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Trader Joe’s Doesn’t Offer Grocery Delivery. Here’s Why That’s Not Such a Bad Thing

A mom carrying her baby while her daughter walks next to her through the produce section of a grocery store.

Image source: Getty Images

During the pandemic, a lot of people started having their groceries delivered because they were afraid to shop in stores and potentially contract COVID-19. Back then, the added cost of delivery was generally more than worth it for those who could afford it.

These days, grocery delivery isn’t quite as common. But it’s still fairly prevalent. And several major retailers, from Walmart to Target, offer grocery delivery as part of their business model. Even Costco, which is a completely different type of store, has a same-day delivery service powered by Instacart.

But there’s one popular grocery chain that’s a holdout on the delivery front — Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s offered delivery in New York City for many years. But the chain ended the program in 2019 due to factors like high costs and limited space. And at this point, Trader Joe’s has no plans to bring delivery back.

That may be a bummer to you if you love Trader Joe’s and don’t live particularly close to a store. But actually, shopping for your groceries in person has its perks. And it might be a good thing for your personal finances.

The downside of grocery delivery

There’s a clear benefit to having your supermarket haul delivered to your door — you don’t have to spend time shopping yourself. If you’re a busy person, that’s a huge convenience. And if you’re self-employed with a full load, paying a higher credit card tab to have your groceries delivered could free up many hours during the week for additional work. The result? Extra income.

But for the typical consumer, it can be beneficial to shop in person rather than order grocery delivery. For one thing, there are always extra fees involved when food is brought to you. And while you technically don’t have to tip your delivery driver, it’s wrong not to. So that’s yet another expense.

Also, chances are, you’re going to do a more thorough job picking your groceries than a random shopper who’s assigned to you and wants to load a cart quickly to move on to their next job. If your shopper selects fruit that’s on the verge of going bad or buys you milk with an expiration date that’s 48 hours away, you might end up wasting money on food — and, worse yet, having to make a quick trip to the supermarket anyway.

Don’t expect changes anytime soon

Many supermarkets do indeed have delivery services available — either their own or through partnerships with services like Instacart. But Trader Joe’s has never been the type of chain to follow the pack. So chances are, if it decided that grocery delivery doesn’t work, it’s not going to change course just because it’s one of the only supermarkets to not offer that service.

Most supermarkets, for example, vary their prices based on geographic region. Costco does that, too. But Trader Joe’s makes a point to publish prices on its website and have them apply to pretty much all stores. If it’s not afraid to do that, it’s probably not afraid to hold firm on its delivery stance.

But remember, visiting Trader Joe’s can be a fun experience. Not only might you get a chance to sample some food or coffee when you visit, but you also get the benefit of some of the friendliest employees around. So while you may prefer to have the option to have your groceries delivered, you’re not exactly getting a raw deal by doing your shopping in person.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Maurie Backman has positions in Target. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale, Target, and Walmart. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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