Trader Joe’s, Pros and Cons

I went to Trader Joe’s after work today, having missed my usual weekend trip due to circumstances beyond my control. As with life, so with Trader Joe’s: you have to take what you can get when you can get it. Similarly, there were pro and con aspects to my shopping trip, and I am going to enumerate them for you right this minute:

PRO: I picked up some of the famous Fage yogurt, if by “famous” you mean “I saw it on here and then here. The recently-resolved Fage yogurt shortage was confirmed to me by my very friendly checkout person. I guess it must be some good yogurt.

CON: I haven’t tried it yet. I was more in the mood for soy pudding after dinner tonight. This isn’t really Trader Joe’s fault, although it is their fault they carry neither my favorite type of soy pudding nor my favorite type of tapioca pudding. I mean, I really like pudding and I just wish Trader Joe’s (the U District one) would meet my pudding needs. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I went through the checkout line at PCC at about 11:30 at night with nothing but about fourteen types of pudding? And the checker guy was all, “I guess someone had a craving”? And I was like, man, this is the first time I’ve ever been mistaken for a stoner in my life? And then when I went to the parking garage where I had semi-illegally parked because the real reason I was in the neighborhood wasn’t for pudding reasons but for bellydance reasons and I couldn’t find a space elsewhere, I had a ticket? Which I conscientiously paid because I am a proud upholder of the social contract? Well, I’ll tell you one day. It’s a really good story.

PRO: The free sample today was pretty good: lavosh bread wrapped around pepper salame and lettuce and something else that I don’t know what it was. I sampled two.

CON: I like the pizza things better.

PRO: I got lots of good stuff from the frozen food section, including a shrimp stir-fry thing that was really good and yummy and made enough for lunch tomorrow. I seriously love the Trader Joe’s frozen food section and since I haven’t for-real cooked for about a year now it is the only thing keeping me from scurvy. Also, frozen vegetable samosas! So delicious! Once they have been unfrozen!

CON: They didn’t have dried apples. Or the cheese I wanted. Or the salame I wanted. Or any other flavor of Pria Bar beside the thin mint kind and the peanut butter kind, which are both good but I was hoping to try the strawberry shortcake kind. Worst of all, they stopped carrying my favorite kind of hot chocolate mix, suitable for home preparation, and it was the best hot chocolate mix in the world because it had vanilla and cinnamon in it and sure I could add those things myself but I could also grate the chocolate myself, or grow the cacao beans myself too, couldn’t I? It doesn’t matter, because that awesome Mexican hot chocolate mix is gone and I’ll never see it again and I’d be lying if I disavowed the fact that there is a small hole in my life where that hot chocolate mix used to be.

Oh, yeah, and you know what else they didn’t have, because they never have them? These. Neither the superior grapefruit flavor nor the less awesome but still good blackberry favor. Good thing I stockpiled.

PRO: The people who work there are usually young and hot and very often they have dreadlocks and will tell you all about their tattoos.

CON: The person selling Real Change was this woman who sang what I think were either pagan earth hymns or possibly just plain folk songs loudly and tunelessly the whole time I was inside. I love the xylophone guy who plays out in front sometimes but I can’t bring myself to buy from this singing woman. I know it makes me a bad person.

PRO: I feel like I fit the Trader Joe’s demographic very well…youngish, probably pretty liberal, can’t totally afford everything at Whole Foods but really likes dip, appreciates the wit in the Frequent Flyer, possibly drives a Subaru Forester. I always feel comfortable asking someone if I can reach around him or her to get at the chocolate praline cookies, and one time I had a long conversation about hummus, different varieties thereof, with some random guy in the refrigerator section, but it wasn’t ooky or scary because I figured that hey, he shops at Trader Joe’s, probably he won’t kill me with a machete if I disagree with him about the yumminess (low, in my opinion) of the roasted-pepper hummus versus just the plain garlic. I feel safe at Trader Joe’s, very much amongst my own people.

CON: I feel kind of weird fitting into that Trader Joe’s demographic so easily. Shouldn’t I be subverting the dominant paradigm or something? But if I did that, where would I get my delicious San Pellegrino Aranciata soda for a reasonable price, huh? ANSWER ME.

PRO: All my groceries fit into one bag this time.

CON: It was a very heavy bag.

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