So on Sunday, the hubs and I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time.
Yes, yes, people. I know the Kansas City stores have been open for more than a year. But in our defense, we were waiting until the crowds died down.
And truthfully, I forgot about Trader Joe’s until our recent family vacation in California, where the store is downright ubiquitous. Then I remembered.
On Sunday, we decided the state fair was too far to go, but a visit to the mecca that is Trader Joe’s would fulfill our need to browse.
Apparently, Trader Joe’s is like crack for some people. Before it landed in Kansas City, folks were frequently driving four hours to St. Louis to stock up on all sorts of goodies, like the cheap wine and ginger cookies.
I’m assuming the dyed-in-the-wool Trader Joe-types were not shopping at the Ward Parkway store on Sunday. The earnest-looking organic-seeking bourgeoisie the hubs and I saw shopping there were newer converts, I’m sure of it. You could tell just by looking at them, kind of the way you can smell the difference between the nouveau riche and old money.
I mean, these folks looked like they were trying a little too hard to be laid back.
Women in Merrell shoes and North Face après-hiking attire yet sporting fully made-up faces perused the produce section and aisles full of semi-prepared food. They paused artfully before the organic toiletries, glancing over their shoulders to see if anyone was noticing them. Their carts held previously-used Trader Joe’s cloth grocery sacks, which screamed, “I’m so cool I call this place ‘T.J.’s.”
The dudes weren’t much better, but they looked mostly like they were accompanying their North Face wives and girlfriends.
Yes, I was feeling a little bit unnerved and like I just wasn’t a part of this club and never would be – a not-uncommon feeling for yours truly. Matt, however, was oblivious, oohing and ahhing over the salmon selection and the truly staggering wine department.
Then we turned our cart up the peanut butter aisle. I was trying to keep to the edges, getting my bearings and steering clear of the regulars, who seemed to know where everything is. But I leaned in to look at the Nutella facsimile, to see if it were any cheaper than the one I can pick up at World Market. Just then, a Merrell-shoe-wearing Baby Boomer with chic white hair tooled her cart toward me.
I smiled as our carts almost collided and said, “I’m sorry if I’m in your way.”
She stared back, then said, “You won’t be if you keep moving.” And she kept moving, so I pushed my cart out of the way.
I didn’t say anything, just kept moving down the aisle. I mean, I’m not a member of this club. I kept going, turning into the next aisle. People shoved me aside to get to their favorite frozen organic black-bean-and-lentil soup with roasted red peppers. I stopped to let them, then trudged along, finding a bag of frozen berries I could use.
So I had heard that the Trader Joe’s employees were uber-friendly, but I didn’t particularly witness that. In fact, the women working back by the coffee looked like they were waiting to have root canals. Excited they weren’t. Then again, maybe they were tired of dealing with the stuck-up clientele who seemed to think that just because they eat organic, their you-know-what doesn’t stink.
But all that aside, the hubs and I managed to spend a fair amount on Two-Buck Chuck, ahi tuna steaks and kale, among other necessities.
I’m sure the store might be a different place on a weekday, when those who want to see and be seen are busy working or sleeping or what have you. I longed to see someone who looked like they’d just rolled out of bed at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, threw on some Chiefs PJ pants and flip flops, cursorily combed their hair, swigged some mouthwash and made a run for some snickerdoodles.
But alas, Dorothy. I wasn’t in Independence anymore.
Oh, well, T.J.s. We’ll be back, no doubt. For the wine, if nothing else. And we will be wearing Merrells.