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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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.