There are few things I will willingly wait in line for. I will never dance in exclusive clubs, because I refuse to stand outside, shivering, waiting to get in. The sweet, soft, and flaky dough of a cronut will never cross my impatient lips. Rollercoasters will go unridden, museums unvisited, and movies unseen if there's a snaking line of humanity between me and the entrance. And yet, a few weeks ago, I stood in line for half an hour — not to get into a club or to get to my license renewed, but to get into a Trader Joe's.
It was so packed after work that the store had installed a bouncer at the front to manage the crowd. I stood, first a block away, then half a block, then, mercifully, I was granted entry. I stood shoulder to shoulder (well, back to iPhone) with my fellow Americans, and we waited. We waited, because you don't just go to Trader Joe's to pick up grocery staples, you go for the fun, whimsical treats — products that sound weird, but are actually amazing.
I left that day with the basics, but also with a selection of whimsical snacks, treats that would brighten a boring day at work, or make me feel fun and cosmopolitan when I had guests over. I left the same woman I was before, but perhaps also better, more interesting. I saw the people still in line, and nodded encouragingly as if to say "You too will have a life filled crunchy seaweed snacks, if only you're patient." No one nodded back.
Here is a selection of just some of the weird and wonderful products that make Trader Joe's worth waiting in line for.