I had never been to a Trader Joe's, but I thought I generally understood the concept: Before you go to your friend's house for dinner, this is where you stop by and pick up a six pack of an IPA and some manner of fancy food bullshit so that your guest duties are fulfilled. Trader Joe's is what would happen if Central Market and World Market got drunk at a luau and made a convenience-store baby (assuming, of course, that World Market decided to keep it).
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But there is not one thing that anyone needs that is available in this store. I'm confident that Trader Joe's is a social experiment put on by the people of Stuff White People Like. And so far, it's working. The place was packed with people like Mitt Romney is packed with stupid.
The layout of Trader Joe's somehow makes less sense than the layout of Forever 21. It's just a bunch of miscellaneous shit in a room that someone went through and price-tagged. This leads people to wander in forever-loops through the store, passing the free-trade coffee they were looking for eight times before they actually see it.
I was on my own forever-loop quest for a six-pack of cold beer. Because it's summer. And summer needs beer always. I found the warm beer, the warm wine -- but surely somewhere there was a refrigerator dedicated to a few six-packs, right? This is Texas.
For a moment, my quest was interrupted by a gaggle of fitness people in their fitness clothes talking about their fitness and blocking the entire aisle. I turned around to exit the aisle in the other direction, and a group of beards talking about their fear of probiotics blocked my way. There were several groups of people throughout the craziness that were just hanging out, blocking the aisles, chatting it up with friends as if they didn't live in the same city and had just run into each other after a 10-year hiatus, "I LOVE HUMMUS, TOO! I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M HERE AND YOU'RE ALSO HERE AT A FANCY GROCERY STORE RIGHT NOW!!" A grandma and I locked eyes. She shook her head at the chaos and rage-pissed her Depends.
After elbowing my way through the very-excited-slash-panicked-to-be-spending-money-on-organic-chocolate-covered-cherries-on-a-Sunday-afternoon masses, I approached one of the 500 smiling employees.
"Important Question: Where is the cold beer?"
Employee: "Um... no. No, we don't have that anywhere."
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Aaaaand I'm immediately done here.
Random customer nearby: "Oh, look -- there are more veggie corn dogs in this freezer case, too, sweetie."
More. Frozen. Veggie. Corn dogs. What say we get some of those veggie corn dogs out of the refrigerator case and fill it with six-packs, huh, Trader Joe's (if that's even your real name)? Why did you freeze veggie corn dogs in the first place? Were you afraid they were going to go bad? Impossible. They couldn't possibly go worse than they already were at conception. There are so many refrigerators in this place refrigerating things that aren't beer. It's unsettling. It's unnatural. Put beer in your veggie drawer, Trader Joe's. It's what everyone else in America does.
I don't care how many bags of freaking amazing horseradish cheddar chips you stock in that store (and you do have them, and they are a fantastic product), I'm not coming back until there's cold beer.