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[Comments] (6) Commissar Joe: Shopping at Trader Joe's is like living under a really good planned economy. You can get all sorts of exotic food at pretty decent prices, but there's only one brand of everything: the store brand. The few exceptions (soy milk, energy bars) feel like imports from another country. Some of the packaging hasn't been changed in thirty years. The products come and go at the whim of unseen "experts", seemingly unconnected to consumer demand. There's an in-house propaganda publication full of over-the-top writing about how good you have it.

I made this connection on Sunday when I spent twenty minutes standing in the twelve-item checkout line.

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Posted by Sumana Harihareswara at Tue Feb 09 2010 09:34

Planned economies work way better when the authorities tolerate a certain amount of black-market activity, smuggling, etc. In this analogy, *regular supermarkets/groceries* fill that niche.

Posted by Evan at Tue Feb 09 2010 10:33

i really like this observation.

Posted by Susie at Tue Feb 09 2010 10:34

"really good planned"? =P

So very true.

Posted by rachel at Wed Feb 10 2010 15:43

in that case i have trader joe-stolgia

Posted by Kevin Mark at Fri Feb 12 2010 04:55

TJs also has some 'foreign' brands where he make german, chinese, italian and other ethnic sort-of version of ' trader joes'. Like Giovanni instead of 'Joe'.

Posted by Jason Scott at Wed Feb 17 2010 15:17

This is kind of why I stopped going to Trader Joe's: they've become kind of like early 1990s Radio Shack, still living old one-time boldness, pushing a paucity of selection and really favoring packages meant for longevity, rather than relevance.

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