SHOPTALK : Men Who Dislike Shopping Find a Home at These Stores : Trader Joe’s wide selection of foreign and domestic beers, along with ‘guy’-style gourmet foods, prove a strong lure.


Every family has its own unique holiday traditions. The Shoptalk Family is no different. Mrs. Shoptalk does all the shopping, wrapping, decorating and cooking. After the holiday, she is still busy, returning, exchanging and, of course, shopping at some of the biggest sales of the year. Traditionally, she collapses a couple of days before the New Year.

This is when, traditionally, Mr. Shoptalk springs into action. (Coincidentally, this is usually about the same time the last turkey sandwich has been consumed.) Mr. Shoptalk is not worried. He heads straight for that quintessential “guy” grocery store. That manly, macho store of the many sauces, dips, chips and beer--Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s is a unique gourmet grocery and liquor store. Unique in its selections and low prices and uniquely a magnet for men shoppers. Your husband may not have seen the inside of a grocery store since his bachelor days; he may refuse even the most desperate pleas for milk or diapers, but he’ll have no problem shopping at Trader Joe’s.


Why is it that a man who steadfastly refuses to shop relishes a trip to Trader Joe’s? Perhaps their vast selection of discounted beer is one reason. We counted 52 varieties of beer, ale and lager. Beer from England, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Australia are all big sellers.

There’s plenty of New Year’s Eve bubbly here, too, at great prices. Mumm’s Rose Perrier Joue and Mumm’s Cordon Rouge are available for $17.99 There’s also a huge wine selection. Mondavi and Sterling Vineyards are called the “aristocrats” of California wineries. Mondavi’s ’93 Napa Valley Chardonnay is $9.99 and a ’91 Cabernet Sauvignon by Mondavi is $11.99. There is lot of wine available for less money, too.

For nondrinkers, there are plenty of sodas, juices and fancy waters available at discount. A 12-pack of Hansen’s soda is only $2.99.

Mr. Shoptalk needs a strong cup of coffee in the morning these days. Trader Joe’s has wonderful whole-bean coffees like Viennese roast ($4.91 per pound) and French roast ($5.65 per pound). Decaffeinated coffees run somewhat higher in price. For a really quick jolt, we prefer the chocolate-covered espresso beans ($3.79 for a 12-ounce tub).

Trader Joe’s cheese prices are unbeatable. There is also a great selection of dried fruits and nuts. The selection of mustards and hot sauces is probably another siren call to Mr. Shoptalk (a.k.a. the Sauce King).

Trader Joe’s manages to keep its prices low by buying directly and in large volume. They do very little advertising and they do not have an advertising agency. They also eschew borrowing and pay in cash to get better prices for their customers.


For whatever reason men love to shop Trader Joe’s, we are grateful. Our New Year’s resolution is to make shopping Trader Joe’s a year-round tradition.