You can find me at Trader Joe’s

“Isn’t this like the third time you’ve been in today?” asked a Trader Joe’s employee as I browsed over their salads for lunch in between classes. I’m not sure if it’s the delicious and healthy food, awesome prices, friendly employees or the overall experience Trader Joe’s provides that makes me love it so much, but whatever it is, I keep going back for more.

Right off Avineda de los Arboles, Trader Joe’s sits within a mile of California Lutheran University, making it the closest grocery store for students on campus. For commuters like me, it is hard to ignore the conveniently placed grocery store every time I pass by.

Senior Mikaela Polster is an employee at Trader Joe’s mainly because she has the option to walk to work, but also because, like me, she spent a lot of her time there and figured she might as well be making money.

“One of my favorite things about working there is that I work with some really great people, and I’ve made some really great friends,” Polster said in an email interview.

Trader Joe’s was founded in 1958 as Pronto Markets and in 1967 their founder changed the name to what we know it as today, Trader Joe’s. Hawaiian shirts, cedar planks and tiki huts make the average grocery store trip much more than that, an experience.

“I think that is the reason why Trader [Joe’s]  is so popular, because [of] their emphasis on customer service and making each customer’s experience as pleasant as possible. [It] isn’t something you really see nowadays from big businesses,” Polster said.

Even when I don’t need groceries, I am always willing to hop in the car and go with a friend for some free samples and a little cup of coffee that never changes, yet I “test it out” every time.

Trader Joe’s also does several awesome things that a lot of people are not aware of. They accept returns on any item you decide you don’t like. I bought a bag of kale chips last year and brought the opened bag back in and they gave me a full refund.

Polster knows first-hand that employees are friendly, caring, kind and always willing to help customers with anything.

“If you ever go into a Trader [Joe’s] and want to try anything before you buy it, any employee will open it up on the spot for you to try. All you have to do is ask. It’s great because who wants to buy an entire bag of Sriracha flavored chips just to find out you hate them,” Polster said.

Not only do I live off their ordinary, but awesome yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter and oatmeal, I also find myself splurging on chocolate covered anything and pumpkin versions of food I never thought were possible. 

Polster said her favorite’s are the pumpkin pop tarts and the sweet potato chips.       

Trader Joe’s two-buck chuck, $2.99 wine for those who are unaware, has been a game changer, especially if you throw in some crackers and goat cheese.

According to a 2010 CNN Money Article, “Trader Joe’s full-time crew members, the people that stock the shelves, ring up and bag groceries and help customers in the aisles, can earn starting salaries between $40,000-$60,000 a year with benefits.” 

Not only are the employees getting paid well, they’re getting fed well, especially during Christmas.

“That’s another one of my favorite parts about this job. I get to try everything since they want us to know what it tastes like so we can talk to customers about it. You don’t even want to know how many different types of Christmas cookies I’ve had in the past couple weeks,” Polster said.

Trader Joe’s does a lot of good for a lot of people and whether I’m stocking up on food for the week or buying a friend some peanut butter cups, Trader Joe’s is where you’ll find me.

Katy Lindor
Staff Writer
Published November 18th, 2015