niche drama

Beware the Trader Joe’s Mini-Tote Mayhem

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Trader Joe’s, Getty Images

If you’ve noticed extra chaos in the checkout line at your local Trader Joe’s, it may be due to the growing mayhem over the grocery store’s new mini tote bags. The chain dropped the limited-run $2.99 canvas bags in early February, and crazed in-store shoppers have reportedly been clamoring for their own mini totes ever since. In a matter of weeks, the 13-inch canvas bags have gotten so popular that a set of four is going for nearly $1,000 on eBay.

In one viral TikTok, a crowd of customers can be seen stampeding toward a display of mini totes and hoarding as many bags as they can get their hands on to the tune of “O Fortuna.” The TikTok user aptly captioned the video, “These mfs wildin over a mini tote bag.” In another video, customers at a Chino Hills, California, location were captured piling multiple totes at a time into their shopping carts. (Notably, this is not the serene environment Trader Joe’s customers have come to expect at the grocer’s many locations.) Things have apparently gotten so out of control that People even felt the need to ask the company for a statement.

“Our Mini Canvas Tote Bags certainly sold more quickly than we anticipated. Before we had the opportunity to promote them in any way, customers across the country found them at their neighborhood Trader Joe’s,” the spokesperson said of Mini-tote-gate. “Our customers, in our stores, are our focus; we do not endorse the re-sale of any of our products, anywhere.”

“We do have more Trader Joe’s Mini Canvas Tote Bags coming. Customers can expect to see them in our stores in late summer,” they added.

While the store recommends popping a “Ciabatta Demi-Baguette, Organic String Cheese, [or] Citterio Salami Sticks” into its mini totes “for a relaxing spring afternoon in the park,” I hope shoppers spending $400 on a canvas bag they probably could’ve gotten for free and find something a little more decadent to throw in. In the meantime, good luck to those braving the in-store crowds. Totes scary.

Beware the Trader Joe’s Mini-Tote Mayhem