I was intrigued by the title of a fellow ChicagoNow blogger’s post recently: “Trader Joe’s Shopping Nightmare.” What? I thought. How could a trip to Trader Joe’s be a nightmare? We South Loopers love our Trader Joe’s.
We couldn’t wait for it to get here at Wabash and Roosevelt. And when it got here, we were overjoyed. The nice roomy aisles; the food without artificial chemicals. The prices. The niceness of the people who work there, who are treated fairly and pass on the good vibes to the customers. A positive trickle down effect. We so gladly anticipated our Trader Joe’s.
But my fellow blogger made a good point in her post, one that I’d often thought about. Among many things that made her trip to Trader Joe’s icky that day, one really stood out for me. She bought a package of fresh broccoli and cauliflower. And guess where it came from? She found out after she got the package home.
China. Six-thousand miles away. Fresh veggies flown over from China? Why? Although my bf Bruce pointed out, in all fairness, it takes the same amount of time to truck them up from Texas. But China! The same place where food manufacturers have poisoned babies and pets.
Which led me to look more closely and think more carefully and examine more critically the original whereabouts of the food sold at Trader Joe’s. I’d had some clues previously, but I was ignoring them. Like the really good-sounding guacamole they had for sale a few weeks ago. I happened to notice on the package after Bruce and I were half-way through it that it was made in Mexico. What, Trader Joe’s? Are there not enough avocados in your store to mix together with some tomatoes and onion and sell it fresh?
I don’t like eating food from countries where traveling friends have gotten deathly ill–like Mexico and India. Or from countries that haphazardly poison babies and animals–like China. I simply don’t trust Trader Joe’s much anymore. I don’t understand why they have to import so much food. Is that how they keep the prices so low?
Which led Bruce to say this: “It’s Trader Joe’s! That means he goes around the world looking for good deals. In different countries. That’s why you get good prices. He’s finding food bargains in all those countries you don’t trust. Remember, it ain’t Whole Foods.”