Odd News Show

Trying Not to Overreact About Trader Joe’s Banana Price Increase

Trader Joe’s has raised the price of bananas and started a podcast. The golden age of grocery stores may be officially over.

By Jason Salmon · March 26, 2024

This photo is about to be a little more expensive Unsplash/Matthew Feeney

Trader Joe’s has always been a safe haven from the tumult of the world around us. It is a grocery store where the products feel exotic, the prices feel reasonable, and the outfits feel like you’re at a resort. It’s kind of refreshing to pretend you’re in Hawaii right after getting screamed at by that Wall Street guy on the subway.

But times have changed. Even the trading of someone as reliable as Joe was bound to get snarled in that whole supply chain/high interest rates/corporate profits web of pricing. So now we have the 23 cent banana - not yet, but you’ve been warned. Trader Joe’s is raising the price of bananas a whopping 20%. Also they have a podcast.

What is happening?!?

Is one of these guys the actual Joe?  Unsplash/Austin Distel

Does this mean that Trader Joe’s is no longer that mystical version of commune-capitalism we have grown to love, where sunlit children nibble on organic dried blueberries and pecan halves while dreaming of becoming astronauts and talk show hosts? Trader Joe’s has always made us feel welcome in a world where most stores either ignore us, put us to work as a cashier intern on their self-checkout line, or threaten us with a greeter whose eye contact feels like they might be blinking some sort of Morse code life alert message; “Blink twice if you’re ok, Melvin.” But now Trader Joe’s wants us to pay 4 more cents on bananas and subscribe to their podcast?

If this is the future, I'm just calling it Traitor Joe's  Unsplash/Ilja Freiburg

Part of me fears these are omens my favorite store is doomed to fall into the scrap heap of history and become yet another Soviet-era grocer you go to on the way home from your 8-7 stacking job, as you try to be courteous to the robot checkout machine for your unsalted cracker and canned ham, lest you end up on the mediocre shoppers’ list.

But a more hopeful part of me thinks it’s just part of life and the price we must pay for next week’s discovery of a new Honey Bacon Lasagna dish or whatever novel treasure Joe next brings to our neighborhood shores - what if the podcast is about that! Maybe the smiling Hawaiian-shirted stockboy is slowly being bent into the shape of a surly Polish-shirted stockman. Or perhaps he’s also a sound engineer, and I should eat my olive oil popcorn while I listen to progress happen.

Let’s face it - time marches in only one direction and, if you don’t count Costco’s $1.50 hot dog, change is inevitable.