You need to listen to this Podcast, if you want some insight into Trader Joe’s & discontinued products

I came across this recently so am sharing it; It does give us insight into Trader Joe’s business workings direct from the Source. Actually there are a lot of interesting nuggets of information in the podcast.

If you prefer to read it here’s a transcript of the podcast


guest: Mitch Heeger, Executive Vice President for Marketing and Merchandising. (Wow; he’s been with TJ’s for 42 years! They must take good care of employees there.)

Q: How do you get to know what customers want?

A: It’s a good question. And you know, we pride ourselves on listening to our
customers and we always say that, you know customer votes with their dollars. We’re always looking at you know, products that sell really well. We’re always looking at products that may not sell as well. So if something’s not selling as well, we’ll discontinue that product

THAT’S PRETTY CLEAR, so the next time you are wondering why they dropped your favorite item, the answer is it’s nothing personal, “It’s just business”! Sales. Numbers. Period.

Q: Is it possible to get advanced notice if a product’s going to be discontinued?”
Mitch: We have tried that before. And it seems like every time we try, we fail. Either the product is in some areas really successful, so stores just jump all over it and it goes to one area. Or stores see that, “Oh, that’s gonna be discontinued. And it’s kind of a bad seller anyway,” so they don’t order it, and it sits in a warehouse

Wait – Trader Joe’s used to make custom sandwiches?!? (In the Mid 80’s it seems)

Q: We know early on you offered made-to-order sandwiches. Is that something you’ll consider bringing back in the future?

A: Absolutely not!

Send Trader Joe’s A Message: Discontinued Items – What can you do to TAKE ACTION?

Upset about a discontinued product? Why don’t you let Trader Joe’s know how you feel? I found the area on the TRADER JOES website that seems to let one do that (see link) Give them your feedback and who knows? Just maybe if enough people complain about something. Would they reconsider about a discontinued item IF they see there is enough potential demand? Now of course I have no idea if these will have any affect. Maybe it’s a waste of time. Still I wonder if there’s some number which might get someone at Corporate’s attention….. If they see 25 message probably nothing, but if they saw hundreds and hundred of complaints I wonder ….?

NYT: For Trader Joe’s, a New York Taste Test

I just found this interesting New York Times piece from 2006 about Trader Joe’s by Times food writer, Julia Moskin. I don’t think I saw this before. I found it on another blog about TJ’s (linking text just in case you may not have access to the online paper anymore).

The article has some very interesting points about the company.