Several weeks ago, high schooler Briones Bedell called out grocery store Trader Joe’s because of the company’s product names. Trader Joe’s sells most items under the store brand and has a habit of labeling ethnic offerings with a take on the store name, such as Trader Jose’s (Mexican), Trader Ming’s (Chinese), and Trader Giotto’s (Italian).
“The carefully-crafted facade of your friendly neighborhood hipster grocery store belies a darker image; one that romanticizes imperialism, fetishizes native cultures, and casually misappropriates.”
Bedell started a petition to get Trader Joe’s to end its naming convention, and the store responded that it was replacing any variations on the name. But that was in the past.
Trader Joe’s posted a statement on its website showing that it has reversed course and plans to keep all of its names for as long as store management sees fit.
“We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.”
“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing. We continue our ongoing evaluation, and those products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.”
Interesting… a company that responds to what actual customers think, and refuses to bow to the cancel culture.