The front of the store is crowded, it’s a mess. Long lines, big orders, children yelling, bells ringing as the clerks call for help.
Is there not a bell I can ring too? H.E.L.P.
I choose the shortest of very long lines, and finally get to the front. And then I realize I have made critical grocery store mistake #2 – I forgot the bars. Great. The one thing I came here for and I forgot. And I am not coming back here today, or any other day at 11:45 am, so I regretfully exited the line to go select my bars.
Back to the lines. Is it possible that they could have grown exponentially longer since I last was there? Possible. Very possible indeed. So I wait in line. A very long line. And as children jumped at the counter and swung on the carts, it came to me. The answer to why children seem to love this very organic place…
Mini-me carts and free balloons.
Say no more. Trader Joe’s has cornered the market on this one and captured the attention of every kid. Balloons were like cocaine – serious, the kids couldn’t get them fast enough and once they had a purple one they wanted a green one instead. And the mini-me carts? Pure marketing genius. Show me one kid that didn’t have that cart stacked with unnecessary empires of highly unprocessed foods. I saw one kid with a mini cart filled with 8 loaves of bread. EIGHT LOAVES OF BREAD (yes, I counted, again, LONG LINE). And you know what mom did – bought them, bought them all.
At that moment, the noise level reached a crescendo and the whole scene took on more of a carnival feel than a store. Balloons floating to the ceiling. Kids running with balloons. Kids running with bananas. Kids waving last minute buy-me-now items at mom. Kids filling up carts just as quickly clerks emptied them and mom paid.
So there I was, with my small basket, and all of a sudden feeling like I needed a small cart and a balloon realizing if you can’t beat them you might as well join them, grab a banana, scream at the top of your lungs, accept the fact that the whole store is going bananas anyways so you might as well just enjoy the show and stay.