It’s very rare that a grocery store takes over social media, quickly growing its brand presence through platforms like TikTok; yet, that is exactly what Trader Joe’s has done. The store is famously known for its customer service and its “free trying” of any one product. I had heard about Trader Joe’s before on social media — YouTubers and TikTok influencers always seemed to shop there, and because of this, I thought it was overhyped and probably really expensive. Because of the Trader Joe’s “trend,” a stereotype arose about the people who go there. The employees are always said to be over-friendly, and the customers are stereotyped as “basic white girls” or “granola girls.”
It was a random Tuesday evening in April, right before the rain started in downtown Madison. I was at my friend's house along with some other girls. One of my close friends mentioned that she needed to get some groceries and that everyone was invited to come with. She had noted that she was going to go to Trader Joe’s, simply because it was right up the street.
I said I had never been there before, not really thinking too much of it. Everyone immediately turned and looked at me with expressions of complete shock. Their faces communicated their internal thoughts of, ‘CRISTINA ARE YOU JOKING?’ I knew that the grocery store was in Madison and had healthy options for food, but that was about it. Because of my lack of recognition with the store, my friends told me that I was coming with them. I had no other choice, so we all walked to the store in the rain. (Well, more like ran because it was a complete downpour, and the store closed at 9 p.m., so we only had 30 minutes to get everything!)
As soon as I walked in, I was shocked with the size of the store. Growing up, I had always gone to larger stores like Woodmans or Costco. This one was different: it was a small building that had hues of light brown and green throughout its aisles.
Upon walking in, my friends went straight to grabbing their favorites, and I told myself I would only buy one thing. However, at that exact moment, a hand reached around the corner and into my lap fell “Bamba Puffed Peanut and Corn Snacks,” soon followed by “Almond Butter Almonds.” I decided that these would be the first items I tried from the famous Trader Joe’s. After later taste-testing, I would rate the Puffed Peanuts a 10/10 because of the balanced flavors throughout. They had this amazing hazelnut cream filling — something I quickly fell in love with. The almonds were not as good, but still very tasty!
After experiencing it for myself, I can say that it may be overhyped, but the snacks I had were pretty good. I will definitely be going back for the Bamba Puffed Peanuts!