Publix. Wegmans. Krogers. Sprouts. There are so, so many grocery stores out there, and if you’re a mom odds are you’ve been to them all... and often. Each grocery store has its own strengths and weaknesses. Publix has always excelled at customer service (and their subs are the stuff of southern legend). Sprouts, of course, has incredibly cheap produce, and is a nice alternative to Whole Foods. Then there’s Trader Joe’s, which is in a category all its own. And believe me, if you shop there regularly, there will definitely be signs you’re a Trader Joe’s mom, no questions asked.
I still remember the first time I walked into a Trader Joe’s. I was visiting a friend in Boston and looking for a quick snack, so I really didn't think anything of this seemingly inconsequential visit. I was completely overwhelmed by the place, though! So many products I’d never even heard of! So few recognizable brands! It seemed odd at first, sure, but I grabbed some trail mix and knew I had found my special place.
A few years later (yes, years!), I wound up at the first Trader Joes to open in Miami. The moment I got a taste of Speculoos Cookie Butter, I had a regular staple in my grocery shopping repertoire. I shop at Trader Joe’s whenever I want gourmet goodies, really awesome frozen indian food, or simply need to experience some decent customer service (which is, sadly, harder to find these days). If you're wondering if your Trader Jo's Mom material, well, read on:
Your Mom Nights Always Feature Two-Buck Chuck
If these miraculously cheap bottles of Charles Shaw wine are a staple when you and your mom-friends decide to spend an evening devouring wine and cheese, you're a Trader Joe's mom.
Your "Baking" Circles Always Have An Array Of TJ Munchies
Not every mom winds down with wine, mind you. Some prefer the relaxing effects of good ole cannabis. If that’s you, you’ve certainly gone to Trader Joe’s stoned, at least once, to stock up on some quality munchies. Mac and Cheese Bites. Those glorious Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones. You get the idea.
You’ve Convinced Your Kids That Cookie Butter Is A Holiday Must-Have
OK, I’m lying. You’ve convinced them it’s an all-year-long must-have item. And they, of course, don’t argue with this profound declaration. I mean, why would they? It's delicious!
Your Kids Have Asked To Ring The Checkout Bells
No other grocery store (that I’m aware of) has giant bells to ring at the register. Yes, technically they are there in lieu of a PA system, but that doesn’t mean your kids haven’t been curious and at least tried to ring it once. Probably twice.
Your Kids Are More Familiar With Joe’s O’s Than Cheerios
And Oreos are actually known as Joe Joe’s. Basically, your family is more accustomed to the Trader Joe’s brand than the “originals.” And it’s really not a big deal, especially when you come to realize the Trader Joe’s brand is often just other brands with TJ’s packaging.
You Refuse To Pay More Than A Quarter For A Banana
Everyone knows bananas are dirt cheap at Trader Joe’s (even more so than other places). Why on earth would you pay more anywhere else?
You Hand Out TJ’s Brand Chocolate At Halloween
Or, at the very least, you consider it. Basically, you tell your kids you’re going to hand it out, but then you end up hoarding it. Those other kids aren’t really deserving of your gourmet Halloween candy anyway.
You Always Raid The Samples Area
You can always find at least one mom lunging head first for the free coffee, and she'll probably make two or three trips back for some refills. You'll definitely catch a mom giving her kid a sample of pineapple juice or macaroni and cheese. These delicious freebees make every visit much more enjoyable.
Your Kids Have Used Trader Joe’s Paper Bags For Art Projects, Picnic Bags, &, Well, Anything Else
Trader Joe's bags are fantastic, and their employees always double-bag them for me. As a result, my family always ends up with plenty of giant paper bags. If you visit the store often (and you're bad about remembering your reusables), you likely have a fair amount stocked up and ready to be reused for just about everything, from puppets to last-minute wrapping paper.
You Just Can’t Understand People Who Don’t Like Trader Joe’s
Do they not enjoy delectable, off-the-beaten-path snacks? Are they addicted to the long lines and poor customer service you can easily find at other stores? Is it the awesomeness of ready-made salads that shocks them? Regardless, you just don’t get it. It's an unsolvable mystery.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.