The Least Crowded Times to Shop at Trader Joe’s, According to a Store Manager|Recipes Spots

The Least Crowded Times to Shop at Trader Joe’s, According to a Store Manager

Trader Joe's store front
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Ciara Kehoe

A trip to Trader Joe’s is nothing short of a big adventure for me. My closet store is about a 30-minute drive, so it’s not a place I pop into spontaneously, but rather one I make a plan to travel to for stocking up.

The only problem is I never know what kind of crowd I’ll face when I walk through the doors. When I can hardly find a spot to park, I know I’ve chosen the wrong time to shop and yet, I made the trip so I am not going to turn back around and head home.

Instead, I hold my breath and bump elbows with shoppers in the aisles.

There’s a better way to make the shopping trip less hectic: According to a store manager who runs TJ’s Ask Me Anything on Reddit, there is indeed a science to what days to avoid and what days to shop at Trader Joe’s.

boy sitting on trader joe's cart
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The Best Times to Shop at Trader Joe’s

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the least crowded days at Trader Joe’s and therefore the best days to shop. “Right when we open is honestly the best time to go,” says the store manager on the subreddit. “We get fresh produce in every morning so you can get the best products, and some stuff actually will sell out for the day around 2 to 4 p.m., including perishable and non-perishable items.” 

What’s the worst time to shop? You probably won’t be surprised to learn it’s the weekends. “I think it’s hilarious that people go on Sunday and complain that we are so busy,” says the store manager.

This also falls in line with my own observations. While Saturday and Sunday are the easiest days for me to get out to my local Trader Joe’s, so is the case for pretty much everyone else. If you must make the trip on the weekend, go early in the day.

However, if you can swing heading out on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning instead, you’ll be greeted by small crowds without a doubt. You’ll be able to browse the newest snacks with ease and worry less about your favorite freezer meals selling out. 

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