Boston >Trader Joe's
899 Boylston Street, Boston, MA | Directions 0211542.348218 -71.084214
Neighborhoods: Back Bay West, Back Bay
A Chain is Only as Strong as its Weakest Link – Remember Cartmanland? After Eric Cartman inherits $1,000,000 from his grandmother, he spends it on a failing amusement park, one which he plans on keeping all to himself.
Yes, South Park. It teaches you lessons. Listen.
It's always been his dream to own a theme park, so that he can keep everyone else out and have all the rides to himself, never again to wait in line. His hard-line stance has an unintended economic consequence: A ticket to "Cartmanland" is now an ultra-exclusive luxury good. It's a classic example of premium pricing, but taken to the extreme, and suddenly, he's hailed as a business genius. Everyone starts keeping everybody out. No one can eat at this restaurant! No one can see this movie!
It's all about reputation, see; for a brief while, when the lighting's just right, what you don't do can't hurt you. It works better in the cartoon world, of course, because in the real world, doing nothing is in fact doing something. Sometimes you're better off doing nothing, because you are, in fact, doing a lot of things. Not opening up that new McDonalds location on the ground floor of the PETA building. Not selling Michael Richards t-shirts in predominantly black communities.
It's not always that inflammatory. Sometimes it's just about brand image. Wal-Mart isn't going to open a store next to a gas station, because Wal-Mart is all about being larger-than-life. Gas stations are little. It doesn't make sense.
Trader Joe's is an acceptable grocer. They sometimes sell better food than other large grocers, like Shaws or Stop & Shop. The problem with the Trader Joe's on Boylston, though, is that it's tiny and crappy. It's the size of a three-car garage, and is stocked with three main goods: frozen foods, bread, and nuts. If you're in the market for one of these three things, and are within a half-mile of 899 Boylston, you won't be mad at Trader Joe's at all.
This is the most "downtown" of the TJ locations, though, and it makes me dislike the brand. Where are the fresh vegetables? Why are there no meat or deli counters? Is this really all you guys have here? With Whole Foods Symphony so very close by, it's somewhat remarkable that this location still exists. I will gleefully admit my preference for that neighboring grocer. I try to be objective, and hey, I think that I succeed. Even the neighboring Shaws has a "whole and natural" section that's essentially the size of this entire spot. It's the worst grocery store in the neighborhood, and when you're an image-conscious chain, that's never a good thing.
You should've done nothing, Trader Joe's. You could've been a contender.
Fresh produce and gourmet frozen foods sold at affordable prices. – In Short
Founder Joseph Coulombe started this L.A.-based convenience chain 34 years ago. Today, you can get exotic, prepackaged frozen foods, fresh salsas, huge portobello mushrooms, baby artichokes and heirloom tomatoes fresher--and cheaper--than at most supermarkets. Inexpensive meat, fish, coffees and teas, dozens of cheeses, grains and pastas cram the shelves. The frozen section features tasty treats, including barbecue chicken pizzas, mushroom risotto and salmon patties. Beer, wine and liquor sections are stocked with very affordable labels.
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