Remember grocery shopping? You might not have done it in a while, at least in person. But one place that’s fun to shop is Trader Joe’s. Describing itself as “your neighborhood grocery store,” Trader Joe’s has some pretty good products at pretty good prices. It’s the place to go if you like Whole Foods but you can’t afford Whole Foods. The vibe is laid back, the staff is always friendly, there are fun little oddities you can’t get anywhere else, and it has inexpensive but almost always drinkable booze.* Usually the biggest problem with shopping at TJ’s is navigating through the crowd of rude liberals who don’t think they need to be civil to other people in real life because they donate to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.
But did you know that Trader Joe’s is totally racist? Because Trader Joe’s is totally, totally racist. We know this because Trader Joe’s just admitted it under threat of petitioning.
Trader Joe’s plans to remove ethnic brand names from its products as a petition calling for their removal gains steam.
The California-based grocery chain said it’s working to phase out foreign names it has attached to ethnic foods, such as “Trader José’s” for Mexican cuisine, “Trader Ming’s” for Chinese products and “Arabian Joe’s” for Middle Eastern dishes.
“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day,” Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said in a statement.
Well, we certainly wouldn’t want a trip to the grocery store to be fun, would we?
The petition was started by someone named Briones Bedell, who is apparently a high school student in Stanford, California. So that part makes sense, at least.
From the petition:
We demand that Trader Joe’s remove racist branding and packaging from its stores. The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. For example, “Trader Ming’s” is used to brand the chain’s Chinese food, “Arabian Joe” brands Middle Eastern foods, “Trader José” brands Mexican foods, “Trader Giotto’s” is for Italian food, and “Trader Joe San” brands their Japanese cuisine. Furthermore, the Trader Joe’s company takes pride in the fact that the founder, Joe Coulombe, took inspiration in building the Trader Joe’s brand from a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples…
This is, of course, moronic. There’s nothing harmful about any of this. Are we supposed to believe this is why those cops killed George Floyd? They bought some Trader Jose’s burritos and Trader Ming’s Kung Pao chicken, and it made them racist?
If you believe any of this nonsense, why stop there? Isn’t the very name “Trader Joe’s” racist? After all, white men used to trade slaves. And the biblical Joseph was literally sold into slavery. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, you might as well be wearing a Klan hood! Etc., etc.
And at the time I’m writing this, the petition still hasn’t hit its goal of 2,500 signatures. I’m sure it will, now that the news is covering it and everybody knows what they’re supposed to be angry about today. But the management of Trader Joe’s didn’t even wait for an appreciable number of people to complain. They instantly kowtowed to a handful of cranks led by a Greta Thunberg wannabe who’s angry about goofy grocery packaging in the middle of a global pandemic.
Identity politics is poison. It rots the mind. Nobody with a damn bit of sense actually believes Trader Joe’s is racist. Or Wendy’s, or Amazon, or Netflix, or Disney, or Coca-Cola, or any of the other brands falling all over themselves to apologize for racism, real or imagined. Nobody with half a brain is angry at a statue that’s been in the same place for hundreds of years, hurting nobody but the occasional clumsy pigeon. All this nonsense is just confirmation bias as a lifestyle.
Unfortunately, most people have been driven insane by months of isolation due to
COVID-19 the Chinese virus, so this madness isn’t going away anytime soon. All I can hope is that the people of the future somehow read this and realize that not everybody in 2020 was completely crazy.
Some of them were just mostly crazy.
*I’m 932 days sober, in case you were wondering or even if you weren’t. But back in my drinking days, TJ’s was a great place to get a cheap buzz. Decent beer at ridiculously low prices, or Three-Buck Chuck if you want to pretend wine is somehow a better way to annihilate your liver. Stay away from the Trader Jose’s Mexican-style beer, though, or you’re a racist.