Why Do They Ring the Bell at Trader Joe’s?

Why do they ring the bell at Trader Joe's? Just like the cult-favorite grocery store itself, the reason is pretty charming.

Imagine this: You’re strolling down the colorful aisles of Trader Joe’s. You’re admiring the sweet chili sauce, Speculoos cookie butter, mandarin orange chicken, fresh produce, pimento cheese dip and a mountain of other unique goodies in your cart. And then suddenly, the sound of a loud, charming, mystifying bell tolls throughout the tiki-themed store. And then another…and another.

No, you’re not hallucinating. We’re here to answer even some of the most loyal shoppers’ question.

Why do they ring the bell at Trader Joe’s?

Those tolls actually have significant meaning. The large brass bells are used to communicate with staff members throughout the store when help is needed. (Fun fact: The store actually got the idea of using nautical ship bells to communicate from maritime traders.)

According to the Trader Joe’s website:

The bells are a kind of Trader Joe’s Morse code. Those blustery PA systems just didn’t feel right to us, so we came up with a simple system to communicate, à la our maritime (Trader’s on the culinary seas) association. One bell lets our Crew know when to open another register. Two bells mean there are additional questions that need to be answered at the checkout. Three bells call over a manager-type person. And three short bells—two long bells—three short bells…now we’re just playing.”

So, there you have it. The Trader Joe’s bell is a charming way to communicate with the hardworking staff to make sure the shopping experience is nothing short of perfect.

PS: Did you know your kids should be looking for animals at TJ’s?

Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.