Not all angels wear halos, some wear Hawaiian shirts. These tropical-themed beings are none other than Trader Joe’s employees, the saints of the foodie world. Whether they are suggesting a new product or displaying jolly mannerisms, your local Trader Joe’s crew can always put a smile on your face. Turns out, they can also put chocolate samples (and maybe chocolate bars) in your hands, for free.

Cash Register Treats

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Caroline Ingalls

The scene: You're standing in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. Your cart is brimming with all your favorites, of course. You idly observe the goodies displayed around the cash register as the person in front of you finishes up their payment. Temptation strikes and you really start to investigate said goodies. As a responsible shopper, you are wary of impulse purchases. You decide to save the extra moolah and proceed as planned.

Ashley Ladin

Seem familiar? If so, you aren’t experiencing the true blissfulness Trader Joe’s has to offer. Good grocery store hacks are essential for optimal shopping experience, so I want to let you in on a little secret. The people working at corporate for Trader Joe’s are just as happy-go-lucky as the baggers. All the proof we need: Trader Joe’s has given your local employees the OK to give you free samples.

How to Get Free Samples

Ashley Ladin

This doesn’t apply to just chocolate, even though it's clearly the most important food group to consider. In general, Trader Joe’s customers can try almost any product they are curious about purchasing. Simply seek out a crew member and ask:

“I'm really interested in this product, can I try a sample?”
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Caroline Ingalls

You will quickly be assured that you may, and your local Trader Joe’s employee-turned-BFF will gladly gift you a free portion. Enjoy all the taste, with none of the risk. If you like it, you have a new item to confidently throw in the cart during your next trip.

Now, back to chocolate. While I have enjoyed many wonderful chocolate samples at Trader Joe’s, I have also received an entire free chocolate bar. Twice. This is not Trader Joe’s policy, but it is a possibility. From my experience, waiting until checkout to request a chocolate sample increases the likelihood of scoring an entire free bar. 

Living the Dream

Ashley Ladin

Requesting a chocolate sample midway through the checkout process is ideal. At this point, cashiers are aware that you are a true Trader Joe’s fan and customer. They are also already immersed in the flow of throwing goodies into your grocery bag.

If their store is high on stock or if they are feeling particularly kind, they may just toss the entire chocolate bar into your bag, free of charge. Worst case scenario, the cashier will give you just a portion of chocolate as opposed to the entire bar. Either way, free chocolate is involved, so count me in.

Ashley Ladin

While you can use this grocery store hack to get a taste of almost any option in the store (including checkout), the initiative is intended to let customers try new items. So instead of just grabbing a quick bite of your go-to chocolate bar (or perhaps the entire bar if you luck out), try something new! Trader Joe’s is known for quirky flavor combinations, so opt to pick out something you wouldn’t normally buy.

We have all been on a quest for free chocolate at one time or another. Thanks to Trader Joe's, chocolate-lovers on a budget have a new promise land. Finally, chocolate can be priceless not only in your heart, but on your receipt, too.