Charming Encounters at Trader Joe’s

It’s high time I added a category especially for Trader Joe’s to my blog. To inaugurate it, I would like to share what may be the most delightful visit I’ve had to a Trader in 15+ years of shopping there at 35+ locations. (That’s another story.)

I was at a Trader Joe’s on Pico in Los Angeles. The sunflower bread stick caught my eye, as I was specifically wondering if they sold Judy’s Love Sticks in Los Angeles. The bread was labeled as Trader Joe’s. So I corralled a passing employee to ask what I said would probably be the most obscure question he’d ever gotten.

Although he said he’d been in the bread department for that location for 6 months, he had no idea. It’s probably from our warehouse in Pasadena, he said.

“Trader Joe’s actually makes bread???” I asked incredulously. He looked blank so I stepped in and said it’s probably labeled from another company.*

*Judy’s Lovesticks later confirmed it is a cheap imitation of their bread.

“Judy’s Breadsticks?” he asked. “No, lovesticks” I repeated. I nearly saw him blush with a face of doubt that a bread could actually be called that. “You don’t eat bread do you,” I said. He partly pulled up his tshirt to show me his skinny body and laughed. “It’s worth getting fat over,” I reassured him. Later as I grabbed water I saw him checking out and he gave me an ear to ear grin.

So I’m walking down an aisle and another employee comes up and says “Are you finding everything ok?” I was like “Is this something new? No one has ever asked me that at Trader Joe’s.”

“We’ve been doing this since the beginning,” he says. “I fail to believe you,” I said. “No one has ever asked me that in the 15 years I’ve been shopping here.” He explained that the person walking around in the African bead necklace is the “helmsman” and is supposed to ask customers that. “They’re normally insubordinate,” he said, “but I do it.”

I’ve never seen anyone walking around in a big African bead necklace at a Trader. “I try to avoid finding things at Trader Joe’s,” I finally said, to answer his question. But it was all a nice touch.

That and the new Greek yogurt with figs in it sampled along with a granola made this a banner Trader Joe’s visit!


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