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Trader Joe's Mostly Sucks

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Sep, 2011 10:34 pm
Has anyone decided as I have that their canned and frozen foods are no longer worth buying at any price, much less the hefty charges they want? The food is so MEH now. Back in the late 90's their stuff was the bomb....me thinks they have been ruined by the food NAZI mentality.


May Trader Joe's rot in Bankruptcy Court.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,714 • Replies: 7
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Sep, 2011 10:40 pm
@hawkeye10,
They never will go bankrupt as the company which is privately held by two German brothers who own ALDI and Trader Joe's are extremely successful.
(one of the brothers died recently).

I happen to love Trader Joe's, however, I rarely buy frozen foods or canned
goods there. The cheeses are far better than anywhere else with great prices,
dto. for their prosciutto and salami, olive oil, pesto and the list can go on and on.....

I do believe that Trader Joe's is not a store for everyone and you have proven to be one of them. Just don't go there, it's as simple as that.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Sep, 2011 11:00 pm
@CalamityJane,
Quote:
I do believe that Trader Joe's is not a store for everyone and you have proven to be one of them.
I want to like it, used to like it, loved German Aldi back in the 90's....but quality seems to have been forgotten about in all their hype about organic/sustainable/morally upright supplier products. Treating their employees well and good service is great, but without good food to sell they will continue to not get my money anymore....

When we lived in Arizona the closest was 80 minutes away, till lately here in Olympia the closest was 30 minutes away. We got a store two years ago, which I was excited about, but not anymore.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 01:47 am
@CalamityJane,
I love Trader Joe's also, and I generally find both their prices and quality to be very good.

I don't buy very much canned food there, almost none, and the frozen items I buy are mainly bagged vegetable mixes, or vegetarian entrées I like or can't find elsewhere, or some dessert items. I am always finding new products and items I want to try, and generally my cooking becomes a little more inspired after a visit to TJ's.

I always leave the store with at least one bag full of goodies I had no intention of buying when I walked in, but which proved too irresistible to pass up--so the costs of a visit do mount up because I tend to splurge at TJ's much more than I do at the supermarket, but I consider it money well spent because the enjoyment factor is always quite high. For me, shopping at TJ's is just plain fun, and the reasonable prices permit me to indulge my tastes and my curiosity.

The only gripe I have ever had with Trader Joe's is that items I have loved and used for some time suddenly disappear from their shelves for one reason or another, never to re-appear again. This has happened with so many of my favorites that, when I head to TJ's for a specific item, I do so with a certain amount of trepidation that it will no longer be there or be available. I think a lot of that is due to the demands that TJ makes of its suppliers to try to keep costs down and sometimes that results in an item being dropped.

I know that's what happened with the absolutely decadently delicious Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Cake which was made for Trader Joe's by David Glass and which TJ's sold for a ridiculously low price of about $5.99 (which was something like $20 less than the same cake sold for elsewhere at places like Zabars in NYC and on Zabars web site). TJ's then tried to negotiate a price that would be less than what it cost Glass to make the cakes, and Glass just couldn't do it, but losing the TJ's account also helped to put David Glass out of business because TJ's accounted for 45% of the company's sales.
I really wish TJ's hadn't driven such a hard bargain on this particular item, which was, "Considered by many chocolate lovers to be the ultimate dessert" according to the New York Times, a view I would whole-heartedly second. It was just fabulous--pure chocolate perfection. And TJ's also carried a low fat version of the cake that was every bit as extraordinary and wonderful as the original. I don't know how many of those cakes I bought as gifts, but every recipient told me it was pure love at first bite.
I still feel a pang when I look into the dessert freezer case at TJ's because the Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Cake is nowhere to be seen. But, if it hadn't been for TJ's, my family and friends would probably never have been able to enjoy this sublime treat in the first place, or to have it as often as we did. So that helps to balance out the score. TJ's does carry many top-notch items I either can't find elsewhere, or I'd pay much more for if I could find them elsewhere.

I agree with you that Trader Joe's is not a store for everyone, and it's not a store I would even rely on for my everyday shopping. But what they do, they do very well, and it's a very pleasant and consistently interesting place to shop. There are two Trader Joe's each about 10 minutes from my house in different directions, and a third one about 20 minutes away, and all of them are always bustling, so business appears to be quite good.

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Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 01:54 am
Haven't visited any Trader Joe's in eons. There ain't none on the island of Hawaii. Maybe in Honolulu, I don't know, but that's on Oahu, foreign soil for all practical purposes. But even back when there was one handy in Boston I only went there for certain specialty items that you could hardly find anywhere else.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 02:12 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
But even back when there was one handy in Boston I only went there for certain specialty items that you could hardly find anywhere else.
Nearly every visit used to include at least one "OMG, I can't believe they have this!" which I almost never get at TJ's anymore. I do get this at Metropolitan Market, abet at even higher prices than TJ's .

I am sure that partly I am spoiled as I spend a fair amount of time in Seattle and Portland where almost any food item worth having can be found, but I am pretty damn sure that the quality at Trader Joe's has slipped a lot over the last ten years.....they were a lot better before they got to be so big and popular. I first discovered them on a trip to from Monterey to southern California in 1988...it was a revelation.
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firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 02:24 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
but quality seems to have been forgotten about in all their hype about organic/sustainable/morally upright supplier products

Trader Joe's was always into organic products, products made without preservatives, lower salt, lower sugar, lower fat, and generally healthier eating, coupled with a sense of social responsibility. I've been shopping there since the 1990's and I haven't seen any changes in that regard.

Maybe it depends on the sort of items you buy there. I've never been a fan of most of their frozen meals, a few are good, but most are only fair, although that's probably true of most mass-produced frozen meals purchased anywhere--they sound considerably better than they taste.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 02:31 am
@firefly,
Quote:
Trader Joe's was always into organic products, products made without preservatives, lower salt, lower sugar, lower fat, and generally healthier eating, coupled with a sense of social responsibility.
There was always some of that, but it is run amuck....they used to have a lot of straight up fantastic stuff that was hard to find (often imported) irregardless of the nutrition label, and most of that is gone . Even the cheese section is mostly MEH now. I used to love the wine, now I think World Market has them beat by a mile...
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