Fans Revealed The Most Expensive Items They've Bought At Trader Joe's

Over the last decade or so, Trader Joe's has gone from having a tight-knit community of shoppers to a full-blown cult-like following, and for good reason. Within a nine-month time span, the company added 15 additional locations to its impressive 552-store roster — and in the middle of a pandemic, no less (via Trader Joe's). According to ScrapeHero, 34% of those locations can be found in California, translating to 191 stores in the Golden State. Trailing (far) behind in second place is New York with a mere 32 stores. This leaves 329 (and counting) Trader Joe's stores sprinkled between the two bookend states.

Why do these numbers matter? Unlike large grocery conglomerates, all Trader Joe's stores are more or less the same. Sure, the specific decor may differ, but the bulk of their offerings do not. Nationwide groceries can't say the same. For instance, Kroger is based in Cincinnati, but owns and operates subsidiaries all over the country, like Ralphs in California (per Funding Universe). The two companies may not necessarily offer the same products, leading to different consumer experiences. With Trader Joe's, the brand's proprietary products are essentially copied and pasted with each new storefront. This means customers around the country can all bond over many of the same specialty food items, even if certain products — like freshly prepared foods — can vary from state to state, as Trader Joe's notes on their website. While this has fostered a burgeoning TJ's community, it's also led to a conversation surrounding the market's most expensive items, and whether they're worth it.

Trader Joe's has a pricey cheese selection

It's no secret that Trader Joe's is home to some seriously delicious finds. The mandarin orange chicken?! Or how about the plant-based Hearts of Palm pasta? Just as buzzworthy is TJ's liquor selection, stocked with its popular Charles Shaw wines, plus seasonal beers and mixers. With comfort food cravings and organic, healthy alternatives, not even long lines could keep TJ's shoppers away. The brand's pricing, on the other hand, has been somewhat divisive.

While the chain is widely known for its fair prices, not every item they sell can be considered a bargain. In a thread on Reddit, Trader Joe's patrons shared products that have sent their grocery totals into the deep end. Unsurprisingly, the most common answer was liquor. Others chimed in that Trader Joe's olive wood cutting board cost a pretty penny ($40 to be exact), as well as cotton candy grapes and seafood (specifically frozen jumbo scallops and wild salmon). One Redditor pointed the finger at TJ's expansive, but expensive, cheese selection. However, they ended up rescinding their grievance because after a thorough inspection, they found that TJ's was pricing the cheese wedge at a fraction of the cost compared to other stores in the area. While sharing their most expensive TJ's purchases, almost all Redditors defended the high prices, chalking the higher bills up to better quality, taste, and freshness. Plus, most said they got leftovers out of their purchases, too. It seems that to Trader Joe's fans, the overall quality of a product outweighs the hit to their wallets.