Trader Joe’s …The Artful Dodger

artful dodgerCall me a bit of an optimist. I actually believe there are good companies who will gladly answer consumer needs if consumers make their demands clear. Trader Joe’s is one such company. They have one of the best most comprehensive, not to mention voluntary, bag policies around: no plastic & rewards for reuse. Sweet. At the same time, they have really awful packaging policies. Not so sweet. So…I decided to inquire as to this disturbing dichotomy. Here is the letter:

Dear Trader Joe’s:

I was thrilled when your stores started popping up in our area. Your bag policies are excellent and show that your store is concerned with the amount of plastic being dumped into the world. I am very surprised and disappointed, however, by the amount of unnecessary packaging plastic that is used in your store. For example, why are the organic eggs in plastic rather that paper cartons? That plastic is NOT recyclable in NY and in most other areas. Why not stick with the old paper cartons? Also, much of your produce is wrapped in plastic when it seems no packaging is required at all. There must be a way of organizing organic & non-organic products to avoid confusion…as you manage to do with the bananas. Stickers maybe? I would appreciate any information you could provide.

Thank you, Organic Needle

And their actual response:

Hello [Needle] ,

We hear your concerns and take them seriously. We are currently
evaluating the information that is available concerning recyclable

We evaluate every product for packaging requirements and choose the one
we feel is the best currently available to us to deliver freshness,
shelf life and food safety. We continue to explore economical Earth
friendly alternatives that can deliver freshness and shelf life without
preservatives. We also seek out recycled paper packaging where possible
and some of our
packaging for produce is made of corn oil, so it is compostable.

We are always working to balance our desire to use as little packaging
as possible with our efforts to keep our products safe, fresh and cost
effective. We will forward your comments and concerns to our Buying
Department for review.

Thank you for your understanding and patience regarding this matter.

Trader Joe’s
Customer Relations

Notice how they managed to not answer a single question completely? Some of our produce? And the the Styrofoam? And the eggs? Pure brilliance. Could they be a teensy bit more vague. Surprised they didn’t write:

Dear Person, We are writing back about the thing you said. We may do something about it. Thanks. Store

Tomorrow…my joke of a response from the Gap about their hangers.

2 Responses to “Trader Joe’s …The Artful Dodger”

  1. Added by arduous on April 15th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Yes, I love TJs but they are notoriously bad about some of their packaging. I actually emailed them when I saw that their reusable bags were packaged in PLASTIC! WTF?!?!

  2. Added by Trader Joes Paper Produce Packaging: Keep Complaining…It Works | Organic Needle on April 3rd, 2009 at 5:50 am

    […] It is like they actually listen to their customers over there.  First, there was the plastic egg carton issue…which they changed.  They there was the traveling dairy egg and dairy issue…which they […]

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