These are some sad times, folks. As you may or may not have heard, the founder of Trader Joe’s, Joe Coulombe, passed away on February 28, 2020. As a huge TJ guy myself, I decided it was best to spend my day writing a tribute to whom I consider the GOAT.
I remember the days I used to get so frustrated with you, I would walk down the aisles of your kingdom at Trader Joe’s with a puss on my face. You were so selfish in my eyes, I could never understand why I could not just get a regular branded bag of cheerios. It always had to be Trader Joe’ios, it was always about you Joe.
The thought of having to go to two different supermarkets just so I could buy cleaning supplies and laundry detergent just disgusted me, but it didn’t take long for me to realize the true greatness in your master plan.
It was a wicked cold 68 degree November day in Los Angeles, I was on my fifth sample of the new vegan mac and cheese bites you were introducing to the store when I realized, Trader Joe’s is so much more than a grocery store, it’s home. You and your employees took me into your Fortune 500 company with open arms. You never asked why I would spend my weekdays from 8 to 10 AM sampling your complimentary new dark roast. You never asked why I was in the 10 items and under lane when I clearly had 16 items. You never held me responsible for not losing my parking ticket and paying full price. You just opened that garage gate without any questions asked. And Joe that’s what I hope heaven does to you right now. Because nobody deserves that more than you.
Joe, even when the dairy section has expired tags on most of its milk cartons, I vow to still buy that carton of milk. I vow to keep buying those $22 bottles of Pinot Noir even though I know it only costs you $9 to make it. Thank you for paving the way for supermarkets worldwide. Thank you for showing me the way grocery shopping is really supposed to be done. It’s a pain in the ass that you guys don’t have a Trader Joe’s loyalty program, but you have more than my loyalty, you have my heart.
Rest in peace Joe, rest in peace.