3 Downsides of Shopping at Trader Joe's

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  • Trader Joe's is known for its reasonable prices and friendly customer service.
  • There are certain traps you might fall into if you do the bulk of your shopping there.
  • Trader Joe's doesn't offer grocery delivery, seasonal items sell out fast, and if you fall in love with a product, know that it can be discontinued at any time.

Trader Joe's is pretty darn great. But it's also not perfect.

Even though I only shop at Trader Joe's about once a month, it happens to be one of my favorite supermarkets. And if I had one closer to my house, I'd probably shop there every week.

But alas, my closest Trader Joe's is a good 30-minute drive away. And so I usually make a point to do monthly stock-up trips to not only buy certain staple items, but also, load up on seasonal items.

Shopping at Trader Joe's helps me rack up lower credit card bills in the course of feeding my family. And the fact that the store has some of the friendliest employees I've ever encountered is a definite plus.

In fact, I'm such a big fan of Trader Joe's that it almost pains me to point out the few flaws the supermarket chain has. But here are a few downsides of shopping at Trader Joe's you should know about.

1. You can't get groceries delivered

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most supermarkets had begun offering the option to have groceries delivered to your door. And in 2020, many stepped up their game and expanded that offering.

Trader Joe's, however, does not offer home delivery for groceries. And there's a reason for it.

Trader Joe's prides itself on offering a great in-store shopping experience. And it doesn't want to stray from that.

Now if you have easy access to a Trader Joe's, this won't be a problem for you. But if you're short on time or without a vehicle, you may have to favor a supermarket that will deliver groceries to your door.

2. Products are frequently discontinued

It's common to fall in love with a given Trader Joe's product -- only to see it permanently disappear off the shelves a few months later. That's what happened to me and my kids.

My children fell in love with a specific type of Trader Joe's granola bar and it became our go-to snack for months on end. Then, one day, I went back to Trader Joe's to restock my supply only to learn that those granola bars were no longer available. Needless to say, my kids weren't happy. And since they weren't happy, I wasn't happy.

3. Seasonal items tend to sell out

As a pumpkin-obsessed consumer, I love shopping at Trader Joe's during the fall. And I also happen to enjoy scooping up seasonal items during the holidays.

But at times, I've walked out of Trader Joe's nearly empty-handed as a result of seasonal products flying off the shelves. And the worst part? Once a Trader Joe's store runs out of a specific seasonal item, they may not get more of it in.

So, let's say there's a holiday item you know becomes available during the month of December only. If you don't make it over to Trader Joe's early on in the month, you might lose out on the chance to scoop it up.

I happen to think that Trader Joe's is a wonderful place to shop. But no store is perfect. If you're going to do your shopping at Trader Joe's, be prepared to have to physically retrieve your groceries yourself, brace for discontinued items, and beat the crowds to avoid missing out on popular seasonal products.

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