An Open Letter to the Couples Who Spilled Their Emotions in Aisle 12

Dear hand holders at Trader Joes,

To be young and in love. It must be wonderful. I too was once young and in love. Four years ago. And like you, we held hands in unromantic, mundane locations, just because we wanted all the customers at the Container Store in Chestnut Hill to know that we were an unit. Like those Elfa shelves, we were connected. But you two at Trader Joes in Union Square, I have a problem with you. So much so that I took a picture on my cell phone and sent it to my friend with the caption “making out in TJs! Not okay!” It wasn’t just the ostentatious passion in line that prompted me to “accidentally” kick my basket into your heels. No. The main crime here was that you weren’t double teaming. I’m all for splitting up your grocery shopping. One person gets the produce, the other grabs the cookies and dried fruit then snags two cups of Meatless Meatballs from the sample stand. That’s just being efficient. And if you have another person hold your place in line–well clearly you’re a seasoned Trader Joes shopper. Here’s your errand running badge to sew on your New Yorker sash. Mazel Tov. Well deserved. You’re one step closer to being a fully functioning human being.

But no! This was not what you were doing. You were literally shopping together. Exchanging loving glances as one of you reached for the oven roasted turkey slices, intertwining your barely pubescent bodies as you walked limb to limb down the frozen food aisle.

I would be jealous of you if you were at a bookstore whispering sweet nothings about Donna Tartt and Junot Diaz into each others’ ears. You like James McBride? I like James McBride! Let’s kiss. You think Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest book with all those cut outs was basically him publicly jerking off to his own intellect? We’re so perfect for each other, it’s crazy. Let’s sneak off to the archeology section and hook up among the tales of Pompeii.

But this is Trader Joes, one of the few places in New York where I can wallow in my own self pity and where it’s socially acceptable to wear sweatpants and crunch down on full, raw, unwashed, unpeeled carrots. What I mean to say is that this is a safe space to look like a pathetically lonely, emotionally stunted, one therapy-session-away-from-straight-up-fleeing-the-country person. This is not the place to flaunt your off-the-runway wardrobe or your oh so swell romantic connection. By all means, go do that at Dean and Deluca’s. Even Whole Foods. You’d fit in nicely with the other couples debating the merits of shredded beats and a gluten free diet. Maybe you could even join them for a private group Soul Cycle session and then bask in the expensive after-glow at a smoothie bar.

There. I have nothing else to say to you. Just next time, take your business elsewhere.

Your’s truly,


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