Posted by: GeekHiker | June 10, 2009

Room To Spare

I stopped at Trader Joe’s tonight.  I hadn’t been to this one in a few months; it’s closer to me, but there’s another on the way home from work that I’ve been favoring of late.  You know, that whole “combining errands” thing people always talk about.

Apparently, at some point in the past few months, they re-designed the place.  It was weird.

For those not in the know: Trader Joe’s are traditionally crampt.  Twice the store in half the floorspace seems to be the motto of the day.

This store was different.  Things were in a logical order.  Aisles were wider.  The alcohol section was laid out nicely.  You could pass another cart in the aisle.  Hell, you could pass by a cart in the aisle with room to spare.

It was an odd experience, to say the least.

Honestly, it felt like I’d crossed some other strange dimension.  “Wait, a Trader Joe’s in which one does not feel like they’re moving their shopping cart through a stuffed closet?  That’s not right.  Say, why are there sleestaks* in the frozen food section?”

Thankfully I was brought back to reality soon enough.  Upon leaving the store, I had to navigate the parking lot.

Not just any ‘ol parking lot, mind you.  The traditional Trader Joe’s style parking lot: tight, tiny, and over-packed.  A lot that could only have been dreampt up by the most sadistic of minds.  The type of parking lot that takes up Levels 6-8 of Dante’s Hell.

Yep, it was a Trader Joe’s parking lot, and it sucked.  So I knew all was still right with the world.


* They recommended the orange chicken, if you were curious.



  1. I love TJ — I just wish they had more and fresh(er) produce!

  2. Ha, you described TJ perfectly, especially the ill-designed parking lot. TJ’s is a fairly new entity up here in MN, the first one arrived maybe 3 years ago, but they are trying to squeeze another one where there isn’t really room, nor anyplace to put a parking lot, but MN’s uptight liquor laws will probably put the kibosh on that plan.

  3. what is this mysterious thing called a parking lot that you speak of? i’m used to lugging the groceries back from TJ on the subway. that’s probably why i don’t go there as much as i’d like.

  4. I marvel at how people talk of this mysterious thing called an alcohol section. They don’t sell alcohol here in grocery stores.

    TJ has become the upscale yuppie thing to do around here. It’s so weird. I’ve been going for years, but somehow because they are expanding it’s been different. Yeah, I’ve had the experience of coming from TJ on the subway. Not fun. 🙂

  5. Oh how I love Trader Joes. The one in La Canada was expanded recently and I will drive out of my way to go to it as a result.

    I’ve wondered about that orange chicken – I’ll have to give it a try. I’m a fan of the frozen gnocchi, myself.

  6. Please don’t tease. There is no TJ in Austin. Where’s an alcoholic supposed to swig on her $2 wine?? Maybe you should get one of those smart cars to drive in and outside the store.

  7. i’ve heard of the Trader Joe’s where one can walk in straight lines. I thought it was just an urban legend. Are you really sure the check out guy didn’t have a hook for a hand under his hawaiian shirt?

  8. K – I’m surprised to hear that. The produce is pretty fresh down here…

    S’dizzle – Putting one where there isn’t really room? That’s perfect for a TJ’s!

    BlakSpring – What is this mysterious thing called the subway you speak of? Is that one of those crazy public transit things you east-coasters use?

    CripKitty – Really? Thought that was only Utah. As for the yuppies, they’ve long since moved on to Whole Foods here in LA.

    Mel Heth – It’s quite good, actually. Served with sticky rice it’s tasty.

    TheCoconutDiaries – No two-buck-chuck? My sympathies!

    Hebba – I choose not to look that closely…

  9. So apparently La Canada is not in Canadia. Hmph. You guys get all the good stuff. If I had three wishes, I would ask for Target, Victoria’s Secret and The Olive Garden. Mmm, breadsticks!

  10. Two things.

    One. As a child I used to love standing in the toy section at Shopper’s Mart. I was not allowed to touch any of the toys, or take them home. But I could stare at them for hours. And dream. These days the same is true for the whiskey section at Trader Joe’s.

    Two. Speaking as a married man. I am fascinated by the women who shop at Trader Joes. Also, I am not allowed to touch any of them, or take them home.

  11. I love Trader Joes. I pine for Trader Joes. The nearest TJ to me is, un, 700 miles away. My friends in Seattle ship the triple ginger cookies and the chocolat covered bing cherries and tapanade and veggie sticks to me. I need a new shipment.

  12. Mrs Chuck Bartowski – Wait, you want Target?

    Phil – *laughing* At least you’re allowed to look.

    Kori – Well, they’re spreading like wildfire, so soon enough…

  13. YES! YES! YES! What sane woman doesn’t want Tarjay??

  14. Sorry, I don’t get it. The two, count them two, times I went in a Trader Joes, I left empty handed and shaking my head. I guess I’m not a foodie or something. I just don’t get it.

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