I Finally Discovered the Best Day and Time to Go to Trader Joe’s

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Steve Heap)

I learned on my very first Trader Joe’s trip in New York City that attempting to do my weekly grocery haul at 5 p.m. on a Sunday was a rookie mistake. Not only is there an obscenely long checkout line that snakes throughout the aisles, but there’s also a trail of people just waiting to step foot in the store.

Alas, I had an empty fridge, so I waited in line(s) … only to find that three crucial items on my list (baby carrots, hummus, and all variations of non-frozen chicken) were already out of stock. Yes, chicken! The trip was a total bust.

Feeling inspired (and the strong urge to never wait in line ever again), I devised a very sophisticated method to determine the most pleasant weeknight to conduct a grocery run: I decided to go every single night to pick up a few groceries and assess the situation.

Here are my very legitimate but not at all statistically significant results.

  • Monday rivaled Sunday in terms of crowds and frenzy. The end of the checkout line was already butting up to the store entrance. My best bet was to hop directly in line and shop as we made our way toward the registers.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday were slightly better — but not by much. I still had to dodge some serious cart and basket traffic.
  • Thursday was a breeze. I was in and out in a matter of minutes!
  • According to this highly scientific data, it appeared that the farther I got into the week, the less crowded my local TJ’s became, so I assumed Friday would be even better. Wrong! The store was buzzing with shoppers stocking up for the weekend ahead.
  • I did not attempt a Saturday visit, because that’s when I like to spend time with friends. But I’ve since walked by Trader Joe’s on enough Saturdays to know that it’s a bad idea.

My New Trader Joe’s Shopping Time

Thursday night has become Trader Joe’s night. (The later, the better!) I go almost weekly and have never found any evidence to debunk my original findings. I’m sure many of you will tell me that the stores aren’t all that busy first thing in the morning, but shopping for raw chicken right after I finish my morning coffee is just not appealing to me.

So, by the power vested in me, as a frequent grocery shopper, I proclaim Thursday to be the best night of the week to shop at Trader Joe’s. Although, I hope that’s still the case now that the cat’s out of the bag!

How about you? When do you like to do your shopping at Trader Joe’s?