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Phone a Friend: The Old-School Trick to Mastering Trader Joe’s Shopping!

Picture this: You’re scrolling through your feed, and there it is – the latest, greatest Trader Joe’s creation. Maybe it’s a chocolate croissant-scented candle that promises to make your living room smell like a Parisian bakery, or perhaps it’s a mystical disco ball planter that you absolutely need for your growing indoor jungle. You’re ready to dash to the store, but wait! Is it even in stock? The suspense is worse than a cliffhanger in your favorite binge-worthy series.

As a self-proclaimed Trader Joe’s enthusiast (yes, I’m the one who gets giddy over pumpkin season there), I’ve faced this dilemma more times than I’d like to admit. Racing to Trader Joe’s only to find empty shelves where your dream product should be is a heartbreak I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And since Trader Joe’s is like that cool, off-the-grid uncle who refuses to join the online world or partner up with Instacart, we, the loyal followers, are left in a bit of a pickle.

So, during one of my many pilgrimages to TJ’s (this time on a quest for the mythical chocolate croissant candle), I finally did something revolutionary. I asked an employee the golden question: How can I know if something’s in stock without embarking on a quest worthy of a Tolkien novel? The answer was hilariously simple: Just call the store.

Call? As in, use my phone for its original purpose? In a world where speaking on the phone is about as common as seeing a unicorn at a bus stop, this idea seemed almost archaic. It’s like rediscovering that your car has a cassette player – quaint, but surprisingly functional.

Calling stores these days can be an epic journey in itself. Trying to reach a human at Aldi is like trying to find a needle in a haystack (spoiler: they don’t list store numbers), and Kroger? Let’s just say their automated system is the Minotaur’s labyrinth of the retail world. But Trader Joe’s, in its charmingly old-school way, has direct lines to real, live humans in each store. Humans who, believe it or not, are actually happy to check if they have what you’re looking for. It’s like having a personal shopper, but without the hefty price tag.

And get this – they don’t just check their store. They’ll go above and beyond, checking other stores in the region. It’s like having a network of TJ’s spies at your disposal. Sure, they might not have access to some mythical national database, but they’re pretty darn thorough with what they can do.

Now, if you’re a dedicated Trader Joe’s shopper like me, and you’ve just missed out on your seasonal must-have, why not try calling a store in another region? You might have a cousin in Cleveland who can snag that last bottle of Everything But The Bagel Seasoning for you.

It turns out this little life hack isn’t common knowledge. So, if you’re reading this and having a ‘lightbulb moment,’ you’re welcome! Save yourself the heartache and the gas money. Give them a call. Who knows, you might even enjoy the quaint charm of a good old-fashioned phone call. 

As for me, I’m about to dial my local TJ’s to check on those disco ball planters. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t need a little more sparkle in their life? Happy Trader Joe-ing, everyone! And remember, when in doubt, just pick up the phone.