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My first visit to Trader Joe’s

In my previous post, I mentioned that a Trader Joe’s store has finally come to Kentucky!

Well, there was no way I was going on opening day or even the weekend because I knew it would be crazy busy. I went today around 4:00 and while the parking lot was crowded and there were plenty of people in the store, it was easy to get around and I didn’t have to wait in line but for a few minutes to check out. I went up and down every aisle and was there less than an hour. Score!

So what did I get?

  • Diet root beer (6-pack)
  • Roasted veggie no cheese pizza
  • Strawberry and peach soy yogurt
  • Non dairy creamer (for Josh)
  • Edamame with red chile and garlic (so excited to try this!)
  • Frozen veg panang curry with rice
  • Chipotle pepper hummus
  • Tempeh
  • Veg soy chorizo
  • Masala veggie burgers (4-pack)
  • Twin pack of sprouted tofu

Now for the really shocking part. How much did all of this cost me? I would have expected much more than $26!!!

Granted, I only got stuff for me this time and didn’t happen to need any produce but I still can’t imagine ever spending more than $50 here in a single trip. I would bet that the same stuff above at Whole Foods or another grocery store would have run me more like $40. I was happy.

A couple of things worth noting: the roasted vegetable pizza was the most expensive thing on my receipt at $4.29. The Amy’s roasted veggie pizza I usually buy which is almost identical is $6.49 and that’s at Kroger where it seems to be the cheapest. On the down side, I didn’t realize it until I got home and drank one that the Hansen’s diet soda contains Splenda. Stevia is the only “artificial” sweetener I like to use but I guess even that has some drawbacks. Still, I won’t buy those diet root beers again.

I wasn’t going to but since I was already there, I decided I might as well stop into the wine shop and see what was up. It was really small but they had a great selection, many “Available only at Trader Joe’s” wines and while they did have an expensive section, most were well under $10. I decided it was time I met this Chuck guy everyone talks about.

I got the two above bottles plus a nifty little Trader Joe’s wine carrying bag for $7. Yep, I guess that’s why they call it Two Buck Chuck. I tried half a glass of Shiraz tonight and it was just as tasty as one I would have paid a lot more than $2.99 for. I foresee some Christmas presents coming ;)

A lot of my friend’s don’t get the hype over TJ’s and think the last thing Louisville needs is another grocery store and another store on Shelbyville Road at that — the place is already known for horrific traffic at certain times of the day. Also, a few friends were turned off by the packaging of produce — many items are already placed in plastic containers or bags. I can see their point, but at the same time, having exactly 1 lb of organic grapes in a container seems like a time and cost-saver to me.

I found a couple of articles about the store to be really interesting. First, The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe’s  — I need to go back for the falafel and veggie burritos, definitely! Another, a local article entitled Seven Things That Make Trader Joe’s Different, pointed out some things about this store I can really appreciate. No sales, no coupons. You will always know how much everything costs and how much you would spend. I can dig that.

What do you think? Do you have a Trader Joe’s in your area? What do you like/dislike about it?

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