Cameron Scott on “progressive aesthetics”:
Nobody would claim that Safeway is green. But Trader Joe's isn't either. I've written before about the excess packaging at the store. And TJ's is also under pressure by Greenpeace to agree to buy sustainable seafood. (Sign the petition here.)
This housemate is certainly not alone in averting her gaze from our buddy Joe's flaws. What's the deal? I have two theories. First, a low price will buy you a lot of good will. And, second, TJ's appeals to a progressive aesthetic by carrying fewer processed foods, fewer chemical cleaners, and more alcohol (whose supply chain is hardly green). Put all that in a less industrial setting and, voila, you have customer loyalty that has absolutely nothing to do with your purchasing practices, and may even believe they are what they're not.
There may be one other factor: Unlike either Safeway or Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's is privately held. That makes it harder to dig up dirt on the company and to do anything about what you find.