Trader Joe's Finally Revealed Why Their Parking Lots Are So God Dang Awful

The parking lot at Trader Joe's is a very specific kind of hell on earth.

Trader Joes parking lot on a Sunday morning

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All of them seem to be awful.

#ItsRarelyAGoodIdeaTo Park in a Trader Joes parking lot

— vance sanders (@vancesanders) May 22, 2023

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When you drive to a Trader Joe's, you're essentially putting your life into your own hands.

not sure when i’ll die, but i know where, a trader joes parking lot

— ani (@anniebbbbb3) May 8, 2023

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nothing is more stress inducing than the tampa trader joes parking lot..

— ryan (@RFratz) March 3, 2023

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For years, people have wondered why these lots are so small.

why are trader joes parking lots so small. like every single one

— 🚬 (@Ezraotic) May 18, 2023

Twitter: @Ezraotic

And now, the reason why is going viral from an old episode of Trader Joe's podcast*.

“If you spend any time on social media, looking at things about Trader Joe’s, you will find there are lots of conspiratorial theories about our parking lots," said Tara Miller, who is the "director of words and phrases and clauses" for TJ's.

A packed Trader Joe's parking lot
Star Tribune via Getty Images

“We don't open stores with the world's most ridiculous parking lot on purpose," said Matt Sloan, who is the “marketing product guy*."

Vanessa Hudgens pulling a cart full of groceries outside of Trader Joe's

*Everyone has such *Trader Joe's* job titles.

Bauer-griffin / GC Images / Getty Images

Apparently, it's not some sort of conspiracy*.

Harpo Productions

*Is it to save money? Does it make it more exclusive?  Do they like when we feel pain?!

"When you design a parking space or you allocate spaces for parking for a retail store, it's based on the size of the store. So you mentioned how small our stores are relative to other grocers," said Matt.

A person pushing a cart towards the entrance of a Trader Joe's that's next to a CVS
Medianews Group / MediaNews Group via Getty Images

"The number of parking spaces given a store, very basically, is determined by the square footage of that store's selling area," he continued.

  Portland Press Herald / Getty Images
Portland Press Herald / Getty Images

"The argument could be made, 'Hey, Trader Joe's, just make your stores bigger.' But that kind of changes who we are. We have small stores, so they come with small parking lots. If we had bigger stores, sure we'd have bigger parking lots, but we'd feel like a different store," Tara explained.

  Ullstein Bild / ullstein bild via Getty Images
Ullstein Bild / ullstein bild via Getty Images

TL;DR: The reason the parking lots are so small is because the stores are small, and the size of parking lots are determined by store sizes. Trader Joe's doesn't want to make their stores bigger because small stores are their thing.

Amanda Seyfried and a man walking in a Trader Joe's parking lot with their groceries
Bauer-griffin / GC Images / Getty Images

Mystery solved.