All this time, Trader Joe’s was hiding a big secret under your nose!
According to an Ask Me Anything thread found on Reddit by The Kitchn, a Trader Joe’s employee revealed that most locations have a stuffed animal hidden somewhere throughout the store — and if a child happens to spot it during their shopping trip, they’ll receive 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.”
While that may seem too good to be true, a public relations director for Trader Joe’s confirmed to the outlet that it’s definitely a thing!
“Now, I cannot say that there is one in every single store, but in general, stores typically have one,” Kendra Friend-Daniel told The Kitchn. “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.”
While it’s unclear exactly when this fun game of hide and go seek began, Delish pointed out that social media posts about hidden stuffed animals at Trader Joe’s date back to 2014.
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Although the types of stuffed animals vary from store to store, searching shoppers can get a few clues about what to look out for with the help of social media.
“The Trader Joe’s where I lived it hid a whale stuffed animal named Willy and kids won lollipops,” wrote one Twitter user, while another added that their location had a toy squirrel, which was always “in 1 of 3 spots.”
Another photo from Trader Joe’s shopper Khoa Phan showed a stuffed monkey wearing a name tag that read “Calvin” hidden on a shelf as well as an adorable lobster nestled between bags of potato chips.
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
However, just because people know to look out for the hidden stuffed animals, doesn’t necessarily make them any easier to find.
“Hours of my life wasted looking for the stuffed animal at Trader Joe’s,” wrote another Twitter user.