Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Thought It Wasn't Possible to Love Them More

You'd think I would be referring to my husband and son. But then you wouldn't know the true depth of my relationship to Trader Joe's.

Conor and I went to TJ's this morning after his doctor's visit. He has pinkeye and all we need is the medicine. We opted for TJ's because our local pharmacy doesn't open until 10 and TJ's opens at 9.

We weren't 10 feet in the door when a woman approached us asking if we wanted to go on a Safari Hunt. Apparently, TJ's hides 4 stuffed animals around the store and randomly hands out drawings of the animals and a map of the store. One then shops and hunts for the animals and marks them off (although we didn't know that so I just had Conor color them when we found them). Some were really hidden and some were more obvious. It took us a while after we finished shopping to find them!!

However, during the entire process, employees kept coming up to Conor and making a big deal about it and he was getting more and more excited. (And more and more crusties and goop were forming in his eyes. Lovely)

When we finished shopping and found all the animals, we went to the front of the store and handed in our sheet. The manager made a big deal out of it, asked Conor's name, gave Conor a high five and gave him a fruit bar. Pretty cool.

THEN he got on the store loudspeaker, announced the day's first Safari winner CONOR and all the cashiers started ringing their bells, cheering, and clapping. Conor was about to die: face splitting grin and nonstop excited seat squiggles. It was a combination of shyness, pride and excitement that makes my heart about explode just thinking about it.

I fell more in love with this store, a store I've already loved more than any other store in the United States (even more than Murray's Cheese Shop), with a love deeper than I thought possible for something that cannot hug me back and doesn't call me to check in and see how I am doing.



Carroll said...

I could not possibly be happier for you, Anita! Am planning to print out your story and give it to the manager at all of my (cough) three (cough, sorry about that) local TJ's. I can so see Conor reacting to all that hoopla, and without a doubt his grins and excitement really made the day for all those TJ's folks too. Maybe all the politicians of the world should take a field trip to that place!

Carroll said...

Oh, and another TJ's anecdote: A few years ago I happened to be shopping there on my birthday, and when the nice checker asked, as they always do, how my day was going and I told him "great, it's my birthday, and..." He right away said "What's your favorite color?" and before I knew it, there was a huge beautiful yellow chrysanthemum plant in the top of my basket, complete with insisted-upon celebratory carry-out, and a hug when we got to the car. I tell ya. Those people probably break all kinds of "rules" (giving away the merchandise? physical contact with a customer? likely frowned upon at most retail establishments) but man do they create customer loyalty!

burkinator said...

De-lurking again to say that your earlier post reminded me that TJ's had opened. Went by yesterday after work. Love, love, love that place. Had to walk out before spending everything. The wonderful cashier gently packed my groceries in paper, without even mentioning plastic. Love the place.

Carroll said...

PLUS (!) Around here, if you bring your bags back, or use cloth ones, they will enter you into some sort of weekly raffle for conscientious customers. GREAT place!

Rachel said...

I love TJs too. The closes one is an hour from us. I had no idea they did stuff like that for kids.

I don't know what they are called, but they have the best unhealty treat. It is a soft raspberry candy covered in chocolate. They are very adictive.

OneTiredEma said...

The safari story is great!

I too heart TJ's, although they keep discontinuing stuff that I fall in love with (dried strawberries, Nirvana burgers). They take away the pecan caramel clouds and I am so out of there.

Miss M always expects a balloon--one time when they were out of helium the checker asked if he could give her some stickers instead. To which I replied, "Only if you want a 3 year old as your best friend." He took the gamble :-)

(PS If I were closer would offer you some ebm for the pink eye!)

nancy said...

Just thinking of you today and hoping everything went well.

Carroll said...

Me too, Anita. And thought about you last night during your prep process too :-) Hope you got at least a few good extra sleepy minutes out of the experience.