At Trader Joe’s, they do things a little differently. With no sales, blink-and-you-miss-it seasonal inventory (I’ve been to TJ’s twice in two days in search of the Kimbap, to no avail), no ads, and a cult following, conspiracy theories about this unique grocery chain abound. One such theory? Employees are trained to flirt with customers. Trader Joe’s employees (AKA “crew”) are typically quite attractive and unusually cheerful. They’re always asking you about your plans, complimenting your snack choices, and generally being weirdly interested in objectively boring things. As a result, TJ’s fans across the internet speculate that crew members are trained to flirt with customers. Unsurprisingly, most TJ’s employees deny this theory. This week on the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, CEO Bryan Palbaum addressed the issue and settled the debate once and for all. Are Trader Joe’s employees flirting with customers? If they are, are they trained to do so?

Are Trader Joe's employees trained to flirt with customers?

Upon being asked "Can you please tell us once and for all, are our crew members told to flirt with customers?," Palbaum responded "Definitively, no." Palbaum claims that employees are simply told to be genuine, nice, and most importantly, themselves. I guess TJ’s doesn’t hire anyone who is genuinely not nice? "To go into a Trader Joe's store, and feel that everyone is genuinely interested in whether or not you are having a good day — compared to perhaps other retailers — I can see how that might be misinterpreted," Palbaum added. Okay, we get it dude. Heard.

It can be hard to believe your cashier actually cares about your afternoon plans and college minor. But having worked in a job where making small talk is critical, I can understand why TJ’s employees seem genuinely interested in customer’s daily lives. When you’re at work all day, these little details are actually interesting. Mainly because work is really boring, but still. Maybe your TJ’s bagger wants to know your afternoon plans so they can live vicariously through them, because they’re going to be stuck at work all afternoon.

Of course, flirting is sort of impossible to define. One person’s flirting may be another’s baseline. And some people just flirt with everyone. I mean, imagine Joey Tribbiani as a Trader Joe’s cashier…it’d be “How you doin’?” all day. So even if TJ’s employees aren’t trained to flirt with customers, per se, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t ever flirting with customers. In fact, this official denial could be interpreted as good news. If that cute TJ’s cashier is actually flirting with you, you’ll know it’s not just because they were trained to do so. But maybe don’t read too much into it.