Grocery shopping with my 17 month old can be, how do I say it delicately, like one of Dante’s circles of hell. I’m fairly certain that watching me shop with him is the greatest birth control method I can offer to the citizens of East Dallas. It doesn’t matter what bribes or drinks (for him, not me) or toys I bring with me, he will undoubtedly end up trying to stand up in his seat, chewing on the clasp for the buckle (ew), straining and screaming for food he sees in the back of the cart or watching Baby Einstein on my iPhone (to the gasps and judgement of everyone around me who doesn’t have kids).
That was, until, my neighborhood Trader Joe’s opened up. To be fair, while the location on Greenville just opened last weekend, we have been trekking to the Plano location for several months now. Back in my single days when I lived in DC, Trader Joe’s was just a normal place to shop for groceries. Then I moved to a place where there was no Trader Joe’s. I was thrilled, nay, ecstatic, when they started opening Texas locations! (I may have driven to Ft. Worth a few times before the Plano location opened. I’m not kidding).
Little did I know that Trader Joe’s would satisfy my desire for healthy, affordable grocery shopping and keep my busy toddler happy!
So to celebrate the fact that East Dallas (and Plano!) have a Trader Joe’s, here’s why every mom should love shopping at Trader Joe’s:
1. Each location has a hidden mascot stuffed animal that is somewhere in the store (and moved daily). The Plano location has an armadillo and the lower Greenville location has two black stallions. Have your kids be on the look out for the mascots and once they find him, they get an organic lollipop!
2. Their samples are healthy, easy to prepare at home and kids love them! I was raised on samples from Sam’s, but let’s be honest – they weren’t very healthy. Not so at Trader Joe’s. My son has tried (and loved) Baked Cod, Salad, Black Bean Salad and sausage! And they won’t give you the stink eye if you have to circle back halfway through your shopping trip to reload for your kiddos.
3. The Plano location (lower Greenville is currently not participating in this) wants to incentivize you to remember your reusable bags; so every time you remember them, your name will be entered into a drawing for a Trader Joe’s gift card! I am terrible at remembering my bags, but I somehow always manage to bring them with me to Trader Joe’s.
4. Kid sized shopping carts. This could go either way for your kiddos (I sure as heck am not letting my 17 month old loose in the store with his own cart!), but your older kids can learn valuable lessons in having their own shopping list and searching the store for their items. Keeps them busy and teaches a lesson at the same time, my kind of shopping trip!
5. I’ll be honest here, I’m terrible at keeping plants alive. I mean, really terrible. I always start out with the best intentions but at the end of the day, they always end up dead. At Trader Joe’s, as long as you keep your receipt you can bring your (deceased) plant back and replace it with a new one!
6. Not sure if your picky toddler (or you!) will like the taste of something at Trader Joe’s? Find the closest employee and ask them to open it up for you! They are more than happy for you to sample any product on their shelves before you buy.
7. Cookie Butter. Movie Theater Popcorn. ‘Nough said, just advance as quickly as possible to your neighborhood Trader Joe’s, purchase and try not to open before you get home. You won’t make it. They are just that good.
8. Trader Joe’s gives back to your community! Stop by and chat with the location’s donation coordinator. They would love to donate items from their store to your school’s fundraiser, they just need to be the closest Trader Joe’s location to the school program.
9. Trader Joe’s has hands down the friendliest employees. Is your kid leaving a trail of goldfish behind you as you shop? No problem, they will quickly sweep everything up and give your munchkin a smile as they walk by. Screaming toddler on the loose? Always a smile and never a glare. At the Plano location, they even knew my toddler by name after our first two months of shopping there! Little man spent the entire time waving to employee’s as we walked through the store.
10. Last but certainly not least, healthy food at bargain prices. Trader Joe’s works directly with suppliers to keep their costs low. In addition to that, anything with the Trader Joe’s private label means: no artificial flavors or preservatives, no synthetic color, no MSG, no genetically modified ingredients, and no partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans-fats).
So next time you are in need of groceries and are brave enough to venture out with your kiddos in tow, check out your local Trader Joe’s in Plano and on lower Greenville!*Trader Joe’s has absolutely no idea who I am and I received no incentives for writing this post. I just wanted to share this gem of a store with you and your family!*