For those that aren't familiar with Trader Joe's, when I was in college we shopped there because they sold booze, chips, and cheese. For cheap. Sometime in the 90's they expanded to include more grocery items including hermetically sealed produce. It doesn't quite have the selection of a regular supermarket, but they carry lots of foods from around the world (like Thai and Indian) which a lot of markets don't have. Trader Joe's also has a frustrating policy of first selling foods under different labels, and then, as they become popular sellers, branding them under their own house label. (We all know their soy-sesame-flavored dressing is Annie's Goddess dressing don't we?)
I don't exactly hate Trader Joes, but I am...um...annoyed by a lot of the food there. It's just not...good. I go there about 4 times a year for Spicy Cider (great hot), Fage (Total) Greek Yogurt, and European butter which TJ's sells for much cheaper than grocery stores do. But they also sell a lot of food items that I think are extraordinarily bad. For example:
- Produce—it's all under plastic, packaged in incredibly wasteful packaging, and it's always past its prime. Two words: rubbery bananas.
- Cheap (69 cent/lb.) pasta—you get what you pay for, a gummy, gluey mess. I'm happy to spend the extra dollar to get quality pasta.
- "Mojito simmer sauce"—something about a hot mojito makes me want to hurl.
- Pre-packaged sushi—it's not sushi, it's fake fish surrounded by rice paste. Gross.
- "Three Buck Chuck"—however you feel about Charles Shaw wines, it just seems wrong that they charge $3.00 for it in Oregon because it's "imported" from California
- Crab bisque in a can—Yep. The joke's on me for even thinking canned crab soup would be remotely good. It is overwhelmingly salty. Even the addition of half-and-half couldn't help this soup. Avoid.
- Packaged Salads—Hi stomach? Meet Salmonella. I got food poisoning while I was pregnant eating one of these. Morning sickness + food poisoning=fun times. Not.
- Hummus—Not so yummus. Is it even made from chick beans and tahini? Cuz I am hard pressed to find any of that lemony-sesame taste I love. I guess that's why it comes in so many flavors.
How about you? Care to add to the list? Is there anything you hate at Trader Joe's?