Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Jan 26, 2013 08:01 PM

Trader Joe's: No Discount Given For Bringing Your Tote

This is such a minor curiosity and it doesn't affect my shopping there but thought I'd post. So here in San Diego, shoppers at Target, Whole Foods , and Sprouts get a 5-10¢ discount on the bill per tote that a customer brings in to bag her/his groceries.

Up until a few years ago, TJ would reward customers for this by entering their names in a drawing for a gift certificate.

But they stopped this all together. A very informal observation of mine revealed that most TJ shoppers have the clerk use TJ brown paper bags; ditching the whole I Wll Just Use My Totes movement.

Think TJ abandoned the discount-for-totes beacause 1) It is cheaper for the corp to buy grocery bags vs give discounts and/or 2) They figure the average TJ customer will bring in their reuseable totes regardless of extrinsic rewards?

Thank you for playing. Cheers.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A new law went into effect in California in January. Shoppers at grocery stores must provide there own bags or pay for a bag provided by the store.

    5 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      I know the Bay Area has been doing this already but haven't heard about it in SD. Thank you.

      1. re: globocity

        I thought it was a state law, but it seems the state bill has not yet passed. Many cities and counties are passing ordinances of this type.

        1. re: globocity

          Charging for bags is not a San Diego City law (It is law in Solana Beach, within San Diego County), but is law in Pasadena, where the Original Trader Joe's is located. I think that since they aren't doing a drawing in every store, they stopped doing it altogether.

          [Seeing the comments below that TJs still has drawings in other states, leads me to think the no drawings is a California store policy]

          1. re: Cathy

            [Seeing the comments below that TJs still has drawings in other states, leads me to think the no drawings is a California store policy]
            Some California stores still do the drawings - it's up to each location to decide. The one where I shop most frequently here in LA still has them, but another store a couple of miles away doesn't.

        2. re: GH1618

          That's newly so in Alameda county: No plastic bags, and you pay 10 cents for paper. Similar to what's already on the books in SF.

        3. A bit off topic, but TJ's is one store that I will actually deliberately not use my totes because I love their bags so much! A little taller than standard, thick, sturdy...

          My last apartment had a large open space underneath the sink and you could always find three TJ's bags under there standing in for trash cans. I couldn't find anything else that worked quite as well in the space. Regular trash, recyclables, and compost. Worked a treat!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Violatp

            Not off-topic at all. I like using their bags for recycables too.

            1. re: globocity

              I also use them for recyclables and for garden trimmings.

            2. re: Violatp

              But they double bag. With 2 bags of groceries per week, and only 1 or 2 bags of recyclables, I accumulate more paper bags than I have space for. So I end up taking a cloth bag to TJs more often than any other grocery (such as 99Ranch).

              1. re: paulj

                Well, I did use them for all my trash, so generally used up at least six a week. It worked out. Especially since I had a serious diet pop addiction at the time! (many, many cans. so many, many cans...)

            3. The TJ's here (central NC) still do the gift certificate drawing. Our biggest grocery store chains do not offer any incentive for bringing your own, but many people still do.

              1. I'm in Manhattan, and TJ's here still gives out raffle tickets if you bring a bag.

                1. Nowadays, in Brooklyn NY anyway, if you bring your own bag, you can win a raffle - just write your name and phone number on a ticket they provide. I haven't won yet, and I don't know what I'd get if I did, but why not?

                  For me, the benefit is (a) not having to dispose of TJ's bags when I get home, and (b) not having the handles come off a TJ's paper bag on the way home. Since I bought the TJ's bags I use for 99¢, I don't need more from them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: John Francis

                    Exactly, JF. Bringing your own bag is the right thing to do. Isn't that reward enough?