I love Trader Joe's. From their inexpensive wines to the amazing frozen appetizers to the dried fruit selection, I'm a Trader Joe's gal. In fact, I don't think I've ever met anyone who disliked Trader Joe's. Therein lies the problem. EVERYONE LOVES TRADER JOE'S. And when everyone tries to go shopping from 5-7pm on weekdays or at all on weekends, it is pretty much impossible to go there, especially when all you need is a package of dried cherries. TJs was so ridiculously crowded when I went in there that a woman actually ran me over with her food-laden shopping cart as I bent down to figure out which cherries I wanted. All she said was, "Oh I didn't see you." Yeah no kidding, Lady, because you just ran over my foot! @#&%$*! I wound up leaving and going to an alternate grocery store because there was no way I was waiting in line for 25 minutes for one bag of dried cherries (although they and the granola I made with them were both delicious).
One time my TJs was so crowded and such a cluster-you-know-what that upon entering a departing customer wished me good luck. And I needed it. I understand that stores get crowded near holidays, and on weekend afternoons as people stock up for the week, but this Trader Joe's seems to be insane most of the time. It's difficult to navigate the aisles full of shopping carts, the lines wrap around the store, and the free samples disappear within seconds.
If you are brave and patient enough to visit this Trader Joe's when it's busy--so, anytime, really--under no circumstances should you drive. Both of their parking lots are completely full at nearly all occasions. I didn't see this happen but an employee got pinned between two cars when someone was trying to get into the parking lot. There is even a dedicated traffic director in the main lot and I'm not kidding when I estimate there are only around 30 spots. It is not a large parking lot, hence the problem.
Before you think I'm getting all down on your beloved TJs, remember how much I love it as well. Their vegetable gyoza, the already-sliced watermellon, the frozen palak paneer dish and their roasted unsalted almonds fill my kitchen and my stomach. I just don't like my grocery shopping to be a full-contact sport.