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 in your hands. For free.

Cash Register Treats

Grocery, supermarket, Trader Joe's, Market, shopping cart, shopping
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. Curses. 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. We here at Spoon don’t want you to ever miss out on a good grocery store hack, so we’ve decided 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 a-okay to give you free food. 

The Magical Words

Ashley Ladin

No, your entire purchase won’t be free, and you can’t just randomly pick what you want removed from the bill. What you can do is snatch one of those charming candies always displayed around checkout by saying these magical words,

“I heard you guys give away free samples at the cash register, can I pick something out?”
supermarket, Grocery, Market, Trader Joe's, checkout, shopping, Shopping bag
Caroline Ingalls

You will quickly be assured that this is true, and your local Trader Joe’s employee-turned-BFF will help you decide which new, free treat to bring home. However, make sure to request your sample while purchasing groceries. Trader Joe’s wants to give its customers a perk for shopping with them, not just hand you free sweets while a Whole Foods bag dangles under your arm.

Living the Dream

Ashley Ladin

Yes, this is the modus operandi at nearly 100% of Trader Joe’s stores. Simply ask for a sample of something you haven’t tried before, and watch as your cashier picks up your chosen item, crosses out the barcode and adds a dash to the damaged items list. Your free treat will be happily tossed in your bag and you will be on your merry way.

Ashley Ladin

While you can use this grocery store hack to get any of the options around checkout, the entire initiative is intended to let customers taste new items. So instead of just grabbing your go-to chocolate bar, experiment! Trader Joe’s is known for quirky flavor combinations, 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, us 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.