I went to the new Trader Joe's near ABQ Uptown today at 4 p.m. Not exactly sure why. I was nearby and guess I thought, "I wonder how absolutely, frickin' nuts it's going to be?" I'm not one to pass up a free spectacle.

The parking lot was crazy as you would expect. I saw two cars duking it out for the same space, each inching closer and closer in a game of weird Trader Joe's Parking Lot Chicken (TM); I didn't stick around to see who won. There were lots of cars circling the lot again and again. What I wonder is: what kind of troll would do so, knowing full well that their chances are limited, it's a waste of time and gas, and there was ample parking right across Uptown Blvd. behind ABQ Uptown?

Most folks were there to buy just a few things. I saw no full shopping carts, so checkout lines moved pretty quickly. You'll be glad to know the veggie and frozen food aisles are wider than at the Paseo store. Generally, the store seems bigger.

Employees were jazzed; most shoppers looked kind of dazed. I also noticed a greater number of older shoppers and non-English speakers than at the Paseo store. Definitely a more diverse neighborhood within a couple mile radius than at Paseo.

I think the apartment dwellers nearby will love the close access, if you like plastic-wrapped vegetables -- but traffic is going to be an ONGOING issue. Mark my word!

I left with a thai chicken wrap, two bottles of wine, no apparent bruises, and a visitation policy for this Trader Joe's that's the same as for Paseo: go early or go late. Did you go?

Views: 24

Comment by cathyray on September 27, 2009 at 9:02am
Did not go because I live right by the "old" one on Paseo & didn't feel the need for abuse. Several of the sisters tried but couldn't park & finally gave up. A new TJs is indeed a thrilling thing but lets face it, they sell groceries. The hubbub might be justified if we were all starving & hadn't seen groceries before. I mean, get real people.

I did scope it all out the other day while I was in the area doing errands & stuff. As I drove away my only thought was that the parking was going to suck even worse than the Paseo store. Maybe they use sucky parking lots to create the impression that they must really be something special if folks would circle & troll to get in. You know, that subliminal advertising stuff & all.

Actually, I like TJs. The shrink wrapped veggies don't bother me. I don't like them, walk past them & get my veggies somewhere else where I can actually touch them before I decide to buy them. No big deal. It is psychological, I'm sure, but looking over things before I buy them gives me the sensation of knowing what I am getting. Like I say, walk on.

My beef with them is that the frozen food aisle is topped with rows & rows of candy. Candy that you don't see other places. Candy that I am addicted to (severely). If I'm looking for a candy fix (& I usually am), there is no place like TJs.
Comment by JeSais on September 27, 2009 at 5:57pm
traffic at Uptown was already an issue...
Comment by cathyray on September 27, 2009 at 5:58pm
Any early morning is a good time to lay in more candy without fighting crowds or cars.
Comment by hettie on September 27, 2009 at 10:08pm
it seems to me that one way to avoid the parking lot nightmare would be to take the rapid ride (766) that lets you off and picks you up right in front of borders. then you walk about a quarter of a block (justifying any unplanned sweets purchases with your physical exertion) and laugh all the way past the suckers circling the lot. I think we'll check it out some time next weekend. I wonder if a second wildly successful abq TJ's will lead to the possibility of a third, maybe somewhere near edo or downtown......or am I jumping the gun here?
Comment by Suzy Charnas on September 27, 2009 at 11:55pm
So the new TJ's is open? So glad I didn't know -- I went to the Paseo one yesterday, having scoped out good times to be there without going nuts (being retired sure does help). I love their packaged salmon, barbecue cut -- delicious sauteed with soy sauce, garlic powder, a little chicken stock, and pickled ginger from Talin.

Frankly, I'd do almost anything to avoid that horrible Uptown location, as it's a traffic and parking nightmare. Besides, I object to it on principle: it's just flat stupid to build an open air mall of fake "village streets", without trees or portals for shade, in a climate that's roasting hot half the year and blows hot dust for part of that time as well. It's worse to pipe loud music constantly through the "streets" so that it's impossible to get away from (there's no music that *everybody* likes). But that's our ABQ developer-mind: if somebody else does it somewhere, let's do the same thing here, even though it doesn't suit our high desert environment, because who the heck wants to be bothered *thinking* when there's profit to be made?

I think I'll keep on scooting up to Paseo for my TJ fix (their packaged-for-them milk chocolate is also very good) so I don't have to deal with the Uptown abomination. I go to the Wyoming branch library (now the Hillerman branch, good fiction collection), and I smile every time I tootle on past the Nightmare of Uptown. I don't plan to change that, TJ or no TJ.
Comment by cathyray on September 28, 2009 at 9:03am
I grew up here & frankly, Uptown gives me the heebie-jeebies. Driving past makes me feel like I've fallen into some kind of time/space warp & wound up somewhere in suburban Dallas or San Antonio. So what can I do about it? All these folks trying to drag Albuquerque into being something it's not? drive on. It's there for the folks that dig it but I don't go, as a rule. Somebody's having a birthday & wants to go eat there? Yeah, I go. But I have my little ruts around town that I get in & stay in & I'm comfortable & feel at home. I love it here & am glad there is room enough for everyone.

So happy to hear the Library has been renamed for Hillerman. That was my high school study place & you gotta love the roses!!
Comment by Michael P. "Martini Mike" D'Arco on September 28, 2009 at 11:13am
I am soooo glad this finally opened! I rarely want to or remember to drive to the one on Paseo. Gotta love the Trader Joe's!!!
Comment by once banned twice shy on September 28, 2009 at 11:27am
As Hettie suggested, people can avoid the parking lot nightmare if they ride the bus or ride their bikes. Trader Joe's Uptown is only 4 miles from my house in the Cotes de Nob Hill. Which means it is awfully close to all you Nob Hillers and Ridge/Fringecresters, too. Eschew the car for a peaceful bike ride to Trader Joe's!
Comment by John on September 28, 2009 at 12:00pm
At long last, I can get my pineapple salsa, my blocks of feta, and my organic milk (err, my affordable organic milk) without begging my friends to drive me to Paseo! I can take the bus!!! And from UNM, it's only like a 15-minute ride - now I'm really glad they shortened the Red Line from Wyoming to Louisiana.
Comment by abqmom on September 28, 2009 at 1:34pm
I went to a Trader Joe's in Centerville Ohio about 4 years ago, it is a nice boutique grocery store but geesh! I would much rather have an IKEA!

how is Uptown still open with the economy in the crapper?
and I agree with a previous poster re: trees and shade! if developers can build subdivision after subdivision then the scarcity of water isn't an issue...
maybe is Marty in cahoots with Albuquerque dermatologists too?


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