If there’s any supermarket worth physically going into, it’s Trader Joe’s. With apologies to Aldi, which we’re big fans of, Aldi’s distant cousin has one of the coolest, friendliest, most interesting store climates of any grocery store we’ve ever visited. The layout is colorful, the products are unique, and the workers are as friendly as it gets.
And yet, if recent history has told us anything, it’s that sometimes people prefer to order things online, either for curbside delivery or for shipping to home. Most retailers, including most grocers, now offer some form of online ordering. Aldi, for example, offers both curbside pickup and home delivery through Instacart.
What about Trader Joe’s? Can you get TJ’s products delivered to your home, or even to your trunk?
The answer is no. Trader Joe’s does not offer any form of online ordering or delivery. No curbside pickup. No home delivery. No shipping through the mail. Nothing. If you want TJ’s products, the only way to get them — unless you have your own paid personal grocery shopper — is to go to the store yourself and get them.
Trader Joe’s is one of the more tech-simple grocers out there. For many years the supermarket didn’t have any kind of social media presence, and only in the last few years — starting around 2018 — has it tiptoed into places like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, along with podcasting. (Trader Joe’s still doesn’t have a Facebook presence.) Before that, it was by and large just about keeping a tidy website.
The chain is more active online now, but it’s clear TJ’s still views the in-person experience as the most important experience. It seems to me that the store believes its employee culture, which is about forming relationships with customers, is one of its main selling points. Those connections don’t happen online.
And they certainly wouldn’t happen with online ordering. Using a company like Instacart would mean putting a different set of employees between Trader Joe’s and customers, which could reflect negatively on TJ’s. Even using TJ’s employees to fulfill curbside orders, like Aldi does, would change the dynamic. After all, you can have a lot more conversation with a worker scanning and loading your bags in the checkout aisle than you would with them dropping bags into your trunk.
It’s certainly possible that in the future Trader Joe’s might open the doors on some sort of online ordering, whether it’s through a third party company or through TJ’s employees. For now, though, if you want to pick up your favorite Trader Joe’s products, you have to do it yourself.