Five things I really don't like about Trader Joe's

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It's not a Joe-topia....
For years, Trader Joe's- deprived Coloradans wondered when this retail shopping mecca would bless our state. This week we learned that we would soon have an embarrassment of riches: The metro area will soon have not three but four stores, all slated to open some time in 2014. That still gives customers time to anticipate the wonders ahead -- and the developers an opportunity to fix a few of the problems you find at just about every Trader Joe's. Yes, even I, one of the worst most loyal, brain-glazed Trader Joe's cult members, can find fault with the mother church.

Here are five things I really don't like about Trader Joe's -- an embarrassment of bitches. The endless samples of asparagus risotto and Dixie cups of chai latte make up for a lot, but not everything.

See also: - Five reasons Colorado will benefit from getting Trader Joe's...finally

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5. Part-timer employee health care going...going...gone

Trader Joe's offering affordable health-care coverage to its part-time employees was one of the major things that set TJ's apart from other food retailers with less exalted reputations, but according to a leaked staff memo dated August 30, 2013, Trader Joe's will no longer be providing health care for workers employed under 30 hours a week. According to the memo, Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane says the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January 2014, and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. TJ's will continue to offer health benefits to employees who work 30 hours a week or more, but the rest of the lot are shit outta luck.

Congratulations, Trader Joe's: The $500 check is nice and all, but what would be much nicer for your workers is to not cave in to Wal-Mart-style worker disregard and keep them in health insurance.

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4. There is never, ever a big enough parking lot.

For those of you who have never had to navigate a Trader Joe's parking lot, here's a free tip: If you think the lot at Whole Foods is a demilitarized zone, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Yoga moms and soccer dads turn feral the second they hit the lot, and their fuel-efficient hybrid cars are set to kill -- not stun. You could be beaten about the head and neck with a fake Gucci handbag over the last shopping cart, or have a half-empty water bottle full of Crystal Light hurled at you for daring to scope a parking spot someone is already casing. And watching someone try to park a Chevy Trailblazer into the crevice between the store wall and the bicycle rack is almost as much fun as trying to do it yourself.

If you are smart and pack a rolling cart on the bus to travel there and back, then crack open an organic cane-sugar-sweetened soda, sit back and watch the madness with the Benny Hill song on your iPod.

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3. It does rather reek of smug inside TJ's.

If the parking lot at Trader Joe's whiffs of suburban anarchy, then the inside of the store gives off the unmistakable odor of smugness -- not the everyday, recognizable smug of folks who brought their own biodegradable shopping bags, but the ripe, putrid stench of smug that is normally reserved for wine drinkers and PTA members. If you've never had a conversation by the cheese island about how public school lunches and why over-privileged tots deserve goat cheese medallions, prickly pear juice and 27-grain artisan crackers, then the pleasure will truly be all yours.

And if you value your version of reality, try not to spend too much time chatting with other shoppers in the beauty and hygiene aisle. The smug alert is usually at higher levels over the health benefits of using the 27-grain toilet paper.

Location Info

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Trader Joe's

790 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: General

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60 comments
MisterAK47
MisterAK47

btw, Great Value MILK is ONLY 99 Cents @ the Stapleton Wal-Mart @ Smith Rd. & QUEBEC (per 1/2 gallon = $1.98 per gallon) &Trader Joe's CAN'T touch that & SINCE Wal-Mart SELLS Ammo - it seems to WARD AWAY the Yupsters who are TOLD to HATE Wal Mart & Love Trader Joe's, because the Sheeple can't DECIDE for themselves !!!

MisterAK47
MisterAK47

BUT LIBERAL 'Hipsters' SIMPLY MUST be SEEN @ Trader Joe's, because their Leftist Obama-Media TELLS them it's the HIP PLACE to go !!!

Bickette
Bickette

Worried about parking?  Take the locally sourced public transportation that goes past the store on Colorado Boulevard in Denver.  And it's a great location for people to bike through neighborhoods and get there.

dtaggert
dtaggert

An exile from LA checking in. I started shopping at the Trader Joe's in Culver City, CA over 30 years ago. All my subsequent years in LA, it was TJ's I'd go to most often, because their combination of locally-sourced, low-priced, healthy food was (& is) a no-brainer. When my partner & I were thinking about moving to Baja CA in the 80's, I made a list of Pro's & Con's. The #1 Con? No Trader Joe's!!

So yes, all the problems pointed out in this article exist. But that (along with the VERY long checkout lines) is part of TJ's eccentric charm. 

I had to live without Trader Joe's for a decade, during my sojourns in NM & CO. Now that I'm in DC, I travel across the entire city (by public transportation no less!) to go to our town's Joe. Yeah, it's a 5 hour trek, so I only do it once a month, but it's such a RELIEF to live where TJ's does business again!


cocomontalto
cocomontalto

I have frequented to Trader Joe's in five different states and I have never seen one even halfway as crowded as the ones that are pictured in this article -- even on Christmas Eve and before summer holiday weekends. 

WillieStortz
WillieStortz topcommenter

Trader Joes = The IKEA of grocery stores


Pre-packaged crap for people without taste.

GentlyStirred
GentlyStirred

Wont step through the door - will leave more space for the peeps.

JimTom
JimTom

Oh boy that looks like fun! Crowded in with people I would never talk with to purchased over-priced over-hyped hipster feed.

ABroad
ABroad

Trader Joes is targeted at people who are looking for a more wholesome alternative to the big industry prepared foods, but still like the convenience. And who are unwilling or unable to pay the absurd prices of retailers like Whole Foods. If you are a dedicated devotee of vegan, gluten free, macrobiotic, raw food, master cleanse.....whatever the latest boutique fashion of 'healthy' (read exclusive and EXPENSIVE) food trend is, then even Whole Foods is probably too commercial for you. For those of us who prefer not to eat antibiotics in our meat, sulfites in our cold-cuts, and still want to enjoy a frozen pizza and chips without taking out a mortgage to pay for our groceries, Trader Joe's is our alternative grocery store. If it doesn't measure up to your exacting requirements- stay out! Leaves more parking for those of us who 'get it'.

AceRanchero
AceRanchero

I think I finally get it. For those folks who "love" Trader Joe's and "can't wait" until they get opened in Denver: they don't want to shop for groceries, they want to go to Food Disneyland  for frozen potstickers and really crappy $3 wine. Instead of of Mickey and Minnie they get Brad from Congress Park wearing a Hawaiian Shirt. Let's all sing a song… "it's a small, small [market] after all…"

DanWinter
DanWinter

I'd think 27 grain toilet paper would chaffe.  I'd rather go with quilted double-ply.  Thanks for the update Jen.

Helena 'Lani' Rasor
Helena 'Lani' Rasor

Wow. A LOT of companies don't provide benefits for part time employees, and while its fantastic that they once went above and beyond by bucking the trend, in the end they are a company with a bottom line. I don't think asking an employee to work 30 hours (which at last check was still considered part time in most sectors) in order to get healthcare is that terrible. I'll still shop there when I'm in town and continue to support the brand.

Mary Maybee
Mary Maybee

Wow, people are downer 's here! Let's welcome Trader Joe's!

David McWaters
David McWaters

I won't shop at Trader Joe's when they open in Denver for the reason of greed instead of healthcare..

James Gold
James Gold

The smugness does suck. I mean, there's only so much a Hawaiian shirt can do for someone.

Kimberly Jackson
Kimberly Jackson

Does Jenn actually like anything? The novelty of her being put off by everything under the sun wore off months ago...

Carly Valverde
Carly Valverde

or I could bike there since I live a few blocks away:)

Dave Rossi
Dave Rossi

Not sure the narrative here is working out in favor of the anti-obamacare people: the hysteria affected one TJ part timer, but found she would pay LESS not more. The problem is people think it's free because they don't pay attention to their pay stubs. It isn't and never was. That's the while reason for it. http://thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com/c/34726/f/638927/s/311ae577/sc/22/l/0Lthinkprogress0Borg0Chealth0C20A130C0A90C110C260A24310Ctrader0Ejoes0Eobamacare0Ecoverage0C/story01.htm

Shayne Barrett
Shayne Barrett

And when they open it.... you will have to sit in traffic and stand in line for a week to get in. They could not have picked a worse spot to build it. :/

Joe Felice
Joe Felice

Lived without it for 63 years. Guess I'll make it a few more.

Josh Barrack
Josh Barrack

Give me a break. They just announced that they won't be able to offer health benefits to PT workers who work

Brad Suther
Brad Suther

I specifically went to a TJ's on a business trip to see what all the fuss was about and I was not impressed. I try to eat healthy and I found TJ's to be focused on prepackaged and frozen food. I hope all the locations take the stress off some of the local Whole Foods. I'll check out a local TJ's once and head back to WF.

Patty Leidy
Patty Leidy

that put me off to no end..and them coming to my backyard practically

Jon Severson
Jon Severson

You need to find better writers. Seems like every post these days starts with "Writer has complaints". Trader Joe's is a fantastic company. Gets good food at reasonable prices to people who can't afford Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.

Kimberly B Stone
Kimberly B Stone

This is like the 4th anti TJ's article I've seen. What's the motivation? Someone get a bribe?

bigtentent
bigtentent

Sorry.  You're a Denverite.  You're used to Ironic Smugness.  Real smugness bums you out.  Other, less trendy, and annoying people kind of like it.   I'm from SF, via LA/Venice/Pasadena, the home of TJs- sure they make little jokes that require you to have a little knowledge.  That's OK. The excellence of the faire makes it acceptable for them to tease.  They know only self centered windbags will raise a fuss.  The rest of humanity just wants a nice, clean well-lit place to buy good food at non-extortionate prices.  I expect even the most ironic hipsters (other than the writer) will come to appreciate TJs.  Folks around here who aren't hopelessly self righteous will just jet in and get out with a Cheap but Tasty red wine here and a delightful sauce there, and forget this whiner ever whinged.  It's really the only thing CO lacked.  Now y'all are just about perfect- and if TJs can bring CO beers back to CA?   It's cray, dogg.

Brent Miller
Brent Miller

TJ coming to Colorado! Sweet, I can't wait, I'm excited!!

GFTW
GFTW

"Scrooge McDick"

I see what you did there! Hey, what specifically are the 27 grains in their crackers and toilet paper?

Mary Dowling
Mary Dowling

Wow! Here I was thinking that Joe's walks on water...color me heartbroken. :(

Carly Valverde
Carly Valverde

nope! I love TJ's! cannot wait for them to complete with the building here in boulder:)

yodownmuthalicka
yodownmuthalicka

@WillieStortz Really poor comparison. First off, grocery stores and furniture stores have about as much in common as treadmills and Honda Civics do. But, obviously, an educated person would never attempt to compare those two things either... correct? 

cocomontalto
cocomontalto

@JimTomI have frequented Trader Joe's in five different states and I have never seen one even halfway as crowded as the ones that are pictured in this article -- even on Christmas Eve and before summer holiday weekends. FYI: Trader Joe's is actually quite affordable; I think you are confusing TJ's with Whole Foods as most would after reading this highly exaggerated article. P.S. Since when is eating consciously considered "hipster?" I guess I've been a "hipster" (by your definition) since before they were described as such. Oh, yeah, and who goes to the grocery store to "talk with" people anyway? I certainly don't.  

ABroad
ABroad

@David McWaters then you aren't going to have very many places to shop. name any other chain supermarkets that offer ANY health care to part time workers. hope you have a REALLY big garden

GFTW
GFTW

@James Gold JennInFurrs wears a Hawaiian shirt?

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Kimberly Jackson It never gets old. : )

yodownmuthalicka
yodownmuthalicka

@Joe Felice And, let's see, you've got another 15? Who freaking cares, pal.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Jon Severson Just because I point out flaws does not mean I don't love them. : )

AceRanchero
AceRanchero

@Jon Severson Got an idea here, Westword: Why don't you do an item-to-item (as much as can be) shopping trip between TJ's and WF when the TJ opens? Having shopped at both, recently, I'd be curious. 

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@GFTW Satire, dude. But if they did make this, I would try it on my butt.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Michael Sabin You are welcome! : )

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

@Kyle McCall So do my armpits on most days. : )

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