“End of the line” at Trader Joe’s

23 Nov
Essay by Aaron Galbreath

The Man at the End of the Line / Narrative.ly

For your reading pleasure…

You’re in NYC. In a city that never sleeps, Trader Joe’s is faced with 24/7 people who love to shop and a flock of customers bigger than anywhere else in the U.S.

Enter the end-of-the-line sign. And the most important part, the end-of-the-line sign holder.

Why is there such a sign and such a sign holder?

With so many people in the store at any given time, it can become disorienting. That group of people in front of you – are they waiting to sample mini pies and coffee? Are they just making their way to the marinated tofu and unshelled edamame? Or are they the end of the checkout line?

That’s why.

Aaron Gilbreath has beautifully captured the swarming TJ experience. His essay, The Man at the End of the Line on the Narratively site, offers insights about TJ efficiency and the people who steer the crowds. It’s a great read.

Here’s a sample:

“The longest wait I’ve ever seen,” a supervisor says, “is fifteen minutes.” But that isn’t the longest on record. A crew member named Teresa remembers lines so long during both Hurricane Sandy and Thanksgiving last year that they snaked through frozen foods in both directions and out onto the street. A desperation filled the air on those days, a fog of tense hysteria that seemed to waft from the throngs of customers who streamed in from the street. “The honor guard had to close the front door,” Teresa says. “We had to let the line go and let people in, let the line go and let people in. It was a process, but we’re efficient.”

Happy reading!

[Are you in New York? Please share your end-of-line experiences and thoughts!]

Thanks to Narratively for permission to repost their content.

Advertisements

2 Responses to ““End of the line” at Trader Joe’s”

  1. Ttrockwood December 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    I live in nyc and if you’re talking about the union square location someone is wrong- most of the time the line takes close to a half hour (evenings and weekends) and they have lines to get in the store before any major storms, when the kids move into the nyu dorms, and before major holidays. The chelsea location isn’t as busy but weekends their lines are still 20-30min.

    • Procurrent December 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for your insights! Sounds like the NY TJ’s are busier than most locations in the country! In Kansas City, even at the busiest times, we never have cause for a line person!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: