The Secret Behind Trader Joe’s

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I’ve always been a little curious about how and why Trader Joe’s has acquired such a cultlike status, and over at Vox this morning Rebecca Jennings tells all:

Trader Joe’s does not participate in traditional advertising, never has sales, and is known for frustrating product shortages…. The majority of its products are private label, a.k.a. “generic”…. While most grocery stores carry about 50,000 units of product in store at once, Trader Joe’s typically only has around 4,000…. “People don’t think of [Trader Joe’s products] as generic,” Mark Gardiner, author of the book Build a Brand Like Trader Joe’s told Eater. “[They think] ‘it’s Trader Joe’s — that’s the brand,’ and it’s a special brand that you can only get here. The truth is that almost all of this is stuff that you can probably get at another store within a few miles of that Trader Joe’s in a different package with a different name.”

Basically, they sell a limited selection of generic stuff but they put fun labels on it. Huh.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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