The parking lot at Trader Joe's is a very specific kind of hell on earth.
Trader Joes parking lot on a Sunday morning pic.twitter.com/TzKqo0xLRa
— Raceweek Recap (@RaceweekRecap) May 28, 2023
All of them seem to be awful.
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
nothing is more stress inducing than the tampa trader joes parking lot..
— ryan (@RFratz) March 3, 2023
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
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.
“We don't open stores with the world's most ridiculous parking lot on purpose," said Matt Sloan, who is the “marketing product guy*."
Apparently, it's not some sort of conspiracy*.
*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.
"The number of parking spaces given a store, very basically, is determined by the square footage of that store's selling area," he continued.
"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.
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.