7 Major Changes to Expect at Trader Joe's Moving Forward
As states move into the various phases of the reopening process, it's important to remember that the coronavirus pandemic isn't over. In some states, COVID-19 death counts are on the rise, and many companies are still advising employees to work from home. Until there's a coronavirus vaccine, it's hard to imagine anything going back to normal, even things we used to take for granted, like grocery shopping.
With that in mind, here are some of the changes that Trader Joe's has implemented in response to the pandemic. Expect these Trader Joe's changes to stay in place for the coming months, as people are still encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks. (We know: We miss the demo station's samples, too.)
And if you love TJ's, don't miss these 18 Amazing Trader Joe's Shopping Tips to Know.
Plexiglass barriers separating customers and cashiers
It's hard to observe the six-foot distance rule when you're at a checkout counter. To keep employees and customers safe, grocery stores across the country, including TJ's, have installed plexiglass barriers to minimize the spread of germs.
Bans on reusable shopping bags
If you diligently bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store and reusable cups to the coffee shop, the pandemic likely put a dent in your environmental goals. Many stores, including Trader Joe's locations in New York, have stopped allowing customers to bring reusable bags to the store, in order to prevent the spread of germs.
For shoppers in metropolitan areas, seeing a line outside Trader Joe's is nothing new. The store's affordable prices bring shoppers to the grocer in droves. But with social distancing rules implemented during the pandemic, fewer customers are allowed in stores at a time. So expect to see lines outside TJ's, even at suburban stores.
Place markers on the ground
Both inside the store checkout lines and outside the store for customers to await entry, TJ's has implemented place markers so customers know where to stand so that they'll be six feet apart.
Employees in masks
Whether or not your local TJ's is strictly enforcing customers to wear face masks before entering the store (please, just wear one), the employees will be wearing them. You might even see some fun Hawaiian-print masks to go with the store's theme.
As product availability fluctuates during the pandemic, Trader Joe's has started selling name-brand items when its private-label versions weren't available. Some of the brand-name products that have been seen at TJ's include Land O'Lakes butter, Mt. Olive pickles, and even hotel-style toilet paper.
No free samples
One of the best parts of going to Trader Joe's is visiting the demo station, where you can taste the store's house-brand food and even get a mini cup of coffee. But during the pandemic, these sample stations have been closed, and it doesn't look like they'll return anytime soon.
And once you're home with all those groceries, try out these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.