Viral TikTok Pokes Fun at Trader Joe’s Friendly Cashiers
Checking out at Trader Joe’s can feel a bit like meeting with an easygoing friend — so much so that it’s become a meme online. One satirical headline asks: “Is He Flirting With You, or Does He Just Work at Trader Joe’s?” The comedian Andrew Colin recently poked fun at the phenomenon on TikTok, where his Trader Joe’s sketch has racked up over 400,000 views in just a week.
In the bit, Colin plays both an overly enthusiastic Trader Joe’s cashier and shopper. Every time the cashier scans something, he’s stoked about the product and tries to spark conversation.
“Oh, man. I haven’t had these yet,” the cashier says while ringing up a dozen eggs. “I’ve been meaning to try them.” (It’s funnier in the video).
Colin’s sketch resonated with Trader Joe’s shoppers on both TikTok and Reddit.
“Every single (Trader Joe’s) employee I’ve ever met has been in love with me and you can’t tell me otherwise,” one viewer wrote.
Others chimed in with their own stories about kind Trader Joe’s cashiers.
“I once had a really intense conversation with the check-out guy about how prison reading programs turned his life around,” a Redditor commented on a repost of the video.
In another anecdote, a friendly cashier tried to explain Vine (a TikTok predecessor) to an older shopper.
“Overheard the cashier behind us trying to explain Vines to an older patron on Sunday. The kid even brought a Vine for the customer to watch on his phone! It was too funny and a really sweet interaction,” a Redditor added.
I used to want a boyfriend but now I just go to trader joe’s once a week and make conversation with a cashier it’s the same level of intimacy— jen merritt!!! (@jennifermerr) May 30, 2019
That begs the question: Are Trader Joe’s employees trained to schmooze (or flirt) with shoppers?
Glamour answered that question in 2021 after interviewing several Trader Joe’s employees and reaching out to corporate. The answer? While cashiers aren’t trained to flirt with customers, they are encouraged to be amicable.
“They do remind you that part of Trader Joe’s appeal is its famously friendly atmosphere and ask that you do what you can to maintain that,” Philip, a former Trader Joe’s employee, told Glamour.
Beyond the emphasis on friendliness, Philip also attributed employees’ easygoing charm to the chain's "decent" pay.
trader joe’s cashier: have a good day— Isabel Steckel (@IsabelSteckel) November 30, 2020
me: love you too
“For the most part, I have to agree with the theory that most employees are just happier there,” Philip told Glamour. “The pay was decent — for what the job was, anyway — with reviews and opportunities for pay increases every six months. My higher-ups were always so friendly and kind; I think it’s a little infectious.”
That said, the retailer isn’t without its problems. In the past few months, Trader Joe’s has been in the headlines for tactics that critics and employees say amount to union busting, including hiring a law firm that specializes in union avoidance. So far, employees have successfully unionized two stores.
Even so, the fact remains that Trader Joe’s employees remain some of the warmest, most considerate cashiers in the country (if shoppers’ stories online are to be believed).