Trader Joe’s is truly the “I’m not like other girls” of grocery stores. But actually, they really aren’t like other grocery stores. With streamlined pricing (no BOGOs here), mostly private label products, zero online ordering system, ridiculously small parking lots, and a cult-like following, TJ’s certainly stands out among the major grocery chains. They even have their own podcast. Although Trader Joe’s likes to make us feel like we’re on the inside (even naming their podcast “Inside Trader Joe’s”), the reality is, most shoppers don't know much about the inner workings of America’s most enigmatic grocery chain. So naturally, Trader Joe's conspiracy theories develop. Here’s a few of our favorites that the internet has come up with.

1. The parking lots are intentionally too small

I think we can all agree that TJ’s parking lots are ridiculously small. The first time I successfully parked my car at TJ’s was one of my proudest moments as a driver. I truly believe if you can park at TJ’s, you can park anywhere. But some say this insanity is actually intentional, perhaps in an attempt to create a false sense of scarcity and encourage people to buy more stuff. The chain has rebutted these Trader Joe's conspiracy theories (on their podcast, naturally), claiming that parking lot size is tied to store size, and most TJ’s locations are fairly small. Okay, sure. Just don’t ask me about the time my car broke down in the TJ’s parking lot.

2. The employees are all dating each other

You may have noticed that a lot of TJ’s employees are a) very hot and b) ridiculously cheerful (probably because they’re so hot). I mean they’re over here having pull up competitions at work. So it kinda makes sense that such attractive, positive people would end up dating each other. One former employee described TJ’s as the “single most incestuous company [he] ever worked for,” Slate reports. And if that’s not enough for you, check out this post on the TJ’s employee subreddit. Yeah. So maybe this one’s not so much of a Trader Joe's conspiracy theory.

3. The employees are trained to flirt with you

As we’ve established, TJ’s employees tend to be conventionally attractive and very friendly. Which of course, lends itself to flirting. I mean, I think we all feel a little special in the TJ’s checkout line. Not to mention the free flowers. So are the employees really trained to flirt with customers? Unsurprisingly, most TJ’s employees deny this theory. But while they might not be trained to flirt with you, they are definitely trained to compliment you on your grocery selections. I’ve never felt more accomplished while buying chocolate and potato chips.

4. Trader Joe’s and ALDI are owned by the same company

Some say that TJ’s and ALDI are owned by the same company and sell the same stuff, just with different labels. While it’s true that the two grocery chains do sell a lot of similar products, they are not owned by the same company. They are, however, both owned by members of the Albrecht family, an elusive grocery store dynasty. In other news, I would totally watch a Succession-style grocery store drama about the Albrecht family.

5. Trader Joe’s dropped in from an alternate reality and is run by aliens

Okay, this is obviously ridiculous and impossible, but you have to admit she has a point. It’s like they asked ChatGPT to create human food products. I mean pickle-flavored mini corn dogs? Spud crunchies? Almond butter covered almonds? Come on. Not to mention the weird Victorian style advertising…

6. Trader Joe’s is a cult

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JK, obviously…but is it?