When I was in my 20’s, I found it annoying how many guys I dated acted like they were great cooks because they shopped at Trader Joe’s.
“I make these amazing pesto chicken sausages,” one of my boyfriends used to brag.
Ugh, you opened a package of TJ’s sausages and cooked them. WTF?
It became kind of a turn off for me, how guys talked about Trader Joe’s like it was their precious little secret and how it made them really cool to cheaply buy stuff.
Many years later, solo and pregnant, in my infant care class, I was told by the instructor that Trader Joe’s would be my husband.
Now, Trader Joe’s actually is my husband, lover, entertainer and therapist. It all started because I was making puree and spending a fricking fortune at Whole Foods on organic produce. I realized I could get what I needed more cheaply at TJ’s. When, at 8 months, Spenser took his first ride in a shopping cart at our TJ’s, I fell in love.
It was like a drug – he sat in the cart, proud as could be and I couldn’t stop beaming. Crew Members (the special name for Trader Joe’s employees) and other shoppers stopped up to comment on our duel redheaded happiness and I felt like it was our party. It felt like we were the center of attention… because we were. Guess who else liked the attention? Yes, my son.
As months went on and he learned to wave, he’d wave at everyone, much more than if we were anywhere else. It’s like TJ’s just made him happy; our happiest place on earth.
When Spenser started eating more solids, he went crazy for TJ’s samples. Still with no teeth, he gummed down four samples of chicken tamales, spinach and kale dip, Cuban rice and beans, veggie goyza, salads and curries. There were days when he’d be dancing in his cart in the chips aisle with a crowd of people around him. He now knows most of the crew members and greets them with a loud “HI!” or “non stop hi’s.” He knows Sam and Kenny and Garret and Andy and Polly and a few others who’s names I don’t know, but that’s OK, no one knows my name. They greet us with a “Hi Spenser!”
Here’s the TJ’s routine: S gets excited when we pull into the lot, we walk in the door and he points to the bananas like he needs to eat one right now. I give him some banana and he takes a bite then points to the sample stand. Usually someone has seen us and said, “Hi Spenser.” Then we get close to the samples and he sees a crew member friend and starts waving and saying hi, non stop. Then he eats samples, and we walk around and he has to touch the cold freezers and I say “cold” over and over, then he point till we get to flowers and paper lanterns which he points at, then he points at the dog picture over the cheese area and then he wants to go to check out where he tries to grab and shake small containers of mints and push buttons on the credit card machine. All the while, we are stopped by shoppers and crew members who comment on how happy he is.
I try to explain that while he is a very happy baby, Trader Joe’s makes him even happier.
It’s so weird, I really am in love with Trader Joes, like the lactation teacher predicted and like all those old boyfriends I used to judge. Sorry guys. I was wrong.