Lo and behold! Trader Joe’s is German. It’s a subsidiary of the German discount store Aldi. Here’s what the German news magazine Spiegel has to say about it (scroll down for a translation):
Die abgestürzte US-Mittelklasse als Zielkunde
Was die meisten Amerikaner freilich nicht ahnen: Trader Joe’s hat deutsche Besitzer. Die Kette mit inzwischen 345 Filialen in 25 Bundesstaaten und der Haupstadt Washington ist nämlich eine Tochter von Aldi. Und genau wie die urdeutschen Hohepriester des spartanischen Shoppings gibt sich auch Trader Joe’s geheimnisumwölkt, wenn es darum geht, sich in die Karten sehen zu lassen. “Wir reden nicht über unsere Geschäftspraktiken”, beschied Konzernsprecherin Alison Mochizuki eine Gesprächsanfrage von SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Ich wünsche Ihnen eine wundervolle Woche.” Continue reading
Trader Joe’s markets itself as being super-ecofriendly. “I! Am! So good! For you! And the environment!”, every product in the store seems to scream. Their shopping bags say stupid things like, “Is framing the bag and hanging it on the wall reusing or recycling?” But if sustainability is such an important matter, why do those bags always come in pairs? They don’t put your goods into one bag, but into two that are stuck into one another. I know why. Because the bag’s handles are useless. They can’t carry the weight of a full bag. They tear. Now, let alone the ecological consequences of using twice as many bags as they would if they had better handles. Even economically, it must make more sense to provide every Trader Joe’s with decent bags that have decent handles than using twice as many.
And this is not the only example for mislead/faux American eco-consciousness, as you can see here. 3 points off.
Back in NY, after three months in my lovely home country. Interestingly, I am not (yet) very homesick. Quite the contrary, after one week in the city, I’m getting used to it and I’m almost confident to say: I am enjoying it. The subway, for example, has taken the weirdest detours, stopped, didn’t come at all—I didn’t care! I was amused.
So here’s a list of things that I like about NY:
- Being familiar: It’s nice to get back to a city that I know.
- The view from Williamsburg Bridge: Brooklyn for ever!
- Trader Joe opened a new store in Chelsea, right by my school: it’s new, it’s empty, it’s bliss.
- Kettle Honey & Dijon Mustard Chips
- Getting my coat from the drycleaner on a Sunday
However, there are things I still don’t like. Here’s a list of what I came across so far:
- Smell: Is there really no other solution to the waste management problem? Really?
- Noise: I know the horns of the police and fire brigade make an excellent recurring element in TV shows and radio features. But in real life they suck.
- People at the Fashion Week: not my lot. Überkandiedelt, as we say in Vienna: overly candied.
Given the fact that there are five item opn the like-list and only three on the don’t-like, I’ll score 2 points. Not so bad for a beginning.
There is no place in New York–at least, none that I know of, except Coop, but you need to become a member before they let you shop–I say, there is no place in New York, that offers decent groceries for such a good value as Trader Joe’s. Wholefoods? Pay 60$ and walk out with three items in your bag. Trader Joe’s? Pay 40$ and walk out with two full bags. But there are things you need to know about before you make for one of the stores.
1. Take your time. Make your shopping a leisure activity and a great intercultural experience. Allow at least two hours for it. You’re going to need them (see A Brit out of Water). Because, yes, …
2. … there’s going to be a line. A long line. Last time I went, there were even two lines, or rather three. The usual two that meander through the shop towards the registers. And one on the street, before people actually got into the shop. But have no fear! That’s only on evenings before a Blizzard. Continue reading
Browsing the web on my quest for other homesick people in New York, I found A Brit out of Water, a hillarious blog by a British in New York. You have to check out his 200 things you simply have to know about New York.
My favorites are
9. The longest and most depressing
queueline in the world is at Whole Foods in Union Square.
10. Strike that, I’ve just been to Trader Joe’s.
65. There must be a world surplus of cream cheese. It’s the only explanation for why delis put so much of the damn stuff on every single bagel.
The rest of the list is not only as funny but also very helpful for the brand-new New Yorker. Thanks for the comfort, buddy! One point.