Monday, March 27, 2006

Dinnerquest

Anyone in NYC with the slightest foodie streak has probably heard that Trader Joe's has just opened its first store here, about a week ago. Tonight, I was on my way home and decided to make a detour to Union Square to check the store out. I've been to a Trader Joe's near my parents' house, and I'm always jealous of the stuff my father gets there-- nice frozen stuff like salmon and haricots verts, perfect for the lifestyle of an urban girl on the go such as myself!
About a block away from Trader Joe's I started to think about how I was making the cardinal mistake of shopping while hungry, and I started trying to steel myself against coming home with 10 kinds of cookies and chocolate covered pretzels-- the snack aisle at Trader Joe's is lethal. But as it turned out, I never even made it into the store: there was a line of about 100 people waiting to get in!
I just didn't get it. Trader Joe's is nice and all, but I don't see what would justify waiting in a crazy line like that, even if it's really difficult to get frozen haricots verts elsewhere. Also, there is a Whole Foods only a block away-- which is where I ended up going. But of course by that time I was practically delirious with hunger, so much so that I actually didn't go crazy buying stuff because I couldn't even think what I wanted. I ended up buying 2 bananas, 2 chocolate bars and a bag of frozen shrimp. And it came to $16.39!
And then I came home and cooked pasta and broccoli that I already had in the fridge.

The other annoying thing that happened tonight was that when I picked up the laundry I had dropped off this morning, they had not dried my bathmats at all, and said that if I wanted them dried in the future, I would have to request it in advance and pay $3.00 per mat. These are the exact same mats that they've been putting in the dryer for over 5 years now without saying a word. And given that the dryers cost, I think, 25 cents per each 15 minutes, $3.00 per mat is just absurd. I'm looking forward to having the laundry machines in the basement after I move, so I can do the wash however and whenever I want. I'm also looking forward to the bigger freezer I'll have, especially since if it's going to be this difficult to get into Trader Joe's, I'm going to have to really stock up when I shop there!

14 comments:

IRA said...

Wow. I'm trying the imagine the scene. A hundred people waiting in line to get into Trader Joe's? Boggles the mind. We have several Trader Joe's in the Chicagoland area. So, I guess I take the stores for granted. I guess the same thing happened here when they opened up the first Krispy Kreme donut store. But the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Now, if only somebody would open up an In-N-Out burger joint or Chick-Fil-A around here!

I guess I'm still amazed at some of the regional differences. Whenever I visit my brother in CA, he always asks me to bring him several pounds of Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

IRA said...

I must be tired. Did I really use the words 'I guess' a billion times in my comment above?

mapgirl said...

Sorry babe, but I have to tell you, you might not be able to do your laundry at all hours of the night at your own condo. Check your HOA regs if there are any.

There are units on the same floor as the laundry room in my building, so I have to have it all done before 10pm. And forget about doing it on Sunday evening. Everyone's doing it then.

My next place is definitely going to have in-unit W/D. I hate running up and down the elevator with my intimates. Creeps me out.

Cityslicker Mom said...

i love tj's. there are also long lines here where i live too--hey, maybe it's a marketing ploy to bring people in. You see the long lines, and instantly think it MUST be a good store, so you stay to shop. I've heard it done before.

Cap said...

what the. I've been reading on some other blogs about trader joe at NYC too.

I guess I'm spoiled in california or something, but I don't see what the big deal is.

a line.

to get in a freaking grocery store.

crazy world.

Caitlin said...

TJ's has pretty good prices in addition to the wonder that is their frozen food aisle...but a line of 100? that's absurd.

Frugal Homemaker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frugal Homemaker said...

My husband lived in LA for a summer, and when we went to Trader Joe's, we both nearly fell to our knees and wept at the beauty of it. At the time we lived in Colorado, with no Trader Joe's. We envy those of you who have one. We still talk of it like it was a magical, once in a lifetime vacation destination. Those of you who have Trader Joe's just don't understand!

Now live in Kansas. We don't even have a Whole Foods here. *cries*

Anonymous said...

Yes - the line is true. I saw it myself on Sunday. The line was bigger than those at Marquis or Home. Ridonkulous. I love TJ's and visist one back home all the time but would never wait to get in. Plus, you can't even do proper grocery shopping (there is no proper vegetable/fruit/meat/seafood section...there is some frozen stuff and a few spots devoted to produce).

SMB said...

Haricots verts--are they long, slender green beans?

Anonymous (directly above), I got the same idea when I went into Trader Joe's--I had a feeling I'd never be able to do all of my shopping there, so I've never really gone back. But, I also live in an area w/ a lot of farms, so I don't feel it's a necessity...

Madame X said...

SMB-- yes, they are the skinny, smaller green beans that you can eat whole without snapping off the ends.

John Trosko said...

Trader Joe's built a brilliant concept. Here in Los Angeles, just about everyone, including vegans, vegeterians, meat-eaters, kids, seniors-- it seems everyone, stops by at some point monthly to get something from their aisles of goodies. It's a community gathering place, it's a social hang-out-- I know people have met dates there. Their $2 buck Chuck wine has become a household word in the chic-est of households I have been in (sometimes for drinking, sometimes for cooking--- depends.)

There is a theory in retail marketing about the line syndrome. My friend talked about it Abercrombe when, sometime at the end of January, the line in one of their stores was insanely LONG. He said it's a theory on success, and making people feel they're missing out if they don't buy something. So they want to get in line and wait. It is wierd.

But when the line dies down at TJ, you are still left with quality and fair prices. I also have known their employees-- non-union but very happy and well-cared for. It's an evolution in the right direction for Manhattan!

Orangina said...

ahhh you got lured by WFoods! give it some time, by the time the hoopla dies down, and the line is nonexistent i think you will have such a great experience there. for what you bought at WFoods, you could've bought 2x as more, and satisfied that hunger w/ naughty chocolate that's actually good for you!
but i digress, i'm w/ you on the line, i wouldn't have waited either..

Joe said...

I work down the block from the TJ near Union Square. Everday when I am on my way home I walk past and that line is looooooong. Guess its just the initialy fad.