25 Things You Never Knew About Trader Joe’s

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Hungry for some mandarin chicken or gingersnap cookies? You need to take a trip down to your local Trader Joe’s! This off-beat grocer has a little something for everyone, and you never know what’s waiting around the corner. With that said, you probably already know there are plenty of secrets to discover about your favorite spot to pick up all the supplies you need to keep your fridge stocked.

From its hand-created art to delicious in-store brands, Trader Joe’s is more of an experience than your average grocery store. Here are 25 things you likely didn’t know about quirky and unique retailer.

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The stores keep far fewer products in stock than other chains

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There are no coupons

Trader Joe’s prices are already low, and the chain works to keep them that way. As a result, you won’t find any coupons to save additional money off their products.

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There’s an artist assigned to every store

Wondering how the signage at each Trader Joe’s is so on point? There’s a professional artist on call at every location to keep things looking fresh and creative.

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Trader Joe’s doesn’t stop at free samples

If you’re curious about trying something, just ask a team member. Employees have the power to open up any item in the store and let you have a quick taste-test before you commit to buying it, though this varies based on state laws and regulations.

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People can’t get enough of Triple Ginger Snaps

These cookies are consistently ranking as the chain’s most popular product. That’s probably owed to the fact that they’re made with three kinds of tasty ginger. Speculoos Cookie Butter usually comes in second place.

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Trader Joe’s has an official newsletter

You can check out the official Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer newsletter in lieu of a sales ad. While it doesn’t have coupons, it’s chock-full of useful information.

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All food waste goes to local food banks

If food on the shelf at Trader Joe’s is near its expiration date, it’s pulled from the shelf and donated to a food bank. This is similar in practice to its sister store Aldi.

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Employee shirts have different meanings

Trader Joe’s various employees wear different kinds of shirts. Solid shirts with hibiscus flowers on them mean you’ve found a regular crew member. Track down someone in a Hawaiian shirt if you need a manager.

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You can bring your own bag to win big

Trader Joe’s wants to help do its part for the environment, so they hold contests for customers as an incentive to help cut down on paper and plastic bag usage. If you bring your own bag, you can enter yourself in a raffle to win a gift card each week.

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If you don’t have a location near you, you can request one

No Trader Joe’s nearby? Feeling left out of all the festivities? Fill out this form and request a location near you.

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They don’t use a PA system like other stores do

Instead, Trader Joe’s uses a bell system. One bell means a new register needs to open, quick. Two bells mean there’s a question at checkout. Three bells means someone would like to speak to the manager.

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The chain has plenty of limited-time products

Don’t get too attached to some items. Trader Joe’s is constantly rotating new stuff in and out of the store, so you might see your favorite gone soon after debuting. This means there’s always something new and interesting to try, though!

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There’s a no-questions-asked return policy

Not happy with the item you just bought? Wish you had gotten a different flavor? Return your item and Trader Joe’s will be happy to take it back — you guessed it — no questions asked (vitamins and alcohol being a couple of exceptions).

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Most of the items Trader Joe’s sells are its own brand

You won’t find many buys here that aren’t Trader Joe’s proprietary brand. Luckily, their products are already pretty tasty, so no worries there.

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Trader Joe’s didn’t expand outside of California until the ’90s

The first East Coast store didn’t open until 1996, and it first set up shop in Massachusetts, meaning both coasts could finally get in on the TJ goodness.

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Trader Joe’s $2 wine is a best-seller

As of 2012, the specialty grocer had sold over 600 million bottles of its “two-buck Chuck” Charles Shaw wine. Though it’s gone up a bit in price, you’re still getting a great wine for a steal.

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All products are subject to a taste-test

If TJ employees don’t deem a food product delicious enough for sale or meet the requirements necessary to pass certification, it simply doesn’t get put out on store shelves.

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Trader Joe’s is big on philanthropy

The chain routinely donates cash to charity, even donating about $260,000,000 of goods back in 2003. When it comes to doing good for the community and environment, they’re on top of things.

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One division of Aldi is known as Trader Joe’s in the U.S.

Trader Joe’s is actually a division of Aldi. It’s divided up into Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, with Aldi Nord actually having been renamed and interpolated for the U.S., and Aldi Sud acting as the store you know and are likely familiar with.

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The company sold pantyhose once upon a time

Back in the ’70s, when the retailer was still trying to “find itself,” it sold all kinds of items, including magazines and pantyhose. Obviously, those products didn’t quite stick.

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Some Trader Joe’s products are created by popular brands

Trader Joe’s may rely on private labels to stock most of its store shelves, but some of its most popular items are actually sourced from companies like PepsiCo and Danone. You could be eating a cheaper version of your favorite product and not even know it.

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One of Trader Joe’s first official products was granola

This staple food was introduced back in the ’70s, when the store was still a California-only retailer.

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The company prefers to spend more money on product than packaging

According to former Trader Joe’s employee Matt Klaver, the company spends more cash on the quality of a product than the way its packaging looks. So while some bags or cans may not look perfect, the food inside should be just fine.

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The company hires people to try food around the world

The specialty grocer hires people to travel the world in search of exciting new products customers will love. That means people get paid to try food for the stores.

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Employees get to test all the latest products

If you work at Trader Joe’s, you can taste-test all the new products before they hit store shelves. There are a lot of new goodies coming through the doors, so this sounds like an exciting gig.

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