4 Lesser-Known Perks of Shopping at Trader Joe's

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  • Trader Joe's doesn't offer the same vast selection as most major supermarket chains.
  • In spite of that, there are many benefits to buying groceries there.

Never been to Trader Joe's? You may want to reconsider.

I happen to live in a bit of a Trader Joe's dead zone. The closest location is a good 25 minutes away from my house, and since I'm a full-time working parent who's perpetually pressed for time, the idea of having to drive for almost an hour round-trip to grocery shop isn't that appealing.

Or at least it wasn't appealing in the past. Nowadays, I'll gladly give up that time and splurge on the gas for my monthly stock-up trip to Trader Joe's.

Since giving the store a try years ago, I've become a big fan. And if you've yet to shop at Trader Joe's, it's important to know what you're missing out on. Here are four benefits you might reap when you shop at Trader Joe's.

1. There's no need to clip or load coupons

It's common for grocery store products to go on sale. But if you don't clip or download a coupon, you often won't get to benefit from those lower prices.

Not so at Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's has a different model of offering affordable products from the get-go. There are no sales at Trader Joe's, and no need to clip coupons. This means if I happen to be in the area and want to stop in on a whim, I won't miss out on lower prices because I forgot to bring my coupons with me.

2. You can try anything you want

As a parent of picky eaters, I'm more than familiar with the "buy this, Mommy…oh wait, I don't actually like this, Mommy" routine. And I can't tell you how many times I've taken a chance on a new grocery store product only to end up throwing it away.

That's not a risk you have to take when you shop at Trader Joe's. The reason? If you're not familiar with a given product, you can just ask a store employee for a sample. They'll bust open a box of whatever it is and let you try it on the spot.

A few years back, I was at Trader Joe's with my kids, and a store employee let us try four different kinds of granola bars before they settled on their preferred option. I offered to pay for the opened boxes and the employee downright refused. And since then, those granola bars have become a steady part of our snack rotation.

3. You can return any product you don't like

I happen to think Trader Joe's generally makes awesome products. But if you're not happy with something you purchase, you can take it back for a refund -- no questions asked.

4. You'll enjoy great customer service

Though I've encountered my share of helpful employees at other supermarkets, the attitude of the staff at Trader Joe's -- or at least my local store -- is just unparalleled. Every single employee in that store is warm, accommodating, and seems downright happy to work there. The result? Fantastic customer service that makes shopping much more pleasant.

Trader Joe's isn't my go-to supermarket by any means. And to be clear, it doesn't offer the same wide range of products a larger chain might have available. So if you're the type of person who only likes to shop at one supermarket, Trader Joe's may not be the best fit for you.

On the other hand, Trader Joe's offers a great customer experience and competitive price points. At a time when inflation is causing so many people to dip into their savings just to make ends meet, that's important. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, I'd highly suggest giving it a try. Like me, a single visit might turn you into a long-term fan.

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