Trader Joe’s Has the Answer to Your Most Annoying Grocery Shopping Problem

updated Apr 5, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Masur

For more than a year now, I’ve been fumbling with those little plastic bags in the produce section for much longer than socially acceptable. They’re just so darn hard to open! A few weeks ago, I humbly admitted to you, dear Kitchn readers, that I used to lick my fingers (during pre-COVID times) to help open those pesky bags. I clearly stopped doing that once the pandemic happened. And, mark my words, that’s a habit that I don’t see myself picking back up once I’m vaccinated — for the betterment of myself and the sake of public health at large.

The reason I won’t go back to my old (read: unsanitary) ways? Not only am I much more germ-savvy now, but I also recently learned a trick to help open produce bags subtly and swiftly. Thanks to a helpful tweet thread started by Apartment Therapy’s Lifestyle Editor, Taryn Wiliford, I simply dip my finger in the little water puddles by the produce section, that are the result of those automated misting machines. I then use the damp finger to unseal the stuck produce bag.

Here’s the thing, though: Not all stores have misting capabilities built into the produce section. One such store is Trader Joe’s. But I recently learned that TJ’s may have found a workaround to that issue, according to this photo posted in one of my all-time favorite Facebook groups: Trader Joe’s Meal Ideas for Busy Moms.

Credit: Corene Pettit

Note: I am not a busy mom (I am not even a mom). But I am a big Trader Joe’s fan, and the group has great meal ideas — thus, I am a member. How else would I know that Trader Joe’s now offers pump bottles filled with water to help more easily open the plastic bags in the produce section during COVID times?

While this might not (yet) be the case in every TJ’s around the country, it is most certainly the case at the Trader Joe’s in Hillsboro, OR, according to Original Poster Corene Pettit, who firmly declared, “My TJ’s is the best” in the photo caption.

Bonus: This is the same bottle that houses the hand sanitizer kept at crew member checkout stations. A smart upcycling strategy! Many points for Trader Joe’s! Just make sure to, you know, also use hand sanitizer after this, too.

Does your Trader Joe’s have this helpful hack yet?