Are Trader Joe's some of the worst laid out stores?

#1
I understand they are paltry in terms of size compared to other major grocery stores, but they really don't use their space very efficiently.

They just opened one today near me, and at 8PM at night it was a complete logjam trying to do anything.

They don't have enough space from the front of the aisles to where the cash registers are, and it was so bad you had to go down aisles from the rear, and then back through the rear since the front of the aisles just funneled into a mass of humanity.

Couple this with the fact they have employees out stocking shelves with product that isn't even close to being sold out, so they have trolleys filled with product, taking up even more real estate. It makes no sense, especially when you consider the store closes in a hour, and the closing crew can stock when customers leave. It's like they saw someone buy a jar of mayonnaise, so the employee goes in the back and gets a box of mayo to replace the one jar.

They should have their aisles go perpendicular to the registers to allow better flow.

Once again, I get opening days are busy, but it was to the point you couldn't move in the front third of the store.
 
#10
Might be just too much flow to handle as it is grand opening?

My TJs get busy but flows pretty nicely.
Trader Joe's is a place that doesn't need normal shopping carts, but does anyway.

They should only have


What was odd is that they brought some employees from the other nearby store that being Princeton NJ which was one of the first TJ's in NJ, and the one lady was like "Oh this is just a busy Saturday for us from that store."

But with how small their checkout area is, it kind of sucks because they don't have conveyor belts, so you can't have multiple people queue their food up to be scanned.
 
#11
Yeah the one in my town is always a fucking mess-inside and out. The parking lot is a nightmare and then inside the store is just another traffic jam. People going this way and that, blocking aisles-which means other people are waiting to move-and they in turn are causing a blockage.

And yes-employees are always restocking.

This is basically what every square inch of my store looks like:

 
#12
Might be just too much flow to handle as it is grand opening?

My TJs get busy but flows pretty nicely.
I used to live literally around the corner from one and don't like to plan my meals far in advance so I'd go very frequently, including the day they opened. The difference between opening day, as well as the first couple of weeks, and like 2 months in was huge. I think you're right that it's just the grand opening and will settle later.
 
#16
It's pretty bad. For some reason I always feel rushed when I go there. I think they want to just herd you through before you realize they don't have nearly as much stuff you need compared to an actual grocery store.
 
#17
Like I understand some stores are limited by size, but this one could have bought the entire building footprint for the old B&N that was there, instead they only use a smaller portion of it.



Orange = Original B&N Footprint
Light Blue = Trader Joe's Footprint
 
#22
I've never been to a Trader Joe's after 9:30am. The checkout lines have never been horrible for me but I can see how some of the aisles (wine in particular) would be a nightmare to navigate given how they like to tilt them and even people buying 2 things are leaning on a 90% empty cart.
 
#24
I've never been to a Trader Joe's after 9:30am. The checkout lines have never been horrible for me but I can see how some of the aisles (wine in particular) would be a nightmare to navigate given how they like to tilt them and even people buying 2 things are leaning on a 90% empty cart.
This is the thing, this store doesn't sell booze, so they should theoretically have more room for product and space since they don't have to stock and shelve alcohol.
 

Skel1ingt0n

I can't *believe* these lazy developers keep making file sizes so damn large. Btw, how does technology work?
#25
Yeah the one in my town is always a fucking mess-inside and out. The parking lot is a nightmare and then inside the store is just another traffic jam. People going this way and that, blocking aisles-which means other people are waiting to move-and they in turn are causing a blockage.

And yes-employees are always restocking.

This is basically what every square inch of my store looks like:

Holy hell, lol.

I've never even thought about it - but this is exactly what the trader joe's in leawood, ks is like. Parking is an utter nightmare. Getting a cart is a pain. And then, yeah, the inside looks exactly like that near the refridgerated foods.
 
#26
It's always a stressful adventure going to TJ. People leaving their carts in the aisle while chatting on the phone, taking up all the space I'm the meat aisle, slow shufflers, etc.
 
#28
The goal is to make you take the most circuitous path possible to complete your trip, and to keep you in the store as long as possible. Every grocer does this.
I know someone who spearheaded the rewards program at Safeway. Literally the only reason the rewards program exists is to understand what people buy.

By associating your purchases with a fixed account, they can see buying trends from individuals. They run big data analysis and as a result they strategically fix the stores so that people follow the longest paths to get what they want, so you have to walk through everything. That's why milk and eggs are ALWAYS are at the back of any grocery store.

It's crazy.
 
#30
Right, there’s logic behind the design. Confusing doesn’t equal bad.
It leans heavily on people not going to IKEA every day or week. The frequency of visits is so low that they can encourage people to wander and browse. It doesn't annoy me for exactly that reason. If an electronics store in a strip mall was planned out that way, that shit wouldn't fly.
 
#34
Oh, of all the markets I've ever been too, I've seen the most people blow up at the cashiers at TJs. Not saying why, but let's just say that privilege runs deep.
 
#36
Yeah the one in my town is always a fucking mess-inside and out. The parking lot is a nightmare and then inside the store is just another traffic jam. People going this way and that, blocking aisles-which means other people are waiting to move-and they in turn are causing a blockage.

And yes-employees are always restocking.

This is basically what every square inch of my store looks like:

My local Aldi's in Marietta, GA can get like this at peak times during the weekend. I usually try to go in right when they open up as its usually still a ghost town at that point.
 
#37
Yeah this is the case with the TJs in my area

And yet, mysteriously, the lines never get long enough for it to really matter
I've never been a to TJ's that didn't have enough cashiers to get me out the door quickly, even when they were busy. Meanwhile I've been to Safeways every hour of day from 10 AM to 3 AM and I don't think I have ever been able to leave the store without a ten minute fucking wait.

Store layout is a minor inconvenience, understaffed registers are a pain. And insulting to boot because the fix is obvious, they just don't want to pony up one more employee's worth of cash.

In conclusion TJ's is great, f the haters
 
#38
Even with all the lanes open and each one having a cashier and bagger it took 25+ minutes. It sounds mean but TJs hires bubbly people who like to gab and do so even when it's a zoo. You can be polite and speedy, but these people just seemed to talk and talk.

Plus with how small their checkout area is, it tends to logjam, since there is no conveyor belt to put your groceries on. This means only one person can get ready to check out at a time.
 
#39
Even with all the lanes open and each one having a cashier and bagger it took 25+ minutes. It sounds mean but TJs hires bubbly people who like to gab and do so even when it's a zoo. You can be polite and speedy, but these people just seemed to talk and talk.

Plus with how small their checkout area is, it tends to logjam, since there is no conveyor belt to put your groceries on. This means only one person can get ready to check out at a time.
....'cuz you went there opening day, man. I don't know why you're reading institutional problems into your local movie theater because you're trying to see The Last Jedi on opening night.
 
#40
....'cuz you went there opening day, man. I don't know why you're reading institutional problems into your local movie theater because you're trying to see The Last Jedi on opening night.
Because it seems they aren't big enough to allow decent flow throughout the store. It seems like this is all issue they have at other stores as well.
 
#41
I can rate the TJ's in socal I've been to in terms of accessibility.

Hollywood
Space: A
It's a gigantic location and they keep the layout fairly intuitive. You aren't constantly getting bumped by people shopping for cheap wine and the fresh food/frozen food/other stuff is well organized.
Parking: C-
It's hollywood, the parking is only accessible from a single chokepoint and you often have to delve into the lower levels where there be dragons and a frequently broken escalator

Cerritos
Space: B-
Smaller than the hollywood locale but still not all that bad
Parking: A
Outdoor parking that's part of a larger mall complex, but the stores near it aren't terribly busy so the lot always has spots. Lots of exits from the lot.

Torrance
Space: D
Cramped as fuck, probably the same logjam nightmare that the OP is referring to. The space is very deep but narrowly packed, the checkout lanes all feed out into a lane not suited for more than two shopping carts at a time.
Parking: D
The parking lot is part of a much larger outdoor mall but the spaces flow in and out of two bad chokepoints that flow right past the front of the store, making it a huge nightmare to even enter the lot from PCH.

Culver City
Space: D
About the same as the Torrance store, but the exit feeds out onto the sidewalk instead of a parking lot
Parking: F
It's Culver City, which manages to be worse than Hollywood.

Overall I just go to the locations that are the least hassle for me and avoid the others if I can.
 
#42
I understand they are paltry in terms of size compared to other major grocery stores, but they really don't use their space very efficiently.

They just opened one today near me, and at 8PM at night it was a complete logjam trying to do anything.

They don't have enough space from the front of the aisles to where the cash registers are, and it was so bad you had to go down aisles from the rear, and then back through the rear since the front of the aisles just funneled into a mass of humanity.

Couple this with the fact they have employees out stocking shelves with product that isn't even close to being sold out, so they have trolleys filled with product, taking up even more real estate. It makes no sense, especially when you consider the store closes in a hour, and the closing crew can stock when customers leave. It's like they saw someone buy a jar of mayonnaise, so the employee goes in the back and gets a box of mayo to replace the one jar.

They should have their aisles go perpendicular to the registers to allow better flow.

Once again, I get opening days are busy, but it was to the point you couldn't move in the front third of the store.
Trader Joe's is not open late, so the stocking has to be done by ~11:00 (depending on the store), necessitating them stocking early.
 
#48
Dude, Trader Joes has alooot of stuff for such a small store. They put their snacks and desserts over their fridges. And they carry way too much booze. But once you get the layout, you should be fine. Just don't go at 5:30pm when every other person is getting off work.

Ikea designed their walkways to entice people to buy shit, but there are shortcuts everywhere. It's just that most people are stupid and can't read a fucking map. Trust me, I've been a Lyft/Uber driver for 3 years. People are fucking stupid with reading maps and directions.