I can’t believe I discovered Trader Joe’s only three days ago. Not that I didn’t know its existence. I heard about it for years. Then a couple of years back, when I drove past Barnes & Noble on Route 1, I saw, at the place where the bookstore used to stand and show off its big glass windows from which book shelves were constantly beckoning, the big yellow letter of “Trader Joe’s” emerge. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bookstore had been there forever and somehow one feels that it is part of the indispensable landscape. Even though Amazon had been threatening book retailers, and online videos had drawn away prospective book lovers, I thought Barnes & Noble would survive the onslaught. Of course I was proven wrong. I had to stop my car to go in, as if to make sure that the bookstore was really gone and the mental nourishment was really replaced by gastronomical necessities.
I went in, looked around without seeing anything that attract my attention, and came out quickly. Probably I still have a bit of feeling for the bookstore, and that’s why I couldn’t quite feel anything for the new store. Or probably I thought the store is not suitable for me. I came to that conclusion because of its name “Trader Joe’s”. I tasted a dish called Sloppy Joe before and considered it not as healthy as the food I usually like. I heard about “Joe’s Crab Shack” from my friend, who told me that a lot of butter is put on the seafood there. So the name “Joe” is somehow connected with unhealthy food in my mind. Subconsciously my mind made the connection and shelfed “Trader Joe’s” in the same category. It didn’t matter that I actually went in the store and looked around. My preconception blinded me into thinking that “Trader Joe’s” is unhealthy. Whatever my eyes actually see just didn’t get interpreted by my brain.