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Thread: Trader Joe's question

  1. #1
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    Trader Joe's question

    I am headed to California to see my family soon and want to know if there are must have non perishable Trader Joe's items that I NEED to bring back with me to Colorado. Flying so it has to be able to be packed in a suitcase or shipped, so no two buck chuck.
    I have been to a couple of stores....but not enough to know what is good besides the monster dark chocolate bars!
    Cindy

  2. #2
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    I am not the TJ's fan that a lot of the BBers are, but I would say the season is on your side . Those peppermint Jo-Jo's cookies are a seasonal delight, as are the salted pretzel thins, with dark chocolate coating. I'm not even a chocolate freak, and I love those two items!
    I do shop there, but there's nothing I would knock myself out to pack for an airline flight. Since the stores aren't that big, I think you should stroll the aisles and let your instincts guide you.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  3. #3
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    We really like Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend. But only if I make it with chicken broth, when I made it with water my kids weren't impressed. It is a mixture of Israeli couscous and other grains.
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  4. #4
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    I love their parmesan cheese croutons and their Cat Cookies (they are for humans).
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  5. #5
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    I would get some nuts or dried fruit--the prices are pretty good and those things are easy to pack.
    For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once.

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  6. #6
    The unsalted, dry-toasted, slivered almonds are good and easy to pack. As are the dried cherries. They also have good prices on cheese. And cheese travels very well. Unrelated to TJ's but I brought a few blocks of cheese home from the Tillamook factory a few years back. Just packed them in my suitcase and they handled the 2.5 hour flight, baggage handling, etc. just fine.

  7. #7
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    Chocolate covered almonds sprinkled with sea salt!
    "I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb -- and I'm also not blonde."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    I am not the TJ's fan that a lot of the BBers are, but I would say the season is on your side . Those peppermint Jo-Jo's cookies are a seasonal delight, as are the salted pretzel thins, with dark chocolate coating. I'm not even a chocolate freak, and I love those two items!
    I do shop there, but there's nothing I would knock myself out to pack for an airline flight. Since the stores aren't that big, I think you should stroll the aisles and let your instincts guide you.
    I share Canice's general opinion. I don't love TJ's like others on the BB do - I find it crowded, cramped, difficult to find things, and generally hard to shop there. But I will always make a special trip to TJ's during the holiday season for Peppermint Jo-Jo's.

  9. #9
    I always pick up a 3 or 4 bags of dried white peaches grown in California. They are the best and are much better than the peaches I can find in my grocery store. I chop one peach slice up and add it and a little brown sugar to plain yogurt.

  10. #10

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by aggie94 View Post
    I share Canice's general opinion. I don't love TJ's like others on the BB do - I find it crowded, cramped, difficult to find things, and generally hard to shop there. But I will always make a special trip to TJ's during the holiday season for Peppermint Jo-Jo's.
    Wow.

    Years ago, I remember being a solo act on this stage.

    Welcome to the troupe.

    PS my only reasons for braving TJ's is for inexpensive and good Kona coffee and the large-sized Tiger Milk bars. Otherwise, I avoid the place.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail View Post
    Wow.

    Years ago, I remember being a solo act on this stage.

    Welcome to the troupe.

    PS my only reasons for braving TJ's is for inexpensive and good Kona coffee and the large-sized Tiger Milk bars. Otherwise, I avoid the place.
    Once upon a time, I was a big TJ's fan. Not sure what changed - maybe my patience level? Anyway, I will still stop in there from time to time, but rarely do I make a special trip over there anymore.

    I've become a HUGE fan of Fresh & Easy, and I find myself wishing TJ's was more like F&E - bright, airy, wide aisles, well-organized, and easy to find stuff. I think I liked TJ's more before F&E came along.

  12. #12
    As TJ's isn't quite close enough for us to go frequently, we go maybe once every month or 2 and stock up. Works pretty well doing it that way. The one we go to is in a crazy shopping mall with absolutely the worst parking imaginable. There is an empty building (retail space) about a mile from our house that would be an awesome spot for a TJ's, great parking, large space, but so far our town's lobbying efforts aren't working. The space might be too large for TJ's.

  13. #13
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    Peppermint Joe-Joe's for sure, and the roasted rosemary Marcona almonds.
    Last edited by oct2189; 12-07-2009 at 05:20 PM.
    Jill

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    ...The one we go to is in a crazy shopping mall with absolutely the worst parking imaginable....
    Unfortunately, a key part of their business strategy is to go into low-end strip malls (i.e., grab the cheapest real estate convenient to their target market) and lousy parking seems to be part and parcel. Remember this funny "If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's"? It's from a local video production company (featuring the parking lot of my nearest TJ's! One that has had the neighbors complaining for, oh, over a decade. It's a stand-alone store and the line of cars to get into the lot ties up evening commute traffic. Grrr!)
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Unfortunately, a key part of their business strategy is to go into low-end strip malls (i.e., grab the cheapest real estate convenient to their target market) and lousy parking seems to be part and parcel.
    Yeah, I'm not sure if this one is considered a low end strip mall as it's in La Jolla which is a very expensive part of San Diego. But it does seem that all of their stores are very similar in size, on the smallish side.
    They'll probably never put it in the mall near our house as the parking is too easy and the building is too big, darn it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure if this one is considered a low end strip mall as it's in La Jolla which is a very expensive part of San Diego. But it does seem that all of their stores are very similar in size, on the smallish side.
    They'll probably never put it in the mall near our house as the parking is too easy and the building is too big, darn it.
    Low end strip mall in La jolla - the very idea!
    Anyway, there was a huge Federated store that was empty for a while after they went out of business. They just opened up a portion of it to be a Trader Joe's, so maybe there's hope for you.
    Jill

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by oct2189 View Post
    Low end strip mall in La jolla - the very idea!
    Anyway, there was a huge Federated store that was empty for a while after they went out of business. They just opened up a portion of it to be a Trader Joe's, so maybe there's hope for you.
    Wow, here's hoping!

  18. #18
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    That's interesting. The parking lot for the two Trader Joe's closest to me are plenty big and parking is never a problem. I guess I should count my blessings. And now that I work from home, I usually go over there on a lunch hour and shopping is a breeze.

    I like the parmesan crisps, the garlic croutons, the lacey cookies, orangina drink, chocolate covered orange or raspberry gels, different of their spiced nuts . . .

    I do agree, that you could wander around and see what catches your eye. I tend to buy more things from the refrigerated and freezer sections than I do from the shelves.
    Theresa & Gigi & Anisette & Enchante & Le Beau Ouiseaux Rouge

  19. #19
    I'm on Gail and Canice's side on this one. While I used to love TJ's, I am no longer as enamored with the store. And my store just went through a major renovation to make the aisles wider and the store brighter/roomier plus the parking has never been a problem. So that is not my complaint. My "beefs" with the store is the stocking of items and the constant turnover of products. While on the one hand, I understand their marketing strategy in terms of discontinuing items, but it is so frustrating to get "hooked" on things there and then either have them discontinued or have problems keeping items in stock. That being said, I do still go there periodically, but my advice would be to get items that appeal to you that you absolutely can't get back home, especially if space is limited. For example, yes there price/quality on nuts and dried fruits is great and I personally buy most of my nuts there, but most of these things you can likely get back home as well. So splurge on those unique things that you can't get back home. Just my long winded 2 cents!

    Karen

    And I guess I am the odd ball here that does not like Peppermint Jo Jo's!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by karen w View Post
    And I guess I am the odd ball here that does not like Peppermint Jo Jo's!
    Well I'm willing to be a dissenter on some things, but that's just plain subversive!

    Hamm, I just meant that generally they go for the best bargoon they can get on rent, relative to the market, and that often includes limited or awkward parking lots. There's that huge WF in Napa, though, with TJ's and Cost Plus next door; that could make life easier!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Hamm, I just meant that generally they go for the best bargoon they can get on rent, relative to the market, and that often includes limited or awkward parking lots. There's that huge WF in Napa, though, with TJ's and Cost Plus next door; that could make life easier!
    Oh, I know what you meant and I agree. I imagine the rent where this one is located isn't too bad. It's a pretty big mall.
    It's interesting that there is a WF and World Market near this one also.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie94 View Post
    I share Canice's general opinion. I don't love TJ's like others on the BB do
    DH and I really expected to like TJ's after reading the posts from all the fans here (and his sister buys all kinds of stuff there), but we really haven't been impressed with anything they offer. The canned and bottled goods I've purchased have swelled or broken seals within a month or two, and too many of their products are "from away"; countries that we are not necessarily comfortable with because of our concern over quality/environmental/sanitary controls. Many of their pet food products we looked at just a year ago were still sourced in China.

    Now, go to an HEB here in Texas and we probably have dozens of store brand things we could recommend (and miss here in the DFW where we don't have regular HEBs - yet)

    Michelle

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    It's interesting that there is a WF and World Market near this one also.
    Oh that *is* interesting. Judging by some of the latest locations to open, I was wondering whether they were becoming a little less draconian in their search for cheap real estate. Like perhaps the proximity to WF might result in sales increases that offset the higher rent? But Cost Plus has a MUCH bigger wine selection. (I'm really, really glad I'm not an industry analyst! )
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie94 View Post
    Once upon a time, I was a big TJ's fan. Not sure what changed - maybe my patience level? Anyway, I will still stop in there from time to time, but rarely do I make a special trip over there anymore.

    I've become a HUGE fan of Fresh & Easy, and I find myself wishing TJ's was more like F&E - bright, airy, wide aisles, well-organized, and easy to find stuff. I think I liked TJ's more before F&E came along.
    Some of the TJs have been remodeled and now seem more spacious. I've only been to ones in the west valley (I can't 'find' the one that is on Camelback - I know approx where it is but haven't seen the actual store). I try to shop during the day during the week and then the stores are mostly empty. And I shop there weekly, so I know where everything is located, but yes, its NOT organized so it makes sense.

    Fresh and Easy is great for quick trips - its so easy to get in and out. Love their nuts, granola, premade meals, small packages of veggies. HATE their quality of meat and fish.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Oh that *is* interesting. Judging by some of the latest locations to open, I was wondering whether they were becoming a little less draconian in their search for cheap real estate. Like perhaps the proximity to WF might result in sales increases that offset the higher rent? But Cost Plus has a MUCH bigger wine selection. (I'm really, really glad I'm not an industry analyst! )
    And on top of the WF and World Market, this TJ's shares a wall with a Ralph's grocery store directly next door.

  26. #26
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    Thanks for the ideas so far! The TJ's is in Redding so I am sure it is a smaller store. A coworker of mine has a list of stuff for me to pick up for her already lol. Peppermint shampoo and some kind of candied ginger she likes. It will just be something fun to do while visiting family. Trader Joes-Check. In and Out Burger-Check. Sundial Bridge-Check.

  27. #27

    Cool

    With all due respect for Cindy, I really didn't mean to start up an anti-TJ band here on your thread for suggestions-- which was why I did mention the couple of things I still get there.

    I've just had such a history of them discontinuing and discontinuing, it's just not worth the annoyance factor of dealing with crowds and bad parking to go there much. (mind you, I am in an enviable position, having no less than 5 TJs within 15 minutes of my house in all directions. Isn't fate an odd thing?)

  28. #28
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    Oh, I used to use their shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel! I forgot about that - cheap and good.
    None of their stores I've been in (ten?) is very big, so I don't know that there's a lot of variation as far as size goes - I'm sure Redding is just fine. Have fun shopping!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanaSD View Post
    Some of the TJs have been remodeled and now seem more spacious. I've only been to ones in the west valley (I can't 'find' the one that is on Camelback - I know approx where it is but haven't seen the actual store). I try to shop during the day during the week and then the stores are mostly empty. And I shop there weekly, so I know where everything is located, but yes, its NOT organized so it makes sense.

    Fresh and Easy is great for quick trips - its so easy to get in and out. Love their nuts, granola, premade meals, small packages of veggies. HATE their quality of meat and fish.
    I've never had any problems with the quality of meat at F&E, but their variety is pretty limited. I don't think I've ever bought fish there.

    The TJ's at Camelback Colonnade actually faces 20th Street and is in the same shopping center as My Sister's Closet and some type of gym (24-Hour Fitness maybe?) that always has the parking lot jam packed. That's actually the one I was thinking of that is typically crowded and difficult to maneuver.

  30. #30
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    The sugar scrub is really nice (and cheap too) if you are looking at personal care.
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

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