The Scientific Reason You’re Less Likely to Stress out at Trader Joe’s

Limit your stress by shopping at this chill grocery chain.

Trader Joe’s is a source of pure joy for many shoppers. People love the friendly staff, the low prices and especially this top-selling frozen dinner. Interestingly, what shoppers may love most is the low levels of stress felt during a Trader Joe’s trip. What’s that all about? It’s actually the lack of options.

Helping You Choose

At a larger chain grocery store you may be faced with up to a dozen types of cinnamon cereal. At Trader Joe’s you might have two options. Instead of browsing up and down the aisle to make up your mind, you just need to move your hand either left or right. Not only does this make shopping faster, it also makes it easier on your brain.

Business Insider says this has to do with the paradox of choice. When we’re offered too many choices, we’ll spend extra mental energy to ensure we make the perfect choice. (Think comparing prices or reading nutritional information.) Then, after we’ve made our decision, we’ll subconsciously wonder if we left a better option behind.

By narrowing the options, choices become easier and less stressful. Sometimes Trader Joe’s doesn’t force you to make a choice at all—if you need frozen broccoli, there’s just one great brand!

Simplifying the Shopping

Making shopping a less choosy chore has another benefit—it will help you avoid decision fatigue, says the New York Times. This sensation comes from making so many decisions in a day that you feel mentally exhausted even if you haven’t physically done that much. The fewer decisions you’re forced to make, the more energy you’ll have.

So a stress-free Trader Joe’s trip could make picking what to make for dinner, or even which Netflix show you’ll watch when you get home, a little easier.

Friendly Faces

Beyond the relief shoppers get from dodging decisions, there’s also simple stress reduction in a smile from a kind staffer. Trader Joe’s employees are known for cheerful small talk and those colorful Hawaiian shirts.

So if you’re looking to make errands easier on yourself, why not head to Trader Joe’s for these popular items? Chances are good you’ll notice you’re stress-free at about the same time you catch yourself bopping along to their ’70s and ’80s soundtrack.

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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.