Trader Joe’s–Yet Another Perspective

November 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

tjlogo.gifWith a block of unstructured time ahead of me (every mom-of-a-toddler’s biggest fear), I decided to drive over to Trader Joe’s. I followed Foresthills72’s blog on its rollout closely, so I knew I had to get there at some point, even if only to satisfy curiosity.

Here are my impressions:
Major plus: guilt-free shopping since there’s nary a transfat in sight. (OTOH, maybe that’s negated by the gas spent getting there.)

Major plus: prices are better than good.

Neutral: last time I was in a Trader Joe’s, in Brookline, MA, it was a pick-up joint for the earthy and earnest. Whole Foods is a bit like that too, though for those with deeper pockets. There’s none of that at our local TJ. Mostly families and older couples.

Minor neg: there’s no place to get coffee, other than the 2-oz. self-serve sample of whatever bean TJ is plugging that day. In fact, the feel of the place is decidedly bare-bones, in contrast to other ones I’ve been in.

Major neg: it’s very crowded and it’s going to get worse. Checkout was super smooth, but I experienced cart standstill in the store and car standstill in the parking lot. In fact, it took me 3 minutes to get out of the lot, and during that time, the woman in the car that boxed me in glared at me. Blame the victim.

My bottom line: People who detest cramped, fire-hazard-laden urban supermarkets will find relief. People from other parts of Queens now have another place to go–along with Atlas Park and the Hall of Science–during the holiday season, when Manhattan crowds make heading west prohibitive. And people in Forest Hills proper who do not have a car are as good as ever because the markets around here aren’t so bad. The Natural is still more than good enough, and with the facelift of Key Food on Queens Blvd, we’re sort of okay with going in, instead of just grabbing five things because there’s no time to get them elsewhere.

Trader Joe’s is clearly an added value to the neighborhood, one that might give pause to those who would otherwise dismiss this area. It will be on all of Brooklyn-bordering-Queens’s radar soon enough, thus exposing multitudes of shoppers to an area they used to just pass through on their way to Ikea.

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Entry filed under: food, Forest Hills.

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