There’s nothing quite like going to Trader Joe’s. There is so much to love. The smell is delicious. You’re greeted by bouquets of flowers, pots of herbs. It’s a small market style store. The prices are unbeatable (or at the very least, matchable). You can send your older kids off to find different items on the list and they won’t get lost. Hidden stuffed animals for kids to look for while shopping keep them semi-distracted from the hell that is shopping with kids right before dinner because they get an organic sucker from the treasure chest if they find them all. The friendly, happy to be at work staff make you want to work there. But, best of all, THE WINE SHOP. Because I’ve been there in the actual market and seen the moms with the many children and the babies and looking around hoping no one notices her kids squealing to get out of the cart or asking to buy whatever random thing they found. I give them a look of solidarity, knowing the thoughts they are thinking.
“what was I thinking coming here for dinner food, right before dinner?” “I should have made a list.” “I don’t even care if the bananas are organic, can we just get some damn bananas already?”
Also, you can get a little flatbread pizza thing with brie, tomatoes and basil for like, $4.
Then, we all stand there while the lovely enthusiastic, friendly people check us out with our re-usable bags. The kids think they are almost free. While I make small talk, they sweetly ask me if they can get chocolate and I look at it and say yes, because who in their right mind will deny a 6 year old girl with giant blue eyes, organic dark chocolate?! It’s GOOD for them AND they know that because of course, I taught them.
But then, the beeline of people to the WINE STORE. I mean, we all go. Mostly. There is always at least ONE child saying, “Mom, we ALWAYS have to go to the wine store.” (insert major groan of disdain and annoyance). It’s like the happiest place on earth in there. Who is ever unhappy buying wine? I used to think that all the time when I was working at a liquor store part time. EVERYONE came in happy. Today I overheard a man say he had no preference of the wine as long as it was drinkable. I laughed at him and he said, “I mean, really it just has to have alcohol.” Another mom behind me told her child to throw the sucker stick away in the trash can under the “Rum of the Gods” sign behind the cashier. I looked at her, too, and she said to me, “great parenting, right?” Absolutely. No worries, mama. We all understand. No mom-guilt allowed.
People always make friends in the wine store at Trader Joe’s. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know, but my kids are better behaved in there than the actual store. Can I also give a little shout out to the store for putting a cute little dragon fly on the organic wine labels? Nothing like making that easier for those of us who want the organic to avoid getting all stuffy from the sulfites in regular wine. All of us moms with the multiple children can finally acknowledge that we made it through the actual shopping and just as the kids get their sucker, we get that bottle of $3.99 Pinot Noir that obviously pairs perfectly with whatever is for dinner that night.