It would be an understatement to say that Trader Joe’s needs to get it together. Ask anyone who has recently traveled to the center of the health food movement, and they would agree wholeheartedly.

On my last trip to Trader Joe’s, I had to wait what felt like an hour to purchase my pumpkin spice cookie butter and alkaline water with electrolytes. I thought to myself, “How could this be? I know the cashiers can be talkative, but I am practically knee-deep in the cold-brew coffee of the person standing behind me. This is not normal.” My heart started pounding harder, and I was seeing spots. Was I going to be there forever?
I asked the people around me if they had any clue what was going on, but no one had answers. Annoyance radiated off of every customer’s existence as they waited. When it seemed like all hope was lost, one of the employees approached me with a tub of gingersnap cookies. Crunchy, spicy, everything I could have wished for in this trying time.
This Trader Joe’s employee was angelic. Like a beacon of light bestowing itself in the dark of the abyss, his presence was nothing short of a miracle. I took handfuls of those gingersnap cookies and thanked my new savior for his goodwill. Just as was I gaining some hope for this line situation, the employee was gone, and I realized I forgot to ask him what was going on. Disappointed in myself, I figured I would just wait out the storm with my gingersnap cookies.
After what felt like a millennium, I made it to the cashier. I greeted her and received no response. She told me what my total was and I inserted my card into the credit card terminal. In that instant, it was as if I had awoken some kind of sleeping giant within her. Her eyes widened as she said, “You are one of the only people to notice that we changed our credit card terminals today.” Realizing that that must have been what held up the line, I almost passed out from the stupidity.
Trader Joe’s has updated its credit card payment terminals and confused the general population in the process. Instead of swiping, customers with chips on their cards have to stick their cards into the terminal for it to be read. People are so used to swiping, it is their automatic response to do so after being told their total. This miscommunication ends up doubling their checkout time and quadrupling everyone else’s wait time. Why? This is a question that haunts me to this day. What I can say is I am a proud survivor of the Trader Joe’s crisis and have no plans to return until it is over.
Or at least until I run out of cookie butter.