Like many of you, Phil and I have been long-time fans of Trader Joe’s, and more so recently since we have become empty nesters. It’s hard to believe our Leawood, Kansas store opened almost seven years ago! Yes, Phil and I have our favorite TJ items that we will share with you, but I first wanted to highlight something that has really endeared me to the store even more – the customer service.
About a month ago, while I was in the store, I picked up a sympathy card for a friend who had recently lost her parents in a terrible accident. As I was paying for my items, the checker commented on the sympathy card I had found. (By the way, does it seem the Trader Joe’s checkers always comment on what you are getting?:)) We started chatting about the reason I was purchasing the card, and before I knew it, the checker was telling me how sorry he was and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers! I was completely blown away by the kindness and thoughtfulness of that employee and awed that he had the freedom to easily do something like that without having to first consult a manager. The expression of thoughtfulness displayed by that TJ’s employee that day made a lasting impression on me and made me wish we had more companies with this kind of warm, friendly and “going above and beyond” type of customer service. Thank you for the inspiration, Trader Joe’s!:)
And so, on that inspiring note, here are a few of our favorite Trader Joe’s items:
Well, it would only be fitting to start off with the flowers!
They are always beautiful, and I believe the best value for flowers you can find. The manager told me the flowers are usually delivered every morning so I would suggest getting to the store early for the very best selection. By the afternoon/evening the flowers always seems to be a little sparse and pretty well picked over.
Let’s talk about the greeting cards! These days, it’s practically impossible to beat a good .99 cent card! The cards at Trader Joe’s are really pretty good, and the selection is getting better and better!
The produce department is so much fun to explore, and the packaging sizes are perfect for two.
Even though I buy a lot of our produce from Costco, there are some things that are just too big for us empty nesters to buy at Costco. Phil and I simply can’t get through things like a giant bag of carrots and kale before they go bad. So I have resorted to buying these items at Trader Joe’s. Also, don’t forget the bananas! Best deal on bananas around!:)
Moving into the freezer section, our latest Trader Joe’s food obsession includes the Organic Riced Cauliflower. I love how easy it is to warm up and how much it really tastes like rice, but is so much healthier for you with less calories! I also really like the cauliflower rice comes frozen! I once bought a big bag of fresh, shredded cauliflower from Costco. It went bad fast and smelled horrible. I had to throw the whole bag out!
Speaking of cauliflower, have you tried the Cauliflower Pizza Crust? Yum!!! And it’s gluten free! Phil, the pizza maker in our family gives this hint: try to elevate the crust on a cooling rack so the heat can circulate around the entire crust. You’ll get more of a crispy, pizza-like crust that way. And, be sure to broil the crust for several minutes at the end of the cook time.
Sodium Alert! An item we recently tried was the Japanese Fried Rice. We loved it and found it to be the perfect dinner for Phil and me. Unfortunately, the next morning, my eyes were really puffed and swollen. I later figured out the puffiness was due to the high sodium content in the fried rice. The older I get the more it seems I really have to watch my sodium intake especially in processed foods like this. I’m guessing reading food labels must become more of a habit for me! It’s amazing how much sodium there is in these processed meals. Take a look sometime. As yummy and convenient as this fried rice was, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to purchase this item again. Darn!
But, now there’s good news – Zero Sodium Alert! We also love Trader Joe’s Brown Rice. The box comes with three individual pouches of frozen brown rice that are perfect as a side for a meal for two empty nesters. The packets warm up easily in a microwave in just three minutes! AND, the sodium content is zero, YEA!
I am nuts about the Trader Joe’s nuts section. I’ll purchase a bag or two of different nuts and add them to the bulk nuts I have purchased from Costco. This adds a fun little twist to my nut medley. I love combining the big store with the little store too!:)
Phil’s hands down favorite at Trader Joe’s has to be the Triple Ginger Snaps. This delicacy has been around since the store opened. Perfect little snack-size cookies! We even made our own little gingersnap ice cream sandwiches by putting vanilla ice cream in the middle of two of the ginger snaps. Super yummy – and even better with peppermint ice cream during the holidays.
Our adult sons have been obsessed with the Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica for quite a long time! I always load up on this salsa whenever they come to visit. I recently noticed this Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa. Has anyone tried it yet? It looks really good!
Our Trader Joe’s list could go on and on. There really are so many awesome products and it’s fun trying the new items they bring in, not to mention the awesome customer service which I think is my all-time favorite thing about Trader Joe’s. You can’t help but smile when you walk out of the store.
All this talk about the great Trader Joe’s products and genuinely friendly customer service got me thinking about the history of Trader Joe’s. And so we’ll leave you with two photos: a photo of founder “Joe” Coloumbe and a snippet of TJ’s history; and, the original Trader Joe’s store which opened in Pasadena, CA back in 1958. Kind of fun to see that! The store is still there today. I can honestly say that the Trader Joe’s mission statement is still going strong today. Great job, Trader Joe’s!
We would love to hear about some of your favorite Trader Joe’s products or customer service experiences. As always, thanks for sharing with us!:)