You Can Do This One Easy Thing to Find Out If Something Is in Stock at Trader Joe’s

published Jan 15, 2024
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WOODMERE, OH, USA - APRIL 30, 2022: The Trader Joe's store at Eton Center, an upscale shopping area on the eastern outskirts of Cleveland; this Trader Joe's is a standalone store.
Credit: Kenneth Sponsler/Shutterstock

Who amongst us hasn’t seen a new Trader Joe’s product on Instagram, TikTok, or on this very website and raced right over to the store, only to be disappointed when it’s out of stock? As a seasoned Trader Joe’s veteran who often covers the latest products, I’ve pondered this situation far too many times — and unfortunately, because my favorite grocery store staunchly refuses to use third parties like Instacart, I (and other avid customers) have no way of checking stock online. And with some customers complaining that their closest store is an hour away, this can take a lot of time out of someone’s day.

In my latest excursion to find their latest candle drop — a chocolate croissant-scented beauty — I finally caved and asked an employee how I could find out if something was in stock without driving all the way out to the store. The answer was so simple it was almost laughable — they told me to just call the store! 

In this day and age, calling just isn’t something I usually do (unless I’m scheduling doctor’s appointments). Other retailers often don’t even have dedicated numbers — Aldi famously doesn’t list its local store numbers for cost savings, and calling Kroger stores led me down a rabbit hole of automated voices that I absolutely couldn’t deal with. Most other stores also have either online shopping websites (like Target) or have partnerships with Instacart, although their in-stock numbers aren’t always reliable. 

Trader Joe’s, however, having neither, has dedicated numbers for each store, which are almost always operated by a friendly employee who is willing to check stores across the entire Midwest for me. While they can’t always access the national database, they’re always ready to tell me if a store near me has an item in stock, and I’m willing to bet if I called a store in another city, I’d get the same stellar service. So if you’re a dedicated TJ’s shopper like me and your favorite seasonal item just sold out, try calling a store in a different region where you have friends or family to see if it’s still available. 

It turns out a fair amount of people in my life didn’t know this little life hack, so if you’re one of them, go ahead and save yourself the time of trekking out to TJ’s for the latest drop and give them a call! In fact, I’m off to find out if my local TJ’s has the disco ball planters in stock yet.