I’m new to Trader Joe’s. The store really hasn’t been in our community that long and I’d never shopped at one before it opened here. But I sure had heard a lot about it; the chain has a loyal customer base.
At first, I was a bit disarmed by the experience. The aisles are narrow. Imagine, actually having to talk to another customer in order to negotiate my way. Employees in green aprons hover next to new items ready to share recipe ideas and it is downright dangerous to try to rush in the wine and beer aisles – so much glass!
I usually stop there on Sunday after church because it’s on my way home. There are no racks to hold carts in the parking lot, everyone is on the honor system to walk their cart back. So I keep my purchases to what I can carry in two bags – because shopping on Sunday really isn’t what I want to be doing anyway, I’m eager to get home for my last bits of me-time before the work week.
Even so, I have become charmed by the check-out portion of my visits to Trader Joe’s. I never know what the clerk is going to say to me but I have no doubt that we’ll have a conversation – a totally different experience than the norm at other grocery stores. The man or woman at the cash register always asks me a question and it’s never been anything like, “How are you?” On my most recent trip, the young man commented on the number of pie crust packages I was buying, (I love TJ’s pie crusts!) “What kind of pies do you make?” he asked. I responded and he went on to ask a few more questions.
These questions don’t interrupt the service; I’m sure that my time at the counter is the same as any other store, but what a difference! The clerk and I always part with smiles and neither of us has said the obligatory “have a nice day” or “you, too.” Instead we are truly thinking and feeling it!
So check out the next time you check out, and try not to check out!