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Lori Ferraro Headshot

8 Reasons Trader Joe's Rules

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I seriously have a love affair going with Trader Joe. I love his food, I love his face wash, and I love his crazy Hawaiian shirts. But what I really love about going to Trader Joe's is that my kids enjoy going there.

A grocery store that my children willingly go into? I love you even more, Trader Joe.

Here are just a few reasons why you are the captain of my kids' (and my own personal) ship:

1. Carts.
The kids get their own carts? That look just like my cart? They want to help me shop? HELL YES. The only downside is if the store is busy we have to wait for a cart, because duh, they want the cart. Oh, and the other downside is the younger ones slamming into your heels with the kid cart. But what do you want? They're kids. And a kid with a grocery cart full of salad mix, gyozas and garbanzo beans is pretty damn adorable.

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2. Sassy.
I'm not sure if they do this at all TJ's stores, but at ours, if the kids find "Sassy" (a stuffed Sasquatch with a bow on her head) and they tell the cashier at check-out, they get a prize. Prizes range from a lolly to a bouncy ball to a fruit leather to a pencil. It doesn't really matter what it is, because if the cashier is cool he/she will ring a big brass bell above his or her head and all the other employees will lose their minds and hoot and holler for your kid.

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3. Mandarins.
Other mandarins claim to be seedless and sweet, but these "Josies" (cute...) actually are. My older son said they taste like candy. Again, I love you, Trader Joe.

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4. Cats Cookies.
This. Eaten by the handful, on top of vanilla ice cream or dipped in Cookie Butter.

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5. Half and Half.
Every time we go back by the samples, my 6-year-old says (a little too loudly), "Mommy, can I have a cup of that extra creamy milk?" Don't judge -- he's worked up a thirst pushing that cart for me.

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6. Cinnamon Apple Snack Sticks.
And these. Also eaten by the handful, on top of vanilla ice cream or dipped in Cookie Butter. Don't get me started on the Cookie Butter.

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7. Funny Signage.
Okay, this is more for Mommy and her love of musical theater. Seriously, though, this is pretty funny, right?

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And the icing on the cake...

8. Stickers.
You don't even have to ask for 'em! Take one! Take a few! They don't mind!

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All hail Trader Joe's.

Today, during our quest for more mandarins, a friendly employee let my little one cut in line for the bathroom. When we got in there, he took a deep breath and said, "Mommy... this bathroom smells like... bananas."

One more reason to love it there.

Lori's website Drawn to the 80s is where her 5-year-old draws the music hits of the 1980s. Her blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she obsesses about important topics like beauty products, Mick Jagger and Trader Joe's Cookie Butter.