What Your Trader Joe’s Purchases Say About You

Did you know the average American spends more than 30% of his or her adult waking life inside of a Trader Joe’s? Sooner or later, every kind of person there is will wind up wandering the slightly-too-narrow aisles, eating “party meatball” samples and wondering “Yo, is this “ethnic” label variation on the name “Trader Joe” racially problematic?” (The answer is often yes!)

Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack: You consistently display superhuman-seeming levels of self-restraint. While this quality often works in your favor, it has also played a significant factor in the end of several of your long-term romantic relationships. While none of your exes would admit to breaking up with you because of it, they will confess after a few drinks that it certainly didn’t help. You could show a little vulnerability, you know. Make a mistake.

Anything from the 1/2-off day-old baked goods table: You know exactly what kind of person you are.

Two-Buck Chuck: You have no faith in your ability to choose wine; you enjoy rhyming and think that cherry is a better “red” flavor than strawberry, which is insane.

Alcohol, any other kind: You enjoy savings and also exist.

French onion soup (frozen): It is your strange desire to consume peasant food in the least convenient packaging possible. You are Gloria Swanson; you want only to reconnect with your Cossack heritage.

Ancient grains soup (refrigerated): Every day at work you have the same thing for lunch. Not this soup, necessarily, but the same combination of things, every day, for years at a time. Your coworkers find this marvelous but it also means that you will never be promoted.

Vegetable & lentil soup (canned): You have a lot to worry about. Good luck with everything. Let me know if I can help.

Boxed macaroni: This is the only thing that you ever buy, or have ever bought, at Trader Joe’s. Your mother regularly asks if you need money, although always with the unspoken addendum of “please don’t say yes.”

Produce, any kind: You’re a fool. Produce is the Trader’s Achilles heel. He cannot master it; this failure keeps him up at night. “So many bags,” he moans to his sympathetic but tired wife. “So many irregularly sliced end bits. Shelled English peas in a bag. Ghastly. All ghastly.” There is no solution; the puzzle goes unsolved. Finally, he sleeps, but he cannot rest.

Cheese, string: You played varsity soccer for all four years of high school but were sidelined in college after your recovery from ACL surgery took longer than expected. For months you thought you were in love with your physical therapist, who was thirty-four and never displayed the slightest interest in you. Later, of course, you realized that your feelings for them were simply an attempt to displace the general sense of aimlessness and panic that bubbled up whenever you tried to think about what you were supposed to do with your life now. You lost your scholarship junior year and switched your major to engineering. Now you work in user experience design and are happier than you ever thought you could be. You occasionally feel numbness and tingling in your left leg (not the same leg you had your ACL surgery on) and worry that it might be MS. It isn’t MS. You’re fine. Allow yourself to relax.

Chocolate peanut butter cups: You call almost everything you enjoy a “treat” or an “indulgence” or “pampering myself” because you’re afraid to truly examine the depth of your own appetites. There must always be an excuse; happiness must always come with a reason. Why? Who are you doing this for?

Toilet paper/Paper towels: You are either a willful ascetic or completely indifferent to comfort. You and your partner share each other’s clothes.

Hummus (any variety): You often mistake mushed bean paste for excitement.

Dipping vegetables: Baby carrots are the only vegetable you have eaten in eight years.

Seasonal items (cauliflower gratin, scalloped potatoes, et al): You trust too easily and too often. This has proved painful in love.

Frozen garlic fries: You believe firmly that everyone should try shrooms at least once (you are wrong).

Reduced Guilt Filet of Sole: Nothing will reduce your guilt. You will always find a way to disappoint your inner critic. It is astonishing, the degree to which you hate yourself.

Mini Beef Tacos: You enjoy pretending to be a giant and have modest expectations when it comes to matter of taco quality.

Sushi (any kind): You will eat garbage.

Pub cheese: You wandered into this Trader Joe’s by mistake. You don’t even know what a Trader Joe’s is. Does this town not have a Von’s?

Trader Joe-brand Cheetos: How good are these? The worst part about them is the cellophane bag is excessively stiff and crinkly, so once it’s been opened, there’s no real way to roll it back up and save the uneaten ‘tos for later. You eat the whole bag or risk staleness.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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    • Candace


      • LCT

        Occasionally I will buy it, when I’m shopping and a sudden craving comes over me. And at the first bite, I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION.

      • GM52246

        Feels so bad, tastes…still okay.

    • http://twitter.com/sydddaustralia sydddaustralia

      what about mac and cheese?

      • paperraincoat

        If you’re talking about the frozen one I love you. That is the best store-bought macaroni and cheese ever.

      • splendorofmorgan

        TRUTH. With some toasted panko on top? Omg.

      • http://twitter.com/sydddaustralia sydddaustralia

        Yep, that’s the one! It’s sooo delicious.

      • http://poorgoop.com/ Samantha

        YES! Trader Joe’s frozen mac and cheese is so good!

    • http://twitter.com/russellbrandom Russell Brandom

      i’m calling them ‘tos now.

    • mandy

      Mallory, I finally get you.

    • Jessie

      The white cheddar popcorn is laced with crack. Or Magic.

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff


    • JS

      This is creepily accurate. Except for the part about all my long-term relationships. Maybe I would do better with that if I stopped buying seaweed snack by the cartload.

    • GM52246

      Mallory: This is amazing. I used to get Trader Joe’s all the time because there’s a place here where you can donate blood platelets and they give you a $50 gift certificate for Trader Joe’s food. Once a month–that’s groceries.

      I worry less, but I still buy the lentil soup, because goddamn, that’s some good lentil soup.