Skip to main content

These Are the Worst Times To Shop At Trader Joe's, According to Insiders

Trader Joe's has attracted something of a cult-like following, thanks to its reputation for viral-worthy food products.

The "neighborhood grocery store" not only brought Cauliflower Gnocchi and that to die for Everything But the Bagel Seasoning into our lives, but it's also pretty budget-friendly. That's especially important in this day and age of food inflation

Now here's the only caveat with a trip to TJ's: the crowds. You can't just simply "swing by" the shop for a last-minute pick-up on Saturday afternoon—you'll be stalled in a line wrapped around the store for the better half of your weekend. You don't want that. The longer you're stuck in line, the longer you have to wait until you're devouring that bag of Chili & Lime Rolled Tortilla Chips

So, when are the best and worst times to shop at our beloved Trader Joe's? We're breaking it down here.

RELATED: These Are the Absolute Best Times To Shop at Costco

shoppers wait outside Trader Joe's grocery store

Early morning is a safe bet.

While there are a lot of factors that can affect store crowds, the first hour after opening is a safe bet for most shoppers. "I am in San Francisco and go normally right at or within [the] first hour of opening," one customer wrote on Reddit. "Rarely more than about ten in store shopping and no wait to check out." Another user chimed in, recommending "as early as possible on a weekday," while a college student noted "any time in the morning is typically low traffic with no lines outside, even on Saturdays and Sundays" if you live near a campus. 

This is consistent with industry research on the subject. According to marketing research agency Gongos, 28% of grocery shoppers said that between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. was the best window, with another 23% preferring 9 a.m. to noon.

Most TJ's open at 8 a.m. Set your alarm accordingly.

Right before closing is a good idea, too.

If you can't make it early in the morninghey, I get it, I'm not a morning person eitherright before closing is a good option, too. "I find an hour before closing to be the best time where I live," another Reddit user wrote. "I live in an area with a lot of older folks who prefer to get up early and go to the store instead of late in the evening when they are winding down for the night." 

Several other Redditors echoed this sentiment. "At my store, I find that if I can't go super early in the morning, then the last hour before closing time is the best time," one wrote. "The store is very empty and they're restocking shelves for the next day already so (usually) nothing I want is out of stock." 

Now that's the strategy to get your soup dumplings, friends! 

Go smack-dab in the middle of the week.

An actual Trader Joe's employee, based in New York City, not only confirmed the theory that early mornings are the right time to shop, but added that mid-week is best—specifically Wednesday. "Wednesdays at 8 a.m. are when you should shop," he told Eat This, Not That! Another employee, however, chimed in that Thursday was actually the better option. "So, if you want the day where you can literally do cartwheels in the aisles, come on Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.," he said. 

Long lines queue in Trader Joe's store

Weekends are the absolute worst.

According to our same trusty TJ's insiders, you should avoid Sundays at all cost. "By far, Sunday is the busiest dayall day," one employee said. "Saturday is almost as busy as Sunday. Monday is even a busy day." Take a mental note! 

Where you live will play a role.

Now here's the big 'ole but: while our findings are relatively consistent across the board, where you live obviously plays a role in the best and worst times to shop at Trader Joe's. For example, while Sundays may be the busiest times in NYC, a Reddit user in a "religious area" pointed to Sunday morning as a prime shopping window, considering that many church-goers are otherwise occupied.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers suggested later in the evening. "I live in New York, and the only time TJ's (any of the locations) aren't hell on earth is after 8 pm," the user said. "Once in a while it will be a little busy, but if I hit the store around 8:30 it's usually not terrible. Especially on Saturday or Sunday. Some things may not be in stock, but considering I've been intentionally rammed with a cart twice at two different TJ's, I would rather have peace." Fair enough.

Check Google Maps before you go.

While you can always call your local store for the tea on timing, here's another hack: use Google Maps. The online feature gives you a liveyes, real time!update on how busy the store is at that moment. Search for your local TJ's, click maps, and scroll down. You'll find the "popular times" feature and you can either check out the live status, or even check daily/hourly averages if you're planning a later visit.

Now, go get your Cookie Butterand maybe an extra jar for me, too.

The post These Are the Worst Times To Shop At Trader Joe's, According to Insiders appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

One Major Side Effect of Taking Viagra, Study Says

Viagra, containing the drug sildenafil, is one of the most talked-about prescription medications on the planet. Patented in 1996 and hitting the market in 1998, its primary purpose is to help men achieve an erection. "Viagra is indicated for erectile dysfunction, pulmonary artery hypertension, and off label for Reynauds," Dr. Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP , Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, explains to Eat This, Not That! Health . "If you don't have one of these issues, probably should not take it." According to the National Institutes of Health , the drug, available as a tablet or liquid suspension, should be taken anywhere from four hours to 30 minutes prior to sexual activity. "Sildenafil usually should not be taken more than once every 24 hours," they note. So what can happen if you take viagra daily? Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "L