Mark Sherman: Enough with Trader Joe’s

Mark-Sherman SQUAREFor the most part I’m good with living in the mid-Hudson Valley. It’s physically beautiful here and there are a lot of interesting people. There are a few things missing, though, and one of them is Trader Joe’s. But I really think I’d be okay with that if people who live right near Trader Joe’s didn’t feel compelled to tell me over and over again how wonderful it is.

Here’s how it typically goes. A friend who lives near a Trader Joe’s comes to visit you and brings some of their delectables with him as a gift. Maybe it’s their Cookie Butter. Perhaps it’s their Thai Lime and Chili Cashews. Or it could be the Triple Ginger Snaps. Whatever your friend brought, you know it will be absurdly delicious, and as soon as you’re done, you’ll want to run out and get more. But then you realize that’s a big trip. For us the nearest TJ’s is in Danbury, CT, and that’s about 50 miles away.

Oh man, you want more of those cashews, but 50 miles, when it’s cold and could snow?


I could live with all this, especially because I have never seen an ad for Trader Joe’s, but the problem is the ravers. And this even includes my own children. All of them live close to at least one Trader Joe’s store; in fact, one of my sons lives within walking distance. The good thing about this is that when we visit them, we can always make a TJ’s run. It’s especially good with the son who lives within driving distance from us, because then we can load our car with such goodies as the Organic Reduced Sugar Apricot Preserves and the Fiberful Granola Bars with peanut butter or chocolate chips. But when we’re visiting any of our children, as soon as we mention TJ’s, we’re sure to hear from a son and daughter-in-law how wonderful it is, how much they simply love Trader Joe’s! It becomes a chorus. I’m sure it won’t be long before my grandchildren — the oldest of whom is nine — chime in too.

Talking about grandchildren, I see an analogy between people who live near a Trader Joe’s talking about how much they love it to those who are not close to one, and those with a grandchild or grandchildren going on and on about them to someone who wants one but doesn’t have one. Listen, if you’re going to talk about your grandchildren, do it with your fellow grandparents — especially those with whom you share the grandkids (also known as “the other grandparents” or the “not as great as you are” ones). Likewise, if you must go on and on about Trader Joe’s, do it only with others who have one near them.

So, you might say, why don’t I write the company and plead with them to put a store in or near my town? I have thought about this, but haven’t done it, mainly because someone told me that if you do that, you get back some kind of form letter telling you how they pick new locations, etc. (with the implication being, fuhgeddaboudit). I suppose that I could start a petition drive, and perhaps try to stage a march, but somehow this cause doesn’t quite have the same import as things like world peace. But I’ll tell you this: You’ll worry a lot less about world peace when you’re eating some of Trader Joe’s organic Turkish dried apricots. Or some of their Cookie and Cocoa Swirl spread on a few of their Raisin Rosemary Crisps.

As I write all this, and feel my mouth water, I do think about the downside of having a Trader Joe’s nearby. It’s hard enough for me to control my eating now, but what will I do if it’s really easy for me to get Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Butter Cookies?

Come to think of it, grandchildren aren’t all that easy to deal with either. Sure, they’re very cute when they’re little, and they love you unconditionally for a while. But then there is cousin rivalry, as each one feels you love his or her cousins more, and if your grandchildren live nearby, your whole life becomes babysitting, and if they live far away, you miss them all the time, and once they become teenagers, they’d rather be with their friends than be with you. (And, as I said earlier, eventually they too will be going on and on about how they love Trader Joe’s.)

So when all is said and done, the best life is the solitary life of a monastic recluse, who subsists on gruel and rice; and I don’t mean Trader Joe’s Multigrain Triple Berry Instant Hot Cereal and their Sprouted Red Jasmine Rice.

Really, who needs that stuff?

Oh, man, I do!

There are 5 comments

  1. FunkieGunkie

    I never shopped at trader joe’s. I favor New Paltz Health and Nutrition. Great prices, great selection, mostly organic food. Please shop local and organic. Please be mindful of organic companies that are owned by corporate interests that are destroying our food supply and our planet. There are a lot of them!! please do not support the industrial agricultural machine and their food chain grocery stores.

  2. Have Vision

    I live near 2 Trader Joe’s – and they aren’t that great. Sure, if you want to buy bulk vegetables that are shipped in from California and not always so fresh – ADAMS freshness trumps Trader Joe’s 100% of the time. Beyond that, Whole Foods scores twice as fresh and convenient as Trader Joe’s. TJ’s and I go wayyyyyy back. I used to do a ton of business in LA and there was ONE TJs there and everyone loved it because it was different, and in LA at the original it had great produce, teas, nuts, dried fruits, etc…and its myth grew. But in its national incarnation…it just ain’t that great. Sorry kids. ADAMS, Whole Foods (and frankly the health grocery at Stop Shop plaza) all do a better job.

  3. Veggie

    Trader Joe’s beats ALL competitors on THEIR OWN products
    $1.99 for Organic Brown rice pasta 16 oz.—-Puh-lease!
    All organic….2.29 Salsa, 1.49 Baked Beans. 1.19 Chick peas, 3.99 Whole Wheat Bread, 3.99 16 oz shredded soy cheese 2.49 pasta sauce Liter of Balsamic Vinegar(not organic) 2.99……prices from memory

    Now that being said…they are far from having everything. I spend near $1,000 each month at Health and Nutrition. Their prices, selection, and quality is the best in The Hudson Valley
    And they are a FRIENDLY, HELPFUL, LOCAL family-owned business

  4. Gil Brenner

    I moved from New Paltz to be near Trader Joes. Now I have five within a 10 mile radius.
    Gil Brenner. Laguna Woods California.

  5. Lauren B.

    I like Trader Joes because the sell almond milk at the lowest price anywhere. And peanut butter and cocoa powder. I wish there was a closer one than Danbury or Albany. Sheesh. There are people besides me who need the lowest price and who do not have the luxury of going to a particular store because it is localy owned or something like that.

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