General FAQ's

Curious why we wear hawaiian shirts? Often wonder why we ring the bell in our stores?
Click on a question below for some answers!

1. How is shopping at Trader Joe's different from what you may be used to in a supermarket?

At Trader Joe's, you won't find a lot of branded items. Instead, you'll find unconventional and interesting products in the Trader Joe's label as well as everyday basics. We buy products we think are winners and that'll find a following among our customers. Sometimes it's a product we intend to stock as long as it sells well; and sometimes we buy a product which is in limited supply, sell through it, and you won't find it again. It's all part of the shopping adventure at Trader Joe's.
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2. What can I expect from Trader Joe's private label products (anything with Trader Joe's, Trader Jose's, Trader Ming's, etc. on the label)?

Trader Joe's private label products promise great quality fare for exceptional, everyday prices. We taste everything before we put our name on it and offer only what we feel is extraordinary. We tried it. We like it. If you don't, bring it back for a refund or exchange β€” no hassles.

When you see our name on a label, you can be assured that the product contains:

  • √ NO artificial flavors or preservatives
  • √ NO synthetic colors
  • √ NO MSG
  • √ NO genetically modified ingredients
  • √ NO partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans-fats)
  • √ NO "marketing" costs
  • √ YES tasting panel approval
  • √ YES quality ingredients
  • √ YES great price

Trader Joe's β€” it's quite a name, if we do say so ourselves.
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3. Do you have weekly specials or sales on your products?

"Sale" is a four-letter word to us. We have low prices, every day. No coupons, no membership cards, no discounts. You won't find any glitzy promotions or couponing wars at our stores. If it makes you feel any better, think of it as all our items are on sale, day in and day out.
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4. Why do you guys wear those Hawaiian shirts?

Fun or fashion faux pas? It may not be runway model attire, but our Crew is unafraid to make a bold fashion statement. We wear Hawaiian shirts because we're traders on the culinary seas, searching the world over for cool items to bring home to our customers. And when we return home, we think grocery shopping should be fun, not another chore. So just relax and leave your worries at the door. We'll sail those seven seas, you have some fun with our finds at your neighborhood Trader Joe's.
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5. Why do the prices and selection vary from state to state?

Trader Joe's has stores in many states and regions and we try to source goods locally where we can. Because of this, we have a selection of fresh deli products, breads, dairy and juices that will vary in most states.

At the same time, we want to offer the best prices on all these local yokels. Laws, taxes, deposit requirements and our distribution costs are different in each state for a variety of products. This is true most notably in sodas and alcoholic beverages. Since our costs are different according to these regulations, our prices may vary on the same item in different states.
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6. Why does TJ's frequently discontinue products?

Our mission is to bring you the best quality products at the best prices. To do this, we have to manage our store space well. Each of our products must "stand on its own," meaning it must pay its own way. Each product passes certain criteria in order to earn its way onto our shelves – including a rigorous tasting panel.

There may be several factors that determine why we discontinue products:

  • It may be a seasonal product - for example, strawberries, which are in season only specific times of the year.
  • The gang way factor - because we introduce 10-15 new products a week, we have to eliminate 10-15 items in order to give our newest items a fair chance.
  • The cost of producing the item may increase, which would in turn increase the cost to you - if the item is not a strong seller, we may choose to discontinue it.


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7. Can I order your products online?

No. We're just old-fashioned. We set up our stores with care, finding just the right crew and adding a flavor of paradise. After considering the options, we're still just big β€˜ole fans of the neighborhood grocery store where we can say hello when you're looking around wondering - what's for dinner?
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8. Do you guys franchise?

No. Trader Joe's is a privately held company.
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9. Is Trader Joe's publicly traded?

No. Trader Joe's is a privately held company
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10. I don't want to receive the Fearless Flyer by mail. How do I get removed from your mailing list?

First, we want to clarify — we mail by "bulk rate" only (this saves us boatloads of money, which of course saves you money), and we mail to "Resident" addresses. We don't buy targeted mailing lists, so you'll never have to worry about us using or selling any private information about you. If you still want to be removed from the list, the easiest and quickest way through our Newsletter Sign Up/ Removal Form, which you can link to right here.
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11. What do the bells mean at my local Trader Joe's?

It's a kind of Trader Joe's Morse code. Those blustery PA systems just didn't feel right to us, so we came up with a simple system to communicate - island style. One bell lets our Crew know when to open another register. Two bells mean there are additional questions that need to be answered at the checkout. Three bells call over a manager-type person. Honestly, it's much easier than the ole message in a bottle trick.
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