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    14 Tips And Tricks For Shopping Like An Expert At Trader Joe's

    Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have Trader Joe's orange chicken thrust upon them.

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    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their expert-level tips and tricks when shopping at Trader Joe's. Here are their responses:

    1. Grocery shopping with kids? Every Trader Joe's hides a stuffed animal somewhere in the store! If your kid finds it, you get to skip the line and win a small treat. Win-win-win.


    "Every location hides a mascot (in Boston we have a Lobster named Rocky) somewhere in the store so the kids can look for it throughout the shopping experience and turn it in for a treat. It makes shopping easier for moms with little ones because it turns into a game for them." —candygundy

    2. Have you ever looked at something at Trader Joe's and wished you knew what it tasted like? Well boy are you in luck! You can take ANY item to the sample counter and ask for a — you guessed it — sample!


    "If you want to try something, bring it to the sample counter and they will open it and give you some. I was at Trader Joe’s with my stepdad and he commented that something looked good. The nearest employee grabbed the package and practically dragged us to the sample counter and let us try it." —jac1126

    3. Don't feel like you need to make quick decisions! Really take your time to look at everything. Maybe that means you need to block off some extra time in your day so that you aren't in a rush when deciding which type of bread you want this time. The only thing a time crunch will give you is stress and indecision.

    Looney Tunes

    "Take your time and really look around at everything because it’s easy to miss some really amazing products."—jaimem4348b3795

    4. If you're new to the Trader Joe's family, have an open mind to trying all sorts of new things. I never knew I needed a handful of TJ's kettle corn on the hour every hour until I gave it a try!

    "Chimichurri rice in the frozen aisle has saved my life. I don't even want to think of the person I would turn into if my precious chimichurri rice were to be taken from me. Nothing else compares."—sweetovercoat64

    5. Come prepared! Making a grocery list is not a revolutionary idea, but organizing it according to aisle and food category is pretty ingenious. And TJ's has a printable shopping list to score all the items on their current Fearless Flyer to make things extra easy.

    "I created a shopping list sorted by aisle. Every week I plan my meals for week then check off what I need on my list. It’s so much easier to have the list premade and you don’t have to double back for anything since the list is in order you walk through the store!"—spacebabe13

    Shop with the Fearless Flyer list here.

    6. I know calling someone on the phone these days is a foreign concept, but it's still a thing! If you want to make sure your cauliflower gnocchi is still in stock by the time you get off work, have them hold it for you for same-day pickup.


    "If you’re making a trip for one specific product, call ahead to make sure they have it! They can even put it on hold for you so they don’t run out. They can absolutely do it for seasonal products, just not flowers."—nostalgiccrab28

    7. Try your best not to go on an empty stomach because your eyes will be bigger than your budget. If you are feeling like you could use a snack, take advantage of the sample bar (it's free).


    "Don’t go on an empty stomach / when you’re feeling hungry. You will spend so much more money than planned!"—chelseahardass

    8. If you live in a major city or your TJ's is just always packed this tip is for you: Get really good at shopping on the line. This takes a few trips to TJ's to really get the lay of the land and build the confidence you'll need to do this swiftly.

    Getty Images

    "The key here is knowing exactly what you're going to get and where it is so when you pass it, you just pick it up! It's like carpool but for your food. Keep in mind that you shouldn't be holding up the people behind you!" —JenniferTonti

    9. OK so we all know and love Trader Joe's food, but don't sleep on their skincare and pet food options! You'll grow to love them as much as much as you love TJ's chicken tikka masala.

    Instagram: @

    "I think their food items get the most attention, but don't sleep on their bath and body options. They sell a rose scented facial spray I love to use to refresh. And the pet section is great too — my dog loves the biscuits and jerky snacks!"—alyssas4af7964da

    10. Pay attention to prices and sizes, especially when comparing regular and organic products. Get to know the produce and sizes to figure out what a good deal actually looks like.


    "Former TJ employee here! I worked at one of the busiest locations in the country, so I have lots of tricks and tips! Pay close attention to the size of organic products (especially produce). TJs offers a lot of great options for different lifestyles. However, the pricing of a lot of the organic vs. conventional products is too good to be true because usually it is. Ex: Organic cut and peeled carrot bag only about 20¢ more than conventional bag right next to it, but the conventional bag is 16 oz and organic bag is only 10 oz. This kind of thing happens in TJ's a lot more than you’d think"—gms89

    11. Do the opposite of what everyone else does! Instead of starting in the produce section, start on the opposite side of the store and work your way back. Maybe you'll run into fewer people or maybe you'll just discover new things!


    "Don't go straight to the produce because that's usually where everyone starts. Go towards the opposite side and work your way to the produce section. By the time you get there, it will be empty because everyone is on the other side!"—zucchini

    12. For some people, it's all about timing! Try a few different days and times of the week to see which is best for your local Trader Joe's.

    The CW

    "Go shopping right when they open or like 2 hours before they close!" —azepp

    "I go on Sunday early when most people are at church." —fabtruck46

    13. Maybe try listening to a podcast the whole time (with noise-cancelling headphones) so you can zone out into your own world and de-stress enough to make the hard decision of which milk to buy even though you always buy the same one!


    14. And according to some of our commenters, be prepared to meet the love of your life, and no I'm not talking about the orange chicken.

    Cartoon Network

    "Shave and shower before you go. You’re going to find love."—ryanm45818e3dc

    "This is true. I met my husband when we were both working for Trader Joe’s. This is not uncommon."—charmingoctopus49

    Any other tips or tricks that YOU have? Leave a comment down below. Do you want to be featured in similar BuzzFeed posts? Follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter.

    Joe Raedle / Getty Images

    Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.