What Trader Joe's Shoppers Are Saying About The Store's Bare Shelves

There is prep work to be done when it's time for a big food shopping trip that can include picking out recipes for the week, making a full list, gathering your reusable bags, and gassing up the car. Imagine after all that work getting to the grocery store only to find bare shelves? According to some Trader Joe's Reddit users, this is exactly what's been happening to Trader Joe's shoppers across the Northeast, in states including Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

The thread starts with a shared photo of the Trader Joe's produce section. Both the produce section and the refrigerated section behind it are pretty scarce. There are no bananas on the display and the meat section looks barren. The post prompted other customers to share their recent experiences. "TJ's in Fairfax had almost the entire refrigerated section blocked off because it was empty. The pantry, freezer, and snack aisles were fully stocked though," shared one user, while another user reported that it was the "Same in Pittsburgh, PA today. Hardly any dairy, produce, or bread...looked almost post-apocalyptic." 

But why are the shelves empty at Trader Joe's?

Bad weather may be the cause of product shortages

The lack of product at Trader Joe's is concerning, but according to one Reddit user in the thread, it's only temporary and it's due to the recent bad weather. There is a TJ's warehouse in Pennsylvania that a lot of the stores in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast get products from, and one Reddit user claims, "there is some rule about trucking in bad weather." 

According to The Guardian, the winter storm that has just affected much of the Northeast has caused outages, blocked roads, and monumental delays. This could be why stores in the region are down to bare bones. One Redditor shares, "ever since a weather related accident a few years back they cancel routes during storms." Though we are unable to confirm this, it's a plausible theory.

While most people on the thread reported shortages in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., other areas seem to be facing empty shelves, too. New York, New Jersey, and locations across the country seem to be experiencing similar issues. "This is happening at all stores," reported one employee from Oakland, California. "For us, it's gotta be supply chain, not weather," hypothesized a customer in Santa Barbara, California, whose store is emptier than usual. There are also reports from Southern California and Seattle, Washington (via Reddit). Between the winter weather and possible pandemic-related supply chain issues, there may continue to be some food shortages moving through the winter.