If Trader Joe's Stopped Publishing "Fearless Flyer," Would You Notice?

How long can this charade really last?

Tweet! Ugh.

The first thing I noticed about February’s “Fearless Flyer” was that there was no theme, no volume or issue number. It’s almost as if without holiday themes, there’s nothing to live for. (What about Valentine’s Day, guys? Or Black History Month? Or Presidents’ Day?) The front page is a testament to this: Organic Tomato Basil Marinara, Organic Tricolor Quinoa, and Roasted Almonds with 50% Less Salt. You couldn’t write a better parody of a Trader Joe’s newsletter if you tried. And try they did not.

Almonds are exactly the kind of snack food you can eat by the handful without ever realizing you’ve gone overboard. Just imagine yourself at a party or a picnic, almonds within reach… before you know what’s happened, the bowl is empty and you’re left holding the bag. Whether directly out of the bag or from a bowl, these nuts have that great nutty flavor that just keeps you coming back for more. We understand your pain, er, pleasure. And really, since nuts contain the best fats and are great sources of protein, the biggest potential downside to eating all these almonds is the salt.

Enter Trader Joe’s 50% Less Salt Almonds. As their name clearly states, Trader Joe’s 50% Less Salt Almonds have 50% less salt than our regular version of the same nuts.

these nuts have that great nutty flavor

As their name clearly states…

When was the last time column inches were so readily available that you saw this kind of circumlocution, repetition, and wordiness? Before I know it I’m holding the bag? Where did the bag come from? I was eating almonds straight out of the bowl, and ate so many of them that the bowl was empty and suddenly a bag magically appeared in my hands? Did I go into the kitchen at this party and get the bag the almonds came from? This must really be what happens when you eat all the almonds because no one in history has ever eaten that many woodchips. Almonds are a great snack, don’t get me wrong, but it is physically impossible to eat THAT many almonds. It’s like the gallon challenge. Your body would just reject it. “No, sorry, too many woodchips in here. No more allowed.”

First there was rice. You know, in the Bible. The Bible of Trader Joe’s (old testament). Rice begat rice made from non-rice and it was like rice but not quite like rice but it was still called rice because it was made from a ricer. On a side note, have you ever thought about rice and just said to yourself “Ah, yes, one of the main things about rice is its monochrome hue?” No, me neither. Sure, you might think if pressed in a family feud-type situation, of the words “white” or “beige” or “brown.” But you probably didn’t say “chromatically speaking, there was only one lambda, or wavelength, if you will.”

Something I think about from time to time is how daunting it must be to write a book. It’s just SO MANY thousands of words. But now that I’ve read enough Fearless Flyers, I think, eh, big deal. You just say the same thing over and over but with fifteen words where you otherwise might use two, and pretty soon you’ve filled twenty-four pages full of recycled newsprint printed with soy-based inks, “For mental consumption only.”

Another bone I have to pick with this edition of Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer” is the inconsistency in effort in the headlines. Some of them are very utilitarian, and some but not all choose to include the price for no apparent reason other than perhaps taking up extra space:

Organic Baguette • $1.99
Steak & Stout Pies
Coconut Water
(weirdly not filed under the Four Ways to Coconut section on page 12???)
Dutch Tulips • 10 Stems • $4.99

Others are a little too familiar, almost like the copywriter saw a headline on The Washington Post once:

Oatmeal. In a Cup. That is all.
Pizza. Delicious. Dough.
Reduced Guilt. Mac & Cheese—Believe It.

Some of them are puns that make no sense

Red with Envy
A Little Saucy Something
A String of Good Luck
Musings on Muesli
(structurally speaking this one is confusing because it’s not about muesli, but about being about muesli, which is both meta and not parallel construction)

These two are uncategorizably odd:

Organic Stone Ground Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Htwi Pstourde Hnmaatra, Onaqiu, & Haic Deess

It’s an anagram, congratulations.

Fantastic Cookies and Where to Find Them

“Could we stop right there, with the headline?” the blurb asks. No? It’s not clear that anyone here is aware that this is a Harry Potter reference, made only more widely known because of last year’s spinoff movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Nothing about the writeup suggests anyone cares anyway. The blurb takes two hundred words to explain that “Quadruple” refers not to the number of almonds in each cookie but to the number of almond products in each cookie. Thanks for clarifying.

There is one feature of note in this month’s newsletter and it is a promise, which I cannot imagine will be upheld but will watch closely anyway:

Ah yes, remember 2014? Maybe March’s newsletter will have a MailChimp reference. I cannot imagine that what lies at the end of this scavenger hunt will be a free box of Trader Joe’s-brand cinnamon toast crunch, but you can bet I’ll be reading ever-so-closely to find out if 2017 is really the year we figure out once and for all that Adnan did it.