“May Your Dreams Be Bigger Than Trader Joe’s Parking Lot”

As much as Westporters love Trader Joe’s, we hate its parking lot.

We’re happy to buy our organic Caesar salad kit, chile spiced dried mangoes and Ethiopian peaberry coffee. We love chatting with the chatty checkout folks in their Hawaiian shirts, as foot-tapping music plays gently in the background.

We despise backing out of the of the narrow spaces, praying we don’t hit another vehicle, pedestrian or shopping cart. We loathe the Post Road light, playing bumper cars with drivers racing through the red or leaving CVS. We congratulate ourselves every time we make it home, promptly rewarding ourselves with a quart of cookie butter ice cream.

Fortunately — actually, not — ours is not the only killer Trader Joe’s parking lot. In fact, our country seems to be filled with them.

How else to explain BuzzFeed’s recent listicle: “17 Jokes About Trader Joe’s Parking Lots That You’ll 100% Relate To.”

How’s this for schadenfreude? They come from across America.

  • Oh, so you’re into BDSM? Have you ever tried to find parking at Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon?
  • The Job Interview. Employer: “What was your last job?” Applicant: “I designed parking lots for Trader Joe’s.” Employer: “Get out of my office!”
  • Daughter was being annoying so I threatened to make her practice driving in the  Trader Joe’s parking lot.
  • Trader Joe’s Real Estate Agent: “How’s the parking lot?” Landlord: “Terrible.” Trader Joe’s Real Estate Agent: “We’ll take it!”

  • My car insurance doesn’t cover Trader Joe’s parking lot.
  • I don’t wear my wedding ring when I go to Trader Joe’s, because I need every motherf***er in that parking lot to believe I got nothing to lose.
  • If you didn’t have a near-death experience in a parking lot, did you even go to Trader Joe’s?
  • “Every hour the universe expands by a billion miles in all directions.” Trader Joe’s will still find a way to make sure there’s no parking.
  • May your dreams always be bigger than a Trader Joe’s parking lot.

(Click here for the full BuzzFeed piece. Hat tip: Richard Fogel)

28 responses to ““May Your Dreams Be Bigger Than Trader Joe’s Parking Lot”

  1. Ha! Hilarious and (mostly) true.

  2. Sure! I wish the lot & spaces were more generous but let me ask you; is it the parking lot that’s a problem? or is it the Subunbenites in their SUV’s and general entitled attitude & bad parking. Just saying. You pepper your posts with photo’s of obscenely badly parked cars and point out how self righteously people drive around here. I learned to drive in NYC. There you are grateful for any spot to park and if you get 6 inches to split between all sides of your vehicle you feel lucky. I for one feel lucky we have a T.J. so close by and only wish people would just follow the rules they had to learn to get their drivers license. Yes I am one of the very lucky people to live in Westport who is grateful & appreciative that good fortune smiled upon me.. My wife likes to remind me; people who live in Westport should never complain about anything. LOL

  3. I usually park way in the back, as far away from TJ’s as I can get. Walking is good exercise.

    • Bobbie is right: there’s tons of spacious, non life threatening parking in the rear. Luckily, it will always stay that way. Most Westporters only like to talk about the importance of walking. In reality, it’s vital to park as close to Soul Cycle, TJ’s, etc. as humanly possible.

  4. Linda Froschauer

    Your Trader Joe’s parking lot piece hits the nail on the head. How could such a fabulous commercial success so drastically miss the mark on this?! If you could see the parking lot at the original Trade Joe’s in Pasadena, CA you might get an idea of why they weren’t aware of this huge error. It has about 1/8 of the parking spaces available in Westport. There are actually 2 Trader Joe’s within 3 miles of our home in Pasadena and both are about the same size. It is so bad that they must have a parking attendant on duty to point out available spaces (or maybe to avoid fights over spaces). Maybe if they had a bank next door or other establishments with parking spots that could take overflow parking it wouldn’t be so much of a problem. Count your blessings Westport!

  5. The biggest mistake they made (and there are many) was putting parking spaces right near the entrance/exit — if you are coming in from the Post Road, you are often stuck because people are trying to pull out of, or waiting for a spot, RIGHT near the entrance. That area should be clear of cars and left for people to walk across to their cars (ideally the first row of cars allowed should be on the OTHER side only near Wells Fargo, not on the immediate left as you pull in). I understand on a rainy day or if you have a limitation or small kids and it’s easier to be in a spot that’s near the door. But there is no room for error because the spots start RIGHT at the exit lane. I am amazed more people haven’t been hit by cars, or more cars haven’t been in fender benders. And yes, people are sometimes bad drivers because of a sense of entitlement (as per Mark’s post above) but even the best and calmest drivers are hindered by this bizarre parking setup.

  6. I hadn’t heard about Trader Joe’s parking lots. They probably don’t want you to be in a rush to leave.

  7. The Trader Joe’s parking lot in Fairfield on Black Rock Turnpike is better than the one in Westport. I love TJ, but in Westport, no matter where you park, exiting is difficult.

  8. The parking lot may be bad but the drivers are worse.

  9. Drive to the very back of the lot. Have a pleasant walk to the store. Grab a basket if you need it. buy your goods. Enjoy the SUPER FAST CHECKOUT AND HAPPY CASHIER! whistle your way back to your car, exit at the South Compo intersection and have a great day!

  10. You all do realize that Trader Joe’s WAS NOT always the main tenant there.
    There was another store back in the ’70s and ’80s.
    The parking their has always been interesting to say the least so I was always advised to park in the back.
    I have noticed more people in a distracted rush which has added to the craziness of that particular parking lot.

  11. For your entertainment and enjoyment, here is the Trader Joe’s song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yutxn1qrM3c&t=1s

  12. It’s a great store with a really big parking lot and multiple ways to exit. With all that’s going on in the world this may be the most insignificant problem that anyone could come up with. Just be happy with being able to buy good food that most of the world isn’t able to access/afford.

  13. Linda Grabill Parker

    Are you ever talkin’ the truth ! Every TJ’s in MN has the same parking lot insufficiency and the one in St Louis Park defies human description – you’re taking your car ,your life and everyone else’s in your hands parking there .Come on , TJ ! It’s going to be expensive but you’ve got to fix this nationwide parking lot disaster !

  14. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t the parking lot in the rear expanded a few years ago? Or maybe it was somewhere else, but I remember a big fuss about it.

    • Elisabeth Keane

      There was a fuss because forever, prior to the “improvement” by the landlord of the parcel that includes TJoe, there was a short gentle slope lightly wooded, bordering a driveway leading up to several parking spaces (that area was lightly wooded; most days any cars parked there were in shade or dappled light) that went largely unused by otherwise fit townsfolk. At the back of that upper parking area, there was a lightly wooded area through which a well worn path (in the way the Oregon Trail was a well worn path) wound its way to the residential area beyond. A lot of people from this area often walked from our homes through the side street, along the path through the lightly wooded buffer to the upper lot on our way to any of the stores including TJoe (and before that, Herman’s) and also to businesses directly across the road. It was a healthy and pleasant walk along with efficiently accomplishing errands and frequently, there would be chats with the folks along the way. When the upper lot was destroyed in the name of “improvement”, in the process there was significant damage to the properties now high up, bordering the back of the new lot. Trees had been torn down and I heard about ensuing serious erosion. That was part of the upset you heard about. And what about the folks who formerly frequently took that nice, efficient, pleasurable, and healthful walk to/from TJoe and other shops? The kindly landlord generously put in a staircase. Not even a ramp. A long steep staircase with a gate on it. (Think Everest with steps and a gate.) So now, one was supposed to carry one or more filled bags up a long steep staircase, deal with the gate and then continue along. I have never observed anyone use that staircase although folks have told me that once or twice they tried it but they never mentioned it after that. The result? There are two options: Drive to South Compo or try a death-defying and imprudent left turn onto PRE at Volvo. There is another route to walk to the TJoe area from here but I am not going to tell you. If you live around here you know about it.

  15. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    It was there that they did a huge dig to offer more parking at street level and not a hill. There were some complaints but I think the fencing quieted them.
    The parking lot is badly designed but it would take a town meeting to fix it. It’s very complicated. It took me 15 minutes to get out of a Handicapped space and finally the guy who picked up carts helped me!! He stopped all the traffic so I could finally leave. I am NOT an aggressive driver. But I do remember the help but always think twice about going there. Their bags with handles help a lot !!!! It is so much easier to shop there and I always recycle. I don’t bring bags any more, I heard from a neighbor they were filled with lead!! If they are made in China!!

  16. Wow- you’ve covered my feelings every time I go to Trader Joe’s…What’s it going to take to have them address this? the death of a shopper? or a multiple car crash, or a food fight between pedestrian’s and entering and exiting cars? I often choose to go to Whole Foods over TJs when I think about parking…..Good going Dan, can you get this to their corporate headquarters?

    • Thanks, Ann. Not my job to send this to corporate headquarters — I’ve got enough on my plate. Any readers are welcome to do that themselves, of course.

  17. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Wow! It is much better in Fairfield! But, don’t tell anyone!!

  18. Carmine Picarello

    Perhaps they should hire an off duty cop or ‘special’ to police the lot during heavy periods. Now that you mention it the lot at California and Larkin (SFO) is a real nightmare too, but that’s in the middle of the City.

  19. Be glad you even have one! We now live in Maine and the closest one is over an hour away!

  20. Guys, this is much bigger than Trader Joes.

    People drive/walk right behind a backing vehicle in every parking lot in town. They leave the stores to wander with their shopping carts behind in-coming and out-going cars at Stop&Shop and Barnes&Nobles that both have significant parking space.

    Why do they pretend not to see you? That then blocks the entire parking lot in both directions.

    – Why when you are halfway pulled out of your space in any parking lot do people not stop to let you pull out?

    – Don’t we yield to the driver on the right at stop signs if we all reach it at the same time?

    – Are people getting confused with boating since the left has the right of way and we live in a coastal town?

    The parking lot challenge is widespread in town, not just TJ’s.
    – How many people have driven through the Compo storefronts
    – Have you tried to park at Shake Shake
    – Coming and going from Superior Seafood is never easy.
    – How about the Post Office
    – Peak hour when there are exercise classes going on and the yummy Organic Market is ramping up for lunch

    I will contact TJ’s about better parking and ADA services on Monday.

    JL

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