Did you know, Trader Joe’s has a big secret? But don’t worry, it’s nothing bad or embarrassing – it’s actually quite cute.
According to an Ask Me Anything thread posted to Reddit and discovered by The Kitchn, one employee with Trader Joe’s has revealed that most locations feature a stuffed animal hidden somewhere in the store. The best part is if a child manages to find it while shopping, they get a prize!
“Each store has a stuffed animal of some sort hiding somewhere,” they wrote. “It’s really just for kids to run around and find the missing animal, and they get a treat. Kids seem to LOVE it and parents go along with it, too.”
It might seem too good to be true, but a public relations director at Trader Joe’s actually confirmed that it is indeed a real thing.
Kendra Friend-Daniel told The Kitchn, “Now, I cannot say that there is one in every single store, but in general, stores typically have one. It’s a way to engage with kids in our store. If they locate the hidden stuffed toy, they just let a Crew Member know and they’ll receive a treat. The type of stuffed toy and treat may vary store to store, but for example, in my local Trader Joe’s there’s a hidden penguin and when my daughters locate it, they receive a lollipop.”
The only accomplishment I did today was survive Trader Joe's on a Sunday… And found the hidden toys there! pic.twitter.com/pSCcQm3gZl
— Khoa Phan (@khoaphan) August 27, 2017
It’s not clear exactly when this tradition started, but Delish pointed out that social media posts regarding stuffed animals and Trader Joe’s can be found to date back as far as 2014.
While the types of stuffed animals vary by location, shoppers who are on the hunt can pick up a few clues from social media.
The Trader Joe’s where I lived it hid a whale stuffed animal named Willy and kids won lollipops 😀 https://t.co/O7evChvWKv
— nia 🤩 (@nialivjones) November 4, 2019
@mamaspohr It's TJ the squirrel in our store. He's always in 1 of 3 spots, lazy rodent.
— Amy (@SomebodysParent) June 27, 2014
A different photo from Khoa Phan, a Trader Joe’s shopper, featured a stuffed monkey wearing a name tag entitled, “Calvin,” which was hidden on a shelf. There was also an adorable lobster stuffed between potato chip bags.
But keep in mind that just because you know to be on the look out for hidden stuffed animals, it doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be easy to find.
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Hours of my life wasted looking for the stuffed animal at Trader Joe's.
— Heather Spohr (@mamaspohr) June 27, 2014