Trader Joe's Limits Sales of Viral Item Reselling for Hundreds Online

Several weeks ago, Trader Joe’s began selling miniature versions of its beloved reusable tote bag. In a move predicted by absolutely no one, the bags immediately found a lucrative second life on eBay and other online resellers.

The bags, which come in red, yellow, green, and blue, quickly took off on social media when released late last month. Users showed off the items they like to keep in the petite novelty, sending viewers rushing to the store to snap up their own. While they retail at TJ’s for just $2.99, the mini bags are reselling online for anywhere from $12 to $500, according to Business Insider and The Daily Mail.

Video taken at one Trader Joe’s location shows hungry shoppers lined up to pounce as the new bags are unloaded from the stock room. When they descend on the totes, it resembles something from Night of the Living Dead.

Because of the mini-bag frenzy, many TJ’s loyalists found their local stores sold out by the time they got around to doing the weekly shopping. And because you’re apparently no one if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s mini bag, they’re paying second-hand retailers a pretty penny to get into the club.

In turn, Trader Joe’s has begun limiting the number of bags an individual guest can purchase at once. “There was one store in my area where the limit was 8, PER CUSTOMER!' one TikToker raged. Another claimed that their store posted a sign announcing they were sold out of the bags until 2025, though it’s unclear if they were serious.

But those who got in on the ground floor are currently making a killing. One eBay seller is offering a four-pack of the bags (one in each color) for $85, while a canny Poshmark salesman is hawking the same package for $99. On eBay, the standard price for a single bag is around $30.

Some, however, are getting a bit more ambitious with their sales pitch. Photos obtained by The Daily Mail show two identical four-packs going for $450 and $500; and a three-pack reselling for $400.

“As a seller, it just came naturally that I thought these would sell,” an anonymous eBay user, who's nearly sold out of their $145 four-packs, told CNN. “I believe these were limited production,” they added.

Trader Joe’s created the bags with the same material and design as their larger bags, but intends these tiny ones to be used “for smaller shopping trips, to pick up those few items you forgot the first time around.” But the bags have been embraced by consumers as the perfect vessel to carry a lunch, a water bottle, or a laptop on a day’s journey.

Because of the rabid fan base they spawned, the mini bags are being compared to the Stanley Cup phenomenon. The reusable cups became a hotly desired item amongst customers, especially younger social media users, leading to a lucrative resale market and a company-instituted limit on the number of Stanley Cups one could buy.