How Shopping At Trader Joe's Will Be Different Now

We don't think we are exaggerating when we say just about every supermarket in America has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. There are few grocers left that will allow customers to come in without wearing face masks — and the numbers of people allowed in the store are regulated, and where social distancing has to be observed while shopping or while lining up at the checkout. 

We've also seen changes at Trader Joe's which, at the start of the pandemic, had to adapt quickly in order to try and keep its crew members and its customers safe (via Trader Joe's). These measures, which remain in place today, include the installation of plexiglass barriers at checkout stands to separate employees from customers and to encourage social distancing. Like Costco, Trader Joe's has asked all customers to wear face coverings while shopping. Trader Joe's also no longer allows customers to use reusable bags (although we're fairly confident this will change when the pandemic ends). And if you see lines outside the store, it's because management can only allow a certain number of shoppers in at a time (via Eat This, Not That).

Trader Joe's is now carrying name-brand goods

The biggest change that we need to get used to at Trader Joe's is the lack of items that makes the grocery store one-of-a-kind (via Trader Joe's). Like everyone else, Trader Joe's was getting hit by lack of supply where some goods were concerned — and an oversupply in others. As a result, the company's "Marketing Product guy" Matt Sloane says, "The buying team was calm and methodical and really looking at 'what do we need' and 'how can we best fill that need.' And it turns out by looking in places other than the usual places. You might see a 5-pound bag of rice where we previously only sold a 1-pound bag of rice." 

This also means Trader Joe's is having to do something it's never really done before, which is to start selling name-brand items, including Land O'Lakes Butter and Mt. Olive Pickles, in place of some of its quirky private label items.

Another thing we won't see at Trader Joe's for a while are their fabulous free samples. Unfortunately, we also think its probably going to be a while before they make a reappearance.