it cool to go to TJ's. For a while they had a very minimal web site to go along with their individualistic nature; they've re-launched in the past year with more information (nutritional labels, bell ringing explanation) but without lots of useless features (shop at home, games).

I love me TJ's, but this:

Trader Joe's crew members are
astonishingly swift, efficient, and
good-natured

Whoa, one of three at my local outlet, and it ain't swift or efficient. In fact, I suspect that it's corporate philosophy to yack up the customers, and one of the very few experiences that gives me pause about going to TJ's is standing in line while a checker has _stopped bagging groceries_ to chat with a customer ahead of you. Oy.

That said, when The Son was looking for seasonal work, he casually asked a checker about applying and got an enthusiastic pitch for working at TJ's. Apparently the employees -- or that employee, anyway -- like working there.

Anyway, an aside to your keen insights about the TJ's brand, which seem right on. When the first one opened close by, the parking lot was filled with cars that had CA tabs. :-)

Mike--I should have added "Your mileage may vary." I've shopped at TJ's in five California cities and always found the service exemplary. But that's the Golden State, y'know--hustle, hustle, hustle! You've heard the expression "in an L.A. minute," right? Wait...maybe I'm thinking of another major metropolitan area.

I love TJ's - if only they'd expand into a bigger building. The most local one here is impossible to navigate without crashing grocery carts.

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