Trader Joe's (Free) Morning Coffee Club

Shoppers choose mid-morning to visit TJ’s for that second cup.

Jockeying for a parking space at Trader Joe’s on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City (or anywhere) at midmorning is a blood sport I like to call the Hunger Games. I was wondering recently if the morning crowd is choosing this hour not just for shopping but because it’s the ideal time for a free taste of the featured daily coffee.

Surely the draw can’t be the food samples: micro-bites of key lime pie with whipped cream, corn and chile salsa, firecracker shrimp or any of the latest  TJ products tucked into a tiny paper cup. It has to be the coffee, self-served in a somewhat larger paper cup. It’s not enough for your first Joe of the day, but the ideal size for your second splash—say, after the gym.

The Sauce has even seen furtive customers fill an entire thermos from the Trader Joe’s pot, which we believe is an abuse of privilege. But waiting to try a sip of organic Ethiopian with a splash of coconut milk encourages social bonding, probably leads to more purchases and is a win-win for all except those trying to park their cars at 11 a.m.

Trader Joe's, locations throughout the area.

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