My best friend Nina spent her summer working at Trader Joe’s. For her this meant a steady income, a 10% employee discount, and a 401k. For me it meant free snacks, and listening to her vent about the good and bad that TJ’s had in store for her.
The most recurring theme of our post-work conversations was that some people are just really bad customers. It got to the point where I was questioning if this stuff actually happened. But it did, and it does, and if you don't want it to be you, make sure to never do as follows the next time you take a trip to Trader Joe’s.
1. Bring your dog in
You would think it'd be pretty clear that a grocery store is not a dog-friendly place. However, apparently the aisles of food aren't a dead give away. Nina explained, "People would literally try to hide their lap dogs in reusable grocery bags, and others would straight up walk in with dogs on a leash." If this isn't common knowledge to you already, leave your pets at home the next time you run out of sweet potato gnocchi and oil olive popcorn.
2. Return packaged food you already finished
Trader Joe’s return policy is one of the many reasons why TJ’s has such a loyal customer base. You literally can return anything you try and don't like. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of this system.
Nina had customers bringing in completely empty packages of cookies or crackers asking for a full refund. Not only this, but there were often repeat offenders coming in each week with new and empty products they wanted to return. It does not take the entire jar of cookie butter to determine you don't like it, so please don't try to convince anyone otherwise.
#SpoonTip: If you're now craving cookie butter, try this DIY version.
3. Walk in barefoot
Maybe it was the summer heat getting to people, but Trader Joe's is not the beach—shoes are not only encouraged but required. Employees do not want to see your sandy toes, and the health inspector definitely does not look favorably upon strolling past the frozen section barefoot. This little piggy does not go to market, it straight goes home.
4. Pop a squat in the produce section
Luckily this was a one time affair, but it serves as an ever important reminder to parents and those with leaky bladders everywhere; urinating should always be done in a toilet.
This was especially apparent when a child decided the produce aisle of TJ's was her throne and let it flow all over the floor. The dad's response, "Sorry, we're still working on potty training"... We're sorry too.
5. Eat all of the demo samples... like, actually all of them
We've all gone back for seconds, thirds, and sometimes fourths if no one is looking. It's free food, I get it. However, if you're the person that eats the entire plate of samples (you know who you are, and the employees know who you are too) you are not welcome here.
6. Squeeze through the doors at 8:55 pm
...And then proceed to do a week's worth of shopping. If the store closes at 9:00 pm and you're strolling through at 8:55 pm, it best be for a carton of milk and a carton of milk only. Not only does this keep employees in late but it slows down the entire back-stocking process that continues into the night.
7. Complain about product placement
Sadly, your opinions on where products should be placed in the store are not needed nor wanted. To the lady who spent 10 minutes complaining to Nina that tofu should not be placed next to chicken sausage because you should not be, "forced to look at meat"—congratulations, you are one of the worst customers at Trader Joe's. The official crowning will be held in the bacon aisle.
On a serious note, Trader Joe's is too good to its customers for its customers not to be good back. The whole company is built upon value: giving people the best product for the best price.
They treat their employees well (this employee explains why she quit her full-time job for Trader Joe's), and their customers even better. Their private label products are all free of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, and artificial flavoring. They also donate leftover food to food banks and soup kitchens.So, if you ever find yourself shoeless, about to fill up your cart at 8:59, or on your 8th sample from the demo section, do Nina and all the other Trader Joe's employees a favor and GTFO.