Dear Trader Joe’s,

As a college student scraping together my pennies, sometimes your produce can seem a little pricey. But alas, I always come back to your whimsically themed isles to fill my grocery cart for the week. The smell of fresh bouquets curated with more tasteful colors than the ones at Vons are a welcome greeting to the nose and eyes. Your hand-penned signs and hidden stuffed animals make grocery shopping feel less like a chore and more like a reward.

As a long-time lover of your establishment, I have had a few favorites come and go over the years. One of my fondest traditions in middle and high school was when my best friend and I exchanged TJ’s honey butter potato chips on birthdays. We used to joke that one of the worst days of our lives was when we found out the news that they were permanently taken off of the shelves. I remember stuffing my face with chocolate whoopie pies on long car trips, crying over math tests while eating microwave pad thai noodles and burning the roof of my mouth biting into aloo chaat kati pouches on the way to school.

But you’ve also added to some wonderful new flavors that I associate with fond memories. Slow mornings with my boyfriend taste like the TJ’s sauce we douse our breakfast tacos with and late nights with my younger sister are filled with snacking on your knock-off Takis and Cheetos. As a kid, I remember pushing around the mini shopping carts you used to provide and picking out one special treat for myself for the week. And although the foods you shelve won’t be the same forever, the charm and hominess you provide will always be present.

See you again soon (a.k.a. on my Monday evening shopping trip),