A glimpse of the budding trees? An Atlantic Avenue devoid of cars? A peek to see which local businesses are still open?
None of the above.
No, my friends, what you are looking is the view from Jacob Shwirtz’s window, and more specifically, the length of the line at Trader Joe’s.
An employee of WeWork, Shwirtz is, like so many of us, working from home. Like many of us, he often gazes out his window, perhaps to procrastinate, perhaps to seek inspiration, perhaps to wonder wistfully when we might all be able to go outside again.
And one day, he realized that he was perfectly situated to report on the length of the line snaking down the block, comprising socially-distanced would-be shoppers patiently (?) waiting their turn to get into Trader Joe’s.
“I started letting my friends know,” said Shwirtz this week. “It was something to do while I was bored, and I’d tell my friends to hit me up if they wanted to know how long the line was.”
Then last Friday, he realized that he could provide a vital public service and he established the Trader Joe’s Line Alert Twitter account.
A stormy Monday morning provided, according to photos, an opportune time to go shopping, as long as you didn’t mind getting a little wet.
By Tuesday morning, when the weather was more hospitable, that opportunity was lost.
With 30 minutes to go before opening, we have over 50 people stretching all the way to Clinton. 🔴🔴 It’s going to be a busy day! Tweet us any time for an update. pic.twitter.com/ASCbjcKDMI
— Trader Joes Line Alert (@TraderJoesLine) April 14, 2020
“The long lines look scary, but once you get in, it’s the most pleasant Trader Joe’s experience you can have,” he said. “They’re limited the number of people in the store, everyone is social-distancing, and you can walk right up to the check-out.”
Though he has not yet noticed any patterns emerging about optimal shopping times, Shwirtz did say that weekends are the worst. “On Saturday, the line went down Atlantic to Clinton, down Clinton to Pacific, and back down Clinton all the way to Court St,” he observed. The reaction has been uninanimous.
thank you for this service!! you are truly an essential worker in these trying times!
— Lori Richmond (@loririchmond) April 13, 2020
@TraderJoesLine Brilliant! Amazing public service. @TJoes_Official should send you coupons 😉 Suggestion: include TIMESTAMP with tweet (just type it in at the beginning) so we can run trend analysis on the wait times.
— ian granick (@iGranick) April 13, 2020
And…he takes requests.
“If anyone needs an update,” he says in a pinned Twitter tweet, “just ask.”
So, as you ponder whether to brave the line in search of some Everything But the Bagel seasoning or kale gnocchi, send a tweet to the account and Shwirtz will happily give you a live report.
As Brooklyn Paper’s Rose Adam put it…
Not all heroes wear capes 💪💪 https://t.co/TkxPOFCmdO
— Rose Adams (@rose_n_adams) April 13, 2020