I'm a NOLA ex-pat living in the DC area, strong Trader Joe's country. The problem with TJs is that they have good stuff, but if you shop there, you have to make a second trip to a regular supermarket to get the stuff you need, not the stuff you want.
The specialty items (the pad Thai, 2 buck Chuck, and such you cite) are great, but try to get a corndog or cold cuts, much less detergent or a razor blade. Either they don't have it, or they have a froo-froo version, like cola made from tofu squeezin's and seaweed-soy hotdogs.
I live five blocks from one, but, before I make a trip to TJs, I remember my basic rule.... if I can buy it at a store other than Trader Joe's, go there...
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