Things I love about Trader Joe's:
* All-Natural Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits: All-natural and very well-loved puppy cookies in fun--although large--shapes.
* Lindeman's Framboise Lambic Ale: They carry the lambic regularly and in the larger bottle. Take that, QFC.
* Mango mochi: Mango mochi.
* Happy employees: Smiles and friendly service all around. Also, I like that they wear Hawaiian shirts for their uniform.
* Cinnamon & sugar pita chips: Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but in chip form.
* Molasses ginger cookies: They're delicious, soft and not too ginger-y. I forgot I bought some once and dove in even though it had been awhile (probably too long for me to not think twice before popping one in my mouth). The cookies were still soft (a few seconds in the microwave could have taken care of that if not) and tasty, AND I didn't get sick.
* Two-buck Chuck: You can't really beat TJ-brand Charles Shaw for an inexpensive "everyday" wine.
Points off for:
* Awful parking structure: The last few times I've gone, a police officer has been stationed in the garage to help direct traffic and parking. Having parked there and watched others park sans officer, that's a positive and almost necessary development.
* Awful bags: Their bags, while paper and useful for collecting shredded paper recycling, have fake handles. Sure they're there, but they tear away within two minutes of attempting to use them.
* Raising the price of tamari almonds by almost $2, making the cost comparable to grocery store bulk areas.
* Difficulty keeping popular products in stock. Despite the fact they restock shelves a few times a week, it can be hard to nearly impossible to find certain products, tamari almonds and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds included.
Even with those few points off, I walk in to Trader Joe's and find items I would pick up at a regular grocery store--at comparable prices--as well as specialty items. And then I leave with about 15 other things I didn't expect but that delight me, and I go home happy. Lather, rinse, repeat.