Trader Joe’s Bites the Woke Dust

Trader Joe’s Bites the Woke Dust

Trader Joe’s Bites the Woke Dust

I love Trader Joe’s. Not only do I like their teas and snack foods, but I also love their tropical vibe, especially when Canadian winds blow south across the Midwest in January. And the employees in their Hawaiian shirts always have a smile for me when I check out my purchases.

But now Trader Joe’s has bitten the woke dust, thanks to . . . get this. . . a 17-year-old girl.

Briones Bedell, a high schooler from — where else? — San Francisco, has shopped with her family at their local Trader Joe’s. While there, she saw items that ruffled her little woke feathers.

There were products on the shelves that she claimed were “racist” because they altered the name “Joe” on ethnic foods to reflect nationality. For example, Mexican foods were titled as “Trader José’s,” Chinese foods as “Trader Ming’s,” and Italian as “Trader Giotto’s.”

So Briones created a petition demanding that Trader Joe’s change these names.

“We demand that Trader Joe’s remove racist branding and packaging from its stores. The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”

Not a polite letter to the company — oh no! This is waaaay too important. No, Briones demands.

But wait! There’s more. There’s always more, isn’t there? Because Briones found some horrible details about the late founder of the chain, Joe Coulombe. Turns out that Joe — who died in February — got his nautical inspiration from a 1919 book White Shadows in the South Seas. Naturally, that 100-year-old book is raaaacist, according to the petition. Therefore, the store must be racist too, right?

“Even though the story calls out the abuses of trading companies, (although it perpetuates other racist tropes such as that of the “noble savage” and “white god” narratives common during this period), “Trader” is still part of the grocery chain’s name. It leaves the question: What in particular about this book inspired the company? “

The petition goes on to criticize the Disneyland Jungle Cruise, which has nothing to do with Trader Joe’s. But Briones was just getting warmed up.

“The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it presents “Joe” as the default “normal” and the other characters falling outside of it. . .”

Hold on, is “exoticize” even a word? Would Joe Exotic know? Anyway. . .

She concludes her lengthy rant petition:

“The current branding, given this essential context, then becomes even more trivializing and demeaning than before. What at first seems, at worst, insensitive, further is called into question.”

I’ll bet Briones is loads of fun at Christmas parties. And if you’re wondering about her parents — they’re totes onboard with their daughter. They’re no longer shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Naturally, the store caved to the whims of — as of this writing — less than 3000 people who signed the petition. You know with media publicity there will be more signers.

Company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said in a statement:

“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day.”

So who is Briones Bedell? Is she Asian, or black, or Hispanic?

Nope. She’s white, and blonde, too. But she describes herself on her Twitter profile as a “youth human rights activist.” What’s more, it appears that she set up her Twitter account just this month, no doubt to publicize her “human rights” campaign against Trader Joe’s.

Shades of David Hogg.


Screenshot: Briones Bedell/Twitter.

Now considering that Briones is certainly not a Person of Color, but instead is a Person of Pallor, I’m wondering what her next crusade will be. Perhaps she’ll demand that Conagra Brands ditch the name of “Swiss Miss” for chocolate products. They no longer use the image of the blonde girl with pigtails, but isn’t it “trivializing” to stereotype Germanic females with chocolate?

Even worse, what about General Mills and its cereal “Lucky Charms?” They’re still using that obnoxious leprechaun who keeps blathering about “magically delicious” in an Irish brogue. Talk about your stereotypes — holy smokes! Briones oughta get on that one, right?

Oh, wait. Irish and Germanic people are white, and therefore are not “oppressed.”

But a YouTube blogger named DiscoSean21 has thoughts about the Trader Joe’s kerfuffle. He says that this has gotten “waaaay outta hand.”

And DiscoSean is black.

But now that Trader Joe’s has kowtowed (hold on — is that word racist?) to the virtue signaling of a foot-stomping Veruca Salt, how will race relations improve? Moreover, will this help the nation to heal from its current malaise?

It helps nothing. If anything, this kind of garbage merely raises the national blood pressure even further. And right now I could use a glass of Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck.


Featured image: Aranami/flickr/cropped/CC BY 2.0.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Cameron says:

    This child suffers from Lack of Things To Do. I blame China since they are responsible for her being under lockdown.

  • DfwKid says:

    She definitely needs to get a life and do something really useful like help the homeless. Work at a soup kitchen or something like that. Make the world a better place. Don’t be tilting at windmills like Don Quixote. Or does she know who that was?

  • Politically Ambidextrous says:

    They’re probably just glad their founder wasn’t named Don Coulombe.
    Can you imagine?!?

  • Ranchguy says:

    Damn, I have loved Trader Joes for many years. Moved out of the state of fruits and nuts (California) several years ago to raise cattle in a quieter more conservative environment. I travel 4 hours to go to Costco and Trader Joes, unfortunately may have to give up TJ’s. When will the “woke” nonsense end?
    When will the Silent Majority take back sensibility.

  • Lingam says:

    I referred to the people who are calling TJ’s products racist as “narrow-minded idiots” in my letter to the company.

  • Poor thing was likely not asked to the Senior Prom by the Captain of the football team and she’s exacting her revenge.

    By the way, it troubled Eleanor to read the headline “…bites the dust.” Being dead, we’re sensitive to that expression.

  • Wfjag says:

    Well, Kim, you’re from K.C. Any predictions on when Oklahoma Joe’s becomes a target of the Woke Mob? Or, does challenging people who smoke ribs in a converted gas station indicate the foolishness of tangling with people who possess a spine?

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      The Woke Mob would have as much luck pulling BBQ from Kansas Citians’ fingers as they would trying to wrest the name of “Chiefs” from the Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs. That’s coming, too. But good luck messing with the Red Kingdom.

      BTW, it’s no longer “Oklahoma Joe’s.” It’s now “Joe’s KC,” which suits us all just fine. Did I also mention that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl?

      • Wfjag says:

        Did you mention that the K.C. Chiefs’ QB is the highest paid pro-football player of all time? I guess bringing home the Super Bowl ring once every half century warrants some rewards.

        Actually, Q39 is my favorite – Go Burnt Ends.

  • Brian Brandt says:

    I sense a bright future for Briones. First stop: Harvard. She’s a cinch to get in now. Major in ‘journalism’ and women’s studies. Then a stint as an intern in Nancy Pelosi’s office, then on to the New Your Times as a social justice ‘journalist.’ Right up until the staff and editors there realize she’s white. After that, she can be a talking head on MSNBC.

  • JimNorCal says:

    Cameron: “This child suffers from Lack of Things To Do.”

    Doubtless true. But, I wonder …
    She _just-now_ created a Twitter account specifically for this “campaign”?

    Perhaps the true motivation is that she needs something to put on her college applications? Since schools are de-emphasizing grades and standardized tests, the POP (people of pallor) are compelled to come up with story lines since they don’t have skin color to help them.

  • Johnny says:

    Briones Bedell, eh? OK, you asked for it…

    As a Bedell, Briones is of English descent (Bedell being “from Beadnall”, a town near Northumberland).
    Briones on the other hand is a town in Spain, named after the aboriginal inhabitants (Berones) of La Rioja.
    I demand that Briones cease her cultural appropriation of the proud traditions of the Berones by changing her name!

  • Kanu says:

    The name “Trader Joe’s” perpetuates harmful patriarchal stereotypes and must be changed immediately!

    “Trader Josephine’s” wouldn’t be any better, since Josephine is derived from a male name and is therefore further evidence of the subordination and repression of women.

    I have an idea. Where should I start my on-line petition to change the name to “Trader Karen’s”?

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