I have been missing Marks & Spencer Simply food for the past few weeks. There is no grocery store like it here in the US. We do have Whole Foods, Mollie Stones, and Andronico's which I wouldn't dare go into since you have to make more money than the Beatles to shop there and being the unemployed bum that I am, I am skint. So what other options are left for the cheapskate, food obsessed Flippin' Yank? Why, TRADER JOE'S of course!
I love you Marks & Sparks but TJ's is a tough contender! TJ's is the bomb diggity of grocery stores! Here's why:
1)Most of their products are organic, all natural, and high quality.
2) Hella cheap prices for organic food products. You can get away with spending two weeks worth of organic for only $40. This is unheard of!
3) A massive and unique selection you can't find in a regular grocery store like sparkling sake, soy chorizo, chili spiced mango (dried fruit snack), irish soda bread cranberry crisps (also see my grocery haul below)
4) Great wine selection for cheap prices. 2 buck chuck. Nuff said.
5) VERY Vegan and Vegetarian friendly grocery store. I'm an omnivore but if I were vegan or vegetarian, I can easily see myself going crazy in this store.
6)(Ahem...They don't close at 6PM. They don't close at 3pm on a Sunday.) TJ's is open until 9pm. Every. Single. Day.
7) Customer service is top notch. Super friendly and helpful staff. You can tell they really love their job and like being there. TJ's must treat their employees well. To top it off, they wear tacky Hawaiian shirts!
TJ's does have its cons. I'm sure some of their products are a miss (although I haven't personally encountered this yet), just choose carefully. Their "Food To Go" section is not as amazing as M&S. M&S is king in this department. Nothing beats M&S dinner for 2 for £10. Oh and M&S decadent desserts. *Sighs* Also M&S hummus is the best hummus I have ever had in my life. They must put crack (not craic) in there because I was so addicted to that stuff! Although, TJ's hummus is very close by a hair. Another bad thing about TJ's is sometimes your favorite products become discontinued and some of them come back again months after. Their stock is inconsistent. One major gripe I have about TJ's is that the layout of the store isn't very organized. I found myself running around the store like a headless chicken. They shelf products in random places like crackers above the frozen food section. WTH? TJ's should seriously send some spies to scope out M&S because their store plan is impeccable, very user friendly and well organized.
Any of you Yanks or UK natives had experience in both stores? I am curious which you prefer and why? And for the Yank abroad, do you find yourself pining for TJ's? What are your favorite TJ or M&S products? Feel free to leave a comment. :)
My grocery haul:
Organic Red Pepper & Tomato Soup $2.79
Organic Blue Agave Sweetner $2.99
Ack-Mak Crackers $1.39
Organic Greek Style Yogurt $1.69 x 3
(Plain, Vanilla, Honey flavors)
Greek Style Nonfat Yogurt $1.19 x 2
(Pomegranate, Blueberry flavors)
Frozen Garlic Naan Indian Bread $1.99
Olive Oil Spray $2.99
Brown Rice Tortillas $2.49
Roasted Creamy Almond Butter $4.99
Whole Wheat Pita Bread $1.49
Mediterranean Hummus $3.99
Portabella Mushrooms $2.99
3 Cheese Lite Shredded Cheese $3.99
Soy Chorizo $1.99
Cuban Style Black Beans $1.29
Organic Marinara $2.29
Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip $3.29
Pizza Sauce $1.89
Total: $50.29 <--- Awesome! :D