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OmahaBlueDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 07:18 PM
Original message
Today, we went to Trader Joes for the first time
Mrs. OBD thought it was expensive.

I wan't sure I could see what all the fuss was about.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. I like their vitamins, olive oils, and wines
and nuts, and chocolates, and fresh fruits/veggies, and cookies, and frozen foods.

And chips. And dairy.

I guess I do like TJs.
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VermeerLives Donating Member (287 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Me, too
TJ's is a great place to get olive oil, dried fruits, and nuts. I've also found good prices on some of the fresh fruit as well. Fresh flowers are also a good buy. I don't do the bulk of my shopping there, however.
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. ooo yeah, the olive oil
Edited on Sun Mar-27-11 01:14 PM by stuntcat
it's a good deal compared to the grocery store.

There are a few things I'll buy only from Trader Joe's now because they're a lot cheaper there. I never feel like what I get there is expensive (more expensive than the grocery store, I mean) :shrug:

Their fruit juice is more expensive than at Giant though, so I just don't buy it from TJ's.
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LawnKorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. It is hard to park
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. I find the prices about the same as my local grocery stores
plus more healthy choices
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. Go to the cheese section
They have a sharp english cheddar with carmalized onions... It's like freakin crack.

Also, they have the best fresh salsa in the world.

oh... and an artichoke pasta sauce that kicks some serious ass.

Damn, don't forget the fruit ice pops, heavenly.

ok, I'll stop now :D
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #4
32. The cheese section is fabulous
and agreed about the cheddar w/caramelized onions. :9

TJ's cheese prices range from 30-60% less per pound than the high-end grocery store 1.5 miles away in my part of SW Minneapolis.
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Howdy neighbor.
We find TJ's much lower in cost than Lund's, but with equal quality.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. Back atcha!
Edited on Wed Mar-30-11 09:13 AM by hifiguy
:hi:

I just about fell out of my shoes when I saw the cheese prices at Lund's last weekend. I have no problem paying good money for top-shelf items, but $16-25/lb for cheeses, some of which were fairly ordinary, shocked me.

On everything I've ever tried from them TJ's quality is second to none.
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denbot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. Before we started roasting our own coffee, TJ's has the best for least.
Pre-ground or use the grinder at the store. Try their ice cream. All kinds of good quality products.
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hibbing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. Hey Neighbor
Hi,
Did you just one up there in Omaha? Got one here in Lincoln recently, I have not been to it yet although people at work rave about it. At least you have a Whole Wallet there, I mean Whole Foods.

Peace

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peacefreak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
8. just making out my shopping list for next trip.
Let's see...
bagels
chipolte hummus
horseradish hummus
falafel
crystallized ginger
and
Two Buck Chuck!
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blueamy66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Isn't it $3 now?
:-)

My boss buys it by the case.
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blueamy66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
10. Do you have a Sprouts in your area?
I live in AZ....love Sprouts...
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Monique1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Don't know where you live blue in Az
but I now buy my meats at Midwestern market. I just ordered a bundle to suit my needs and they deliver also. The best meats ever.
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blueamy66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. in Mesa, no?
I've heard good things about it. Never been there, but have planned to do so for years. Now I think I'll go.

I'm in Chandler....close enough. :-)


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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
11. For me, it's about finding several unique items here and there
I go in there and sometimes see people with shopping carts that are full, up over the top in a mound, and I don't get it either.

They have things like a small "Margherita" fresh...not frozen...pizza with the fresh basil leaves in a little plastic envelope. You take this thing home and put it in the oven and it tastes like a "real" pizza.

Other things, here and there...a lot of the frozen food they advertise in the flyer sounds great, is expensive, and you get it home and it's crap.

There are two local family-owned markets, Lunardi's and Zanotto's, that pretty much kick their ass on everything else.

Trader Joe's is like Whole Foods...to a degree, there's a "cult of personality" thing among the regulars. They all look like they're going to drive home to the same house. I shop there three, four times a year...tops.
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Lindsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. Well, I'm one of those who shops at T.J.'s every week. In fact
Edited on Sun Mar-27-11 01:41 PM by Lindsey
almost every one I know does their major shopping there. IMO, at least as far shopping in L.A. goes, Trader's is in many cases less expensive than the average grocery store. I also disagree w/another poster (just my opinion) regarding their frozen dinners. I think they're very, very tasty and very reasonably priced. I do admit that some of the offbeat food they offer are things I now consider normal (Hummas, Vegetable Pad Thai, etc.). I've never been one to enjoy grocery shopping - but at Trader's, I just feel better when I'm there. There's always good music playing (which definitely makes the experience kind of fun) and the people, staff and fellow shoppers, are almost always pleasant and friendly. It's one of the few times I go into a store (other a book store) where I actually feel better when I come out than when I go in.
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. people seem happy there- workers and customers
love when the employees start singing along with various tunes on the loud-speakers. They have cool frozen dishes, good breads and stuff you can't find anywhere else, including dried chile mangos. (swoon) It's a very nice atmosphere and more relaxed than at Whole Foods- many customers at the WF I sometimes visit seem to have too strong an air of self-absorption. :D
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
13. lots of their stuff is less expensive than the grocery store
They buy some of the same products, packaged differently, but they buy less types from less companies. Like they'll have 6 types of rice instead of 30.

I go there every couple weeks since it's the closest store with free-range, organic chicken and my husband still eats meat. That's more expensive than Purdue of course. And some things can be expensive, but usually what we get is a little cheaper than if we'd got it at Giant.

My favorite thing there is the Indian Fare. That stuff costs a dollar more at the grocery store, and it's the exact same thing, from the same factory even.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
15. I pick and choose at TJs

Always buy:

no-fat cottage cheese -- it's just the best

no-fat pomegranate greek yogurt

"everything" crackers (great with the cottage cheese)

nuts & dried fruits

cheeses

vitamins and supplements

The things I do buy there are better quality and cheaper than elsewhere.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
18. It really depends on how you eat (and therefore what goes into your grocery cart.)
First off, it's unlikely to replace all of your grocery shopping at the big chains. Trader Joe's does have very good prices for what it sells and many products are consistently cheaper than the name brands at full service supermarkets. Their prices may or may not be better than similar low cost varieties however.

Where they pretty much always win the contest is on the prices for expensive 'gourmet' items like cheeses, olives, olive oil, nuts, coffee, tea, wine, and on organic foods.

I have several friends who had similar reactions to yours after one visit and if I know that they do favor organics or the like I've encouraged them to try again. Because it isn't a big supermarket with everything it takes a couple of trips to figure out how it works for the type of shopping you do.
Then again, some people just don't see the point in adding it to their grocery shopping circuit.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-11 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. Depends on the product
Trader Joe's orange juice, eggs, cheeses and their Tuscan Pane bread cost quite a bit less than similar products in our area grocery stores. Morningstar Farms veggie breakfast sausages are less expensive at Trader Joe's too. Of course grocery stores in the suburbs of Washington DC are pricier than in my former home state, New Jersey, so the price comparisons will vary depending on where you live.
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
20. I love TJ's. Except for 3 Buck Upchuck!
Great wine selection. But that Charles Shaw is pure garbage. Affordable cheeses. And I've been buying their pizza dough lately. I used to make my own, but why? Theirs is pretty darn good.
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
22. I generally like TJ's, though I find their urban affectation very annoying
They refuse to open stores in smaller cities or towns for no reason I can easily discern. I'd have loved a TJ's around when I was in college, but their bias towards locating only in large cities or the suburbs of said large cities meant that the nearest TJ's was over three hours away.
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LibertyLover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #22
38. We have one in Annapolis, MD, which
is definitely a small city - the population is roughly 37,000.
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Hmm. I wonder why there are none near me then
There are NO TJ's in Illinois outside of the Chicago area, despite having several cities of over 50,000 (and a few over 100,000), and several markets where a TJ's would do EXTREMELY well. I always just assumed they had some stick up their ass about opening stores in "non-urban" markets. I mean, Annapolis is still fairly close to Baltimore/DC, right? At any rate... if Champaign-Urbana ever gets a TJ's then I'll be a happy camper :)
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LibertyLover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Have you tried contacting them?
You are correct that Annapolis is between Baltimore and DC. It's sort of a triangle to be honest. There are several others in Maryland as well - 8 or so. But none out in the western part of the state which is not densely populated, or as wealthy. Having gone to university in Chicago, I'm surprised there isn't one in the Champagne-Urbana area.
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Inspired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
23. I love the convenience of their frozen food.
It's great for people like me who are too lazy, or cooking challenged, to make myself. Their frozen steel cut oatmeal, brown rice, orange chicken are wonderful and not all that expensive.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
24. Trader Joes is less expensive, not more. You need to study it.
I've been going to TJs since 1979.

I could give you a long list of outstanding products they make ... but you are already set against it.
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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Much cheaper, better quality
I don't mind spending a little more on Nieman ranch meats, which they carry regularly, and their prices on it are quite good. On everything else - much cheaper than other stores.
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OmahaBlueDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. I only said I didn't see what the fuss was about
Mrs. OBD is pretty well set against it. She sees it as Whole Foods redux.

Their price for milk was about the same

Their price for organic brown eggs was higher than what I'm used to paying

Their price for bananas was "always" 0.19 ea. I didn't have the time on a brief Sunday afternoon visit to fiure what that comes to on a per lb basis.

The ganache cake looked lovely, but our oldest daughter has given up chocolate for lent, so I'll try that after Easter.

Within 5 miles we have two Super Walmarts, two Super Targets, Two Bakers (what we call Kroger out here), a regional chain called Fareway. Two HyVees, a Two Bag & Saves, and a Super Saver, and an Aldi (the parent of Trader Joe's). Competition breeds low prices, so I have no idea what you have as a basis of comparison for what constitutes "expensive".
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Inspired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 05:49 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. I shop at HyVee for most staples.
I love my HyVee's! Then I head over to Trader Joe's for the frozen convenience foods that love.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. Trader Joes is the poor man's gourmet store.
I don't necessarily go there for staple items, though we do buy them there. We now buy produce from a CSA and a local Asian market.

Trader Joes' strength is in packaged foods, which are usually are very high quality and relatively inexpensive. They are also made from very healthy ingredients.

It is vastly cheaper than Whole Paycheck, er, Whole Foods, which we also have in this area. We also have a large commercial chain called Giant; when the two stores carry the same product, TJs is very much cheaper. There are a wide array of gourmet items throughout the store for low prices. Our TJS stores are strictly grocery stores because of county liquor laws; TJs sells beer and wine other places.

It also depends on how you cook, for the kind of materials you look for. We are mostly vegetarian cooks, and do many different styles of ethnic cooking, rather than standard, traditional American fare.

We also don't have any of the big box food stores here
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OmahaBlueDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Giant ? You must be one of them there Warshingtonians
or a Bawelamorean. :)

I wil likely give TJs a second look. I do a lot of packaged foods, but we go to Costco a lot, where things are cheap -- assuming you want to buy a freezer-load.
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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. X
Edited on Tue Mar-29-11 05:02 PM by BOG PERSON
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
26. Not all Trader Joe's are created equal. The new one
in my area of So. Cal. is spacious and has a good selection. The older one nearby is cramped and tough to maneuver around in. I was in the one in Back Bay Boston as a tourist last summer. It was tiny and down a flight of stairs. I think your experience at any TJ's will depends on the individual store.
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
27. In my area, TJs is quite a bit LESS expensive than the normal grocery store
Edited on Mon Mar-28-11 09:59 PM by distantearlywarning
We go there all the time. I love their cheese selection and frozen stuff.

On Edit: I also appreciate the apparent happiness of their employees. The cashiers at the regular grocery store always seem sort of pathetic and beaten down by their corporate drudgery and enforced conformity. At TJs they all get to keep their purple hair and nose rings and are usually smiling and happy. I've even seen TJs employees dancing and singing while they stocked products - I'm not sure I even see normal grocery store employees crack a smile on a regular basis. It's worth shopping there just for that experience alone.

Also, they make this "cream yogurt" stuff which is shockingly inexpensive and tastes amazing, like dessert instead of yogurt. I don't even like yogurt generally and I'm salivating just thinking about Trader Joe's yogurt. Mmmmm....
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. +1...prices are less than or, no more than...
...the other corporate chains around the Los Angeles area.

About a year or so back, I heard one of the cashiers telling the guy in line ahead of me about the great working conditions, benefits and pension plan available for employees who worked, IIRC, at least seven years, sounded pretty decent to me.

Good products, good prices, good employee working conditions and benefits -- adds up to a great place to patronize.

Plus, the two nearest me have easy parking in large parking lots which existed before either location were Trader Joe stores. That's not always the case, as each location has different conditions for parking, dependent upon the physical layout and/or what was there before it.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
37. I have to echo so many other posters here.
We love Trader Joe's. There is always at least one bag of orange chicken in our freezer. Their Greek apricot-mango yogurt is one of the more delicious things we've ever eaten. We loved the frozen beef bourguignon. They have a cream of portobello soup that makes GREAT sauces for other items (homemade chicken pot pie,) and I enjoy prowling around in their wine section. If you're lucky enough to be at TJ's during the holidays, they carry unbelievably good sea salt dark chocolate caramels for $5 a box. I'll be loading up on those for the inevitable "bring a gift for less than $10" parties.

I gave a chocolate and champagne reception for a group of women at the professional conference I go to every year. It was tough to choose what I was going to buy, so one of the employees took a few of their candy varieties off the shelf, opened them up, let me try them, and passed them around to everyone else in the candy aisle as well. Let's face it, that would NEVER happen in another grocery store.

I also have to agree with the others who mentioned how great TJ's employees are. It's rare to go into any grocery store and see employees smiling and having fun while doing a great job for the customers.
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