A Return Policy

I had a busy Tuesday afternoon running errands:


Grocery Store


Then onto Trader Joe’s

Wall of Nuts

Too bad I’m done with this section

Wall of Hummus

Beloved bags of crunchiness

I cannot live without sugar snap peas

And did you know if you try anything from TJ’s and you don’t like it, you can return it?

I saw this in the latest edition of their Fearless Flyer

For instance, if you were to purchase these and you decided they were just horrible, you could return them for a full refund.

Yeah, horrible.  <– Mmm, kay.  Sure.

I also saw this adorable chili pepper plant

The chili peppers were pretty small and green but so cute.  If veggies can be cute, of course.

They gave me a craving for this

I came home and munched on some yellow pepper wedges

Dipped in this

Sweet + heat + fruit based + no garlic or onions = love this chutney

And I have a serious mango anything addiction.

All kinds of mango-based recipes here

And more mango recipes here

And then I was feeling the chocolate monster come out so I took a look in the freezer to see what I could get into

And found a Magic Eight Bar

Imagine that. 

It pays to freeze your goodies

So you have options.

I like options in the form of Smores Bars, too

Thanks for the compliments on my last post about being featured as The Daily Special.  I was honored that I was selected!  Only took a couple thousand blog posts.  But it finally happened!


1. Have you ever returned food items? 

I have mentioned before that I do return food items every now and then.  Not necessarily just from TJ’s but from any type of grocery store from my regular grocery store like Ralph’s to Whole Foods.

For example, if I buy a new condiment or salad dressing or spice blend and I open it and it’s not at all what I thought it was going to be, yes, I will return it.

It may sound bad or tacky to some people or that some people just would never return food, but why keep something I will never use?  I wouldn’t keep a shirt that didn’t fit so why would I keep food that doesn’t fit my needs?

I  really don’t want to pay $4.99 to open a jar of something, take one whiff or one tiny little taste and realize, Nope. Not for me! 

Maybe I should just trash it but I wouldn’t throw a $5 bill in the trash so why would I throw away a $5 item that I bought?  I return it.

Not every single time I don’t like something, but occasionally, yet.

However, since I am much more selective with my dollars and choices the older I get, and not really much of an impulse buyer or impulse food buyer anymore, I find myself doing less and less returning.

I actually hate returning things!  I do it, but I don’t like dealing with it.  Who does.

2. How adventurous are you with you food purchases?

In years past, especially when I first start blogging, ohmygosh I was always buying “the latest and greatest”  this or that item and found myself with so many take-two-bites-and-this-is-gross purchases on my hands.

So now, I don’t impulse buy as much.

It’s cut down on trips back to the store, reduces the amount of money I waste (because I don’t return every single thing that doesn’t tickle my fancy) plus I have realized I like what I like.  A food groove, not a rut.

I don’t have to buy garbanzo bean flour just because it’s popular now in the blogosphere.  Too many beans give me a stomach ache so why buy an expensive and specialty bag of flour when in all probability, it’s not for me.

That said, I do love the blogosphere for all the great foodie finds I’ve found and discovered.  The good ones and things I’ve found and loved far outweigh the duds.  See all these things I love now, courtesy of the ‘sphere!

Have a great day and hope you don’t have to return anything today.


  1. I don’t think I have ever returned a food item, unless it was something boxed or packaged and the seal was broken. I hate returning things, too. I know a woman who LIVES off buying/ordering and returning things. She will go to a clothing store, buy hundreds off dollars worth of clothes at the beginning of the season, and return what does not “feel” right… jesh. I don’t understand.

    All your TJ pictures make me soo jealous! The nearest one to me is over 2 hours away. :(

  2. Wow, just another reason to LOVE TJ’s! I’ve never returned a food item, I think I’d feel weird about it!

  3. I’m in love with that mini chili pepper plant!!! How adorable is that?

    I’ve never returned a food item before that I can recall. I think I would just throw it away and not even think to return it!

    I’m pretty risky when it comes to buying new foods. I love trying new items and seeing if they are keepers or not!

  4. I have had to return fruit to the store before. I bought some fruit last summer and it would be moldy the next day, even after I refrigerated it. The store I went to was really good about it.

    I keep forgetting about that Trader Joe’s return policy, so thanks for the reminder! I have purchased a few items from there in the past that I didn’t love.

  5. I have never “returned” anything to TJ, but I was checking out there & the cashier said I should try XXX type of crackers. I said I actually bought them the week before & we not really like them, and she said she was giving me my $ back on the spot.

  6. I love that TJs has that policy — I haven’t ever had to use it (I have like d everything I’ve tried there).

    I’ve returned some bottled condiments (unopened) to the grocery store because I didn’t know that I already had them at home. It was super simple. Are there times when I could have returned fresh food? Yes, but I didn’t. Honestly it never really crossed my mind!

    I’m not super adventurous with food — I hate to waste money so that is probably the biggest reason why I don’t try lots of new-to-me foods. But I guess I could be more adventurous at TJs since they’ll take it back if I hate it!

  7. Last week I returned 3 or 4 protein powder “singles” to Whole Foods. I was trying to find one I liked & bought several, fell in love with one, and returned the rest. WF does require a receipt, though, which is frustrating. But they make the process painless.

  8. Hey girl, your blog updates look amazing! Love the new header. Simple, clean & perfect. If we ever leave the OC the 2 things I will miss are my kids school & my TJ’s addiction. Best store ever!

  9. I can´t WAIT to go to Trader Joe´s when I am finally in LA doing my internship!! I bet I will spend an absolute fortune. Currently, I live in Germany, where the return policy is not that great in general… But I always return things and just talk the cassier ladies into accepting the return :D
    With food, I am quite conservative, also I hate throwing food away, so I really only buy items which I think I will like.
    And congrats to your feature!!

  10. How awesome of TJ’s to advertise that! I feel good to shop with a company who stands behind their products and customers.

    I remember my mom returning rotten watermelon as a kid, but I hardly ever return things. Sometimes I accidentally double buy spices but I figure I’ll use them anyway. I’ve become more adventurous with buying food since becoming vegan and since blogging!

  11. Guess what I just got a bag of??? TJs chocolate chips! I can’t wait to try them. I have a feeling they will NOT be returned. The crab cakes I had a little while back…wish I could have returned those. I don’t think I’ve ever returned food. Hope you have checked all your to dos off the list!

  12. I know some grocery stores, whole foods included, if you ask to try any product they will open it up on the spot and give you a taste! I think that’s an awesome policy, although I would feel very compelled to buy it if they opened up a brand new one for me. I’d rather spend money than see the whole thing go to waste. I’ve never returned a food product, but I really don’t branch out too too much with my purchases either since I’m on a fairly tight budget.

  13. I LOVE TJ’S!!! I’m so sad, I live in Utah now and don’t have one anymore.
    I have to stock up every time I leave the state. :) Trader Joe’s is the BEST!

  14. i LOVE that tjs has a return policy! it totally makes it okay to try new things which i just love about that place because there’s so many different products that i never know if i want to spend the money on!

    your hummus containers are different then ours!!

  15. I don’t think I have ever returned something because I didn’t like it. Then again, I live far away from the stores where I buy new things to try that it’s not possible to return things (we usually only get there once a month). I stick to what I know at the local (little) store because it’s too expensive to buy specialty items :)

    I wish I lived near a Trader Joes! Thankfully I just found out they are opening one in Spokane soon, which is only a 3 hour drive from me here in British Columbia, Canada – score! I think a road trip will be in order for the Grand Opening!

  16. I did know about Trader Joe’s return policy but I looooooooooooove about 90% of their products. And those that I don’t love I tend to do something creative with because they are healthy and I hate wasting food (for example their sweet potato soup is lousy as soup but makes awesome muffins and pancakes!)

  17. What an awesome policy! There isn’t a Trader Joe’s anywhere near my house, so I couldn’t take advantage even if I did return food. But with 2 broke, overworked, and always-hungry little sisters who are just starting out on their own, unused food always has a place to go. :)
    I used to be extremely adventurous with food purchases – I loved trying new food! But now that I have GI issues, I am neurotically careful because I don’t like the consequence of eating the wrong thing. My idea of adventurous eating now is introducing old foods back into my life – and even that doesn’t always go well. *sigh* Maybe someday…
    Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  18. I’ve returned food items for sure. The bottle of kombucha that fizzed and spilled til halfway empty? (And no, I didn’t shake it) That went back, STAT.

    Had some dates and bread from TJ’s go moldy quickly on me, so those went back, too.

    If I try something and don’t like it, though, I usually just give it to someone who will like it, or who I already know likes it.

    Oh, and hey, belated congrats on the Daily Special accolade :-)

  19. that’s a great returns option! for the 1000th time…wish we had tj’s here!
    i return items if they’ve gone bad (milk, cottage cheese etc) but not if i just don’t like it. i suck it up as a learning experience (stores around here do not have that great tj’s idea).
    i don’t impulse buy too much with foodie stuff – i’ll think on it for a while. thanks to blogs, i discovered nutritional yeast, chia seeds…i like reading reviews before making my choices!

  20. Mmmm, thanks for reminding me I need to go to TJ’s. :-) Interesting on the return policy, but something I’d rarely take them up on unless the product was defective.

    The pepper plant is adorable.

    1. Nope, but I used to work at a supermarket customer service counter and saw lots of, uh, interesting people return food. Like produce that’s been rotting in the back of the fridge for months!
    2. Pretty adventurous, especially with produce, I’ll try just about any plant. :-)

  21. I’ve been loving peppers raw lately, and never thought to dip them in chutney. Great idea. NOw, to get me some chutney…

  22. The only thing I have ever returned with milk from TJ’s. It was NOT expired according to the date…but WHEW! LET ME TELL YOU…it was WELL passed it’s drink by date.

    Spoiled. Milk. Is. Gross.


  23. A, sorry about the nuts issues – just read about it in your older post. I’ll eat some extra almonds for you, K? And peanuts and sunflower seeds are still okay right?

    Loving the new blog look – you a great job, and the new social media buttons look great…as do the peaches and s’mores bars. :)

  24. 1. I hate returning stuff! I just bought a strainer (to make chai tea) and then I found one buried away in a drawer at my boyfriend’s house. I’m not looking forward to a trip to Target tomorrow, but I have to because it’s brand new and I already own one. I’ve never returned food, it didn’t dawn on me that you could.
    2. Always trying new veggies. Just got some watercress that’s extremely bitter. Maybe I should return it.

  25. I pretty much am consistent in what i eat but i will for sure try the TJ mango chutney!!

  26. I never actually really thought about returning food! Not sure why…or that my store would even do such a thing. Of course, lately I’m pretty good at sticking to tried-and-triue things, like you mentioned, so there hasn’t been much need for that!

  27. That’s awesome that you can return things! I have been trying to broaden my food horizons and that would be the perfect way!

  28. I absolutely hate returning anything ever. If I can avoid it, I will get out of it! But I have never once returned food. I think I feel better about returning say, clothing because I know they can put it back out on the shelf. But what do they do with the food? I think they have to throw it out and it seems like a giant waste to me. I am much more likely to give it to someone else that I think would actually enjoy it. I remember years ago actually I bought a veggie platter for a baby shower and when we opened it up it had gone totally rotten, so I threw it away. The guests were shocked that I wasn’t going to march back to the store to return it. Yes, it irritated me, but I wasn’t going to stall an entire baby shower to drive 20 minutes back to the store, wait in the line for 20 minutes and drive 20 minutes back. Yes, I could have done it later, but to me NOT having to deal with the hassle was worth that $5. I also had more spending money back then…lol

    I don’t have the money now to be too adventurous. Which is exactly why I don’t try all of the recipes I consider on a daily basis. So many good-seeming recipes, so little money to try them all!

  29. Pingback: Take A Whiff

  30. (waves from the UK) The supermarket I use here, Asda (part of Walmart?) says on its own brand goods that if you dont like any product you can get a refund. I tried some frozen cauliflower florets and they were horrible – all soggy and watery. So I emailed them and told them what I thought and just like that they gave me my money back. I do online shopping so they can easily refund things to my account. It encourages me to pick up new stuff sometimes knowing I can get my money back if I dont like it!

  31. I think ALL stores should follow TJ’s policy!

  32. I am quite adventurous with food purchases, and I have returned things (if they were bad and I didn’t realize) etc..

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