Market Force Information, a company specializing in customer intelligence solutions, recently named Trader Joe’s to be America’s favorite grocery store. The company surveyed nearly 7,000 people from across the United States. Shoppers were asked to name their favorite grocery store, and then were asked to rank their choice on categories such as convenience, low prices, and selection. All of this may be fascinating to a statistician, but not incredibly stimulating to the average person. Thus, rather than go into market reports or sales trends (things that you likely stopped caring about after you failed Economics your sophomore year of college), I’ve decided to pick a few of the major grocery store chains and break down the typical shopper.
I’ll be honest, the only thing I’ve ever enjoyed about Trader Joe’s is that the staff is required to wear Hawaiian shirts. You walk into the store and you don’t know if you should be buying bananas or helping the Brady Bunch solve the mystery of the taboo tiki. It’s a total mind fuck.
Why Americans picked this place as their favorite chain is very confusing to me. Personally, I’ve always felt that people who shopped here were either overweight moms desperately searching for supplies for their newest weight loss cleanse, or pretentious yuppies that claimed to actually enjoy apricots and almond butter. Newsflash: buying a frozen curry dinner doesn’t make you more cultured than the people buying Lean Cuisines next door. It just makes you have an upset stomach.
If you shop here, odds are you have money. That, or you’re helping out the economy with your massive debt. Either way, you’re comfortable with and willing to spend seven dollars on a head of lettuce because it is said to be organic. I’m sorry, unless it was washed with Jesus’s tears, the lettuce isn’t worth it.
The real reason you shop at Trader Joe’s isn’t really because you prefer their brands or appreciate the wine selection, it’s because you’re a pretentious asshole. You like knowing that it’s so small that more than fifty people in the store would create a fire hazard; it’s an intimate club that wraps your purchases in your brought-from-home cloth bags. Enjoy your overpriced produce and your recyclable bags, asshole.
If you can’t tell, I hate Trader Joe’s and I hate the people who shop there. Plus, the store is owned by Germans. I know we’re supposed to be passed the WWII drama, but I feel a little uncomfortable purchasing food from people who once shot at my grandfather. You know what I mean?
Chain Stores (Publix, Winn-Dixie, HEB, Hy-Vee, etc.)
Granted, some of these stores are nicer than others (ahem, Publix), but in general, these are your average, run of the mill grocery stores. You won’t find anything fancy here. There’s no pizazz, no show, no production. It’s a grocery store, plain and simple.
Here, you will find the soccer moms, the singletons, the adorable older couple, and one or two homeless people (depending on the city). This, ladies and gentlemen, is America. It’s a melting pot of race, culture, and socioeconomics. Sure, the lady checking ringing you up may resemble that of a trucker’s girlfriend (hell, she may even be one), but that doesn’t bother you. She rings up your coupons and calls you ma’am, and that, my friend, is good enough for you.
If you shop here, you love this country and support the free-market economy. You don’t need the pretentiousness or fuss of other chains, and you don’t mind that the plastic bags holding your shit may one day choke a dolphin. That is concern for another human, not you. As long as you have your Hungry Man and your Jif, you could really give a fuck about anything else.
The thing you have to understand about Wal-Mart and other discount stores like it, is that you are going to see some fucked up shit. Before entering a Wal-Mart Super Center, you have to have a very real and very serious come to Jesus talk with yourself.
Questions such as… Am I willing to look past babies drinking Mountain Dew? Will I be bothered if the woman next to me in the meat aisle is not wearing shoes? And, am I comfortable using single ply toilet paper? …should all be asked. If you are content with your answers, proceed to the land of discount shopping, you little saver.
If you shop here, your only priority is to save money. You may have a lot in the bank, or you may be contemplating pushing drugs. Either way, you’re tight with the purse strings. You don’t need a glamorous shopping experience, or even a clean one, for that matter. As long as you’ve got your 10-pound box of Ramen Noodles and the canoe that you think you’ll be able to sell on eBay for a profit, you’re content.
Bear in mind, at one point or another, you will see a 15-year-old bride who strongly resembles the kid on the back of your milk carton. But hey, it’s your conscience, not mine.