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Winner: Trader Joe’s

January 27, 2023

From caesar salads to delicious desserts, Trader Joe’s has everything you need to satisfy your nutritional (and less-nutritional) needs. Their wide range of vegetables, meals, snacks and drinks satisfy nearly everyone’s dietary preferences and cravings. 

I’ve gone to Trader Joe’s since it opened in 2013, and it’s barely changed over the years. Although COVID-19 has closed down countless good businesses that will be missed, Trader Joe’s has managed to remain open and stay relatively the same. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s favorite part of Trader Joe’s was the purple stuffed animal named “Ozzy the Octopus.” Every day it would be hidden in a different place around the store, and little kids would walk up and down every aisle searching for the purple octopus so they could get a prize from the cashier at checkout. 

“My earliest memory of Trader Joe’s is trying to find Ozzy the Octopus so I could get a lollipop, my favorite were the pomegranate-flavored ones,” says Grace Puricelli, a sophomore at ETHS. 

Trader Joe’s is a very popular and well-loved source of food. Some people have shopped at Trader Joe’s their whole lives and created wholesome childhood memories there that separate it from other grocery stores. 

“I think the difference between Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores in Evanston is the community, I really like the home-like vibe,” says Puricelli.

Numerous people agree that Trader Joe’s is popular due to its friendly and community-oriented atmosphere. Something that highly contributes to Trader Joe’s atmosphere is its employees, who are very friendly and helpful. 

“Trader Joe’s is a lot cheaper, workers are a lot friendlier, and in my opinion they’re more unique. They’ve got a lot of in-brand stuff, so we get a lot more unique stuff you can’t find anywhere else,” says senior Marco Conde, an employee at Trader Joe’s.

Not only is it enjoyable to be a customer there, but according to Conde, it’s also a good place to work. 

“It’s a very flexible place to work, we get to choose our own hours, we have a lot of freedom with that. It’s just a really nice place to work, everyone’s really friendly and it’s a really open environment.” 

Even though Trader Joe’s has a lot of upsides and tends to receive positive feedback, like any business, it also has downsides and things it could improve on. 

“I think Trader Joe’s could improve by having foods that connect to others’ individual cultures,” Puricelli expressed, “it would be nice to have everyone go there for whatever holiday they are celebrating and for them to be able to get their cultural foods.” 

Trader Joe’s is popular for their wide variety of different foods, but their variety of different cultures could be a lot wider. Most of the foods are overall very American-based and a fair amount of people think Trader Joe’s could use some more cultural diversity. 

“I think that Trader Joe’s could be more open to training the workers because in the past they didn’t really train me,” Conde revealed, “they just kind of threw me in and expected me to learn. Which I have, but it was kind of stressful to start off with.” 

Even though Trader Joe’s has a few things to improve on, a great number of people are huge fans and see themselves shopping at Trader Joe’s for as long as they’re alive. As Puricelli declared; “I will always go to Trader Joe’s as much as I can, when I move out I will still go. My hope is that there will be a Trader Joe’s close to where I go for college.”

When the ups and downs of Trader Joe’s are observed, overall it seems like a very nice grocery store that people have more good things to say about than bad, and I think that its popularity will only continue to grow.

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