The Secret Behind Trader Joe’s

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I’ve always been a little curious about how and why Trader Joe’s has acquired such a cultlike status, and over at Vox this morning Rebecca Jennings tells all:

Trader Joe’s does not participate in traditional advertising, never has sales, and is known for frustrating product shortages…. The majority of its products are private label, a.k.a. “generic”…. While most grocery stores carry about 50,000 units of product in store at once, Trader Joe’s typically only has around 4,000…. “People don’t think of [Trader Joe’s products] as generic,” Mark Gardiner, author of the book Build a Brand Like Trader Joe’s told Eater. “[They think] ‘it’s Trader Joe’s — that’s the brand,’ and it’s a special brand that you can only get here. The truth is that almost all of this is stuff that you can probably get at another store within a few miles of that Trader Joe’s in a different package with a different name.”

Basically, they sell a limited selection of generic stuff but they put fun labels on it. Huh.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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