Trader Joe’s survival guide

I was on the elliptical machine today, sweating to a story on MSNBC about that guy from Megan Wants a Millionaire being found dead, when I happened to glance up at the clock on the wall. 3:42. I jumped off the machine, despite being only twenty minutes into my workout, and headed for the door.

I had to get to Trader Joe’s before it became too much of a madhouse. If I waited until after 4:00 to start shopping, I might as well admit defeat and head home.

When I lived in Chicago, I didn’t have to plan my trips to Trader Joe’s; they were driven by need. (Or desire, as was usually the case when I made an emergency peanut butter run.)
Sure, I knew that if I did my shopping around dinnertime that I would probably have to wait in a line of similarly-minded people. Even the most egregious of these lines, however, was not enough to encourage me to change my shopping habits.

The Manhattan Trader Joe’s is a completely different beast than the familiar one on Ontario back in Chicago. Even if I am at the store at an optimal time of day, I need a plan of attack if I hope to survive. The store is a always a zoo at best (a mosh pit at worst), and one needs to know where items are located in order to avoid back-tracking and the collisions that inevitably come with it. Also vital to know is that the “any number of items” line travels down the aisle that contains eggs, yogurt, cereal, and soymilk, making it easy to just pick up these items as you wait in the line.

Sometimes, however, even the best laid plans fail, as was the case today (assuming arguendo that my mad dash out of the gym constitutes a “plan”) when the staff was inexplicably blocking most aisles in a vigorous restocking effort.


2 responses to “Trader Joe’s survival guide

  1. There’s a TJs in Downtown Brooklyn that may not be as bad. If you have time to kill (and I know you do) it may be worth the trip.

  2. Yeah, I’ve heard that one is not as much of a madhouse, and I often think, yeah, I’ll totally check it out. But then of course I lose all track of time and I’m on 14th again, trying to beat the clock. Sigh.

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