Trader Joe’s News You Can Use

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.

“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. 


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…

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  • A3BF2713C4A1DFD0B88BC508154B74

    I’ve got two tickets to Corona Paradise. They’ll pack your bags, and you’ll get Corona tonight.

    Now baby, we’re going to disappear
    We’ve waited so long, waited so long.

    Think I’ll pass on Rona.

  • Andrew Porter

    I called TJ’s, and they told me that senior citizens can walk up to the front of the line and be admitted without waiting, at any hour.

    My experience there is that Fridays to Mondays are the worst days to shop, now or before the Pandemic.

  • KXrVrii1

    Kind of reminds me of the Dumbo Food Truck Cam, which appears to be down.

  • )>`}R!+-~o`V/l

    Why risk getting Corona? Workers in that store actually had it and waiting on a line like that is just foolish.

    Who is the social distancing police on the line? A cheap non n95 mask or scarf ain’t going to protect you from someone up or down wind.

    Corona can traveling plus 6ft and get through your eyeballs and cheap face coverings.

  • CassieVonMontague

    Sir, this is a Trader Joe’s

  • Jorale-man

    This is great. A real public service.
    Has TJ’s put up any plexiglass or other barriers between the shoppers and check-out cashiers? That strikes me as a little too close for comfort now.

  • CookieGuggleman

    What is TJ’s senior citizen age range?

  • CassieVonMontague

    over 60 or with disabilities can shop from 8 to 9am

  • TFWw*WM26a_+
  • Reggie

    In other Trader Joe’s news: Metro New York stores will each close for a day for cleaning. The City Point store will close on April 21 and re-open on April 22. The dates are April 28&29 for Court Street.

  • Andrew Porter


    Number of shoppers greatly reduced, and only 10 cashiers working; they have 31 cash registers. Also, you can’t use your own bags; they’re using their own paper bags. You can shift stuff over outside the store.

  • Andrew Porter

    Reopens on the 29th, not closed that day.

  • Jorale-man

    Thanks, very interesting. Too bad about the bags. I don’t think there’s any established science showing that reusable bags are a germ carrier, just a “study” funded by the plastic bag industry (per the NY Times). But glad they’re playing it safe at any rate.

  • Banet

    I was told I can use my own bags, but I would have to bag all the items myself. That was 6 days ago on the 12th. The policy may have changed.

    There is plexiglass to the side of the cashiers. Your supposed to leave your cart of food and then step aside to where they e marked the floor with little footprint cutouts.

    Also, the outdoor line is very well spaced — at least 6’ — more like 10’ to 12’. Just look at the photos posted by that twitter account.

  • Reggie

    April 21 is to April 28 as April 22 is to April 29. I will make that clearer. You really are a piece of work.

  • Arch Stanton

    Am I the only one who isn’t in love with Trader Joes? I find the “fresh” meats and produce mediocre at best, the dry packaged stuff is fine but can be had elsewhere or online, without having to wait on a horrendous line… I suppose most of the attraction is over the frozen prepared meals? That’s not my bag, as I cook mostly from fresh ingredients.

  • Andrew Porter

    Prices lots lower than Key Food on Montague, quality of foods in general very high. I do very little cooking, and I never ever buy food on-line.

    The line: long, yes, but 31 registers in better times. And yoiu can talk with others waiting, as I do.