The Trader Joe's Shopping Policy You Should Stop Ignoring

Trader Joe's continues to be a fan favorite across the country, as evidenced by the grocery store chain's notoriously packed parking lots. It's understandable why loyal shoppers love it so much — Trader Joe's is full of friendly, chipper employees, low prices, and a whole treasure trove of tasty, unique products to discover.

The internet is always freaking out about some fantastic find in the store aisles, whether it's their pumpkin gnocchi, cacio e pepe puffs, or unique dips. Whatever the new hit or old favorite, the chain is known for its name-brand, sometimes-outlandish products that you can only get at Trader Joe's.

But while most of its products are highly rated or sufficiently intriguing, you may be hesitant to pull the trigger on something called "vegan salmonesque spread," "popcorn in a pickle," or "blood orange chocolate chip ricotta cheese" without the chance to try it first and make sure you genuinely like it. But what if we told you ... you could?

You can pretty much sample anything at Trader Joe's

Everyone loves a free sample, and Trader Joe's knows it. A little-known fact about the store is that it has a very generous try-before-you-buy policy (via Popsugar). As a customer, you can sample just about anything that's ready to eat (anything that doesn't need to be cooked or prepared), so you can make sure you like that weird-but-intriguing product before you buy it.

"We're not gonna grill up a steak for you, but something that you can open up and taste, yeah, go for it," a Trader Joe's employee tells Mental Floss. The employees get to finish up whatever's left over after the customers have their go at it, so they're happy to oblige.

Knowing about this policy can be a game changer when you're shopping — if there's a product you're unsure about, it'll allow you to either dodge a bullet and save a few bucks or discover your new favorite TJ's snack.

What else don't you know about Trader Joe's?

This somewhat under-the-radar taste-testing policy isn't the only shopping hack at Trader Joe's. Did you know that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days of the week to shop? According to a store manager, that's when you can get freshly-stocked produce and still have the chance to grab the most popular items before they tend to sell out around 2 p.m.

Another pro tip: if you're looking for wine at Trader Joe's, check out the bottles in the stacks or any displays at the end of the aisle. The Inside Trader Joe's Podcast confirms that because the company doesn't take money from retailers to put their items on the shelves, the displays in the store are employee-chosen — based on product quality and popularity. So you're most likely to find some good wine selections in this strategic location.

If you didn't know about the try-before-you-buy policy and realize you don't like a product, or if there's something wrong with one of your items, don't fret: the store's return policy is just as generous as its taste-testing policy. According to Club Trader Joe's, you can get a full refund for pretty much any product, regardless of whether it's opened, eaten, or edible — even if you don't have a receipt.