Trader Joe’s might be a foodie playground for adults, but it’s also a great place to bring your kids along for the ride. Turns out, the beloved grocery store actually has a surprise treasure hunt that will occupy your little ones while you search for the next item on your grocery list, according to Delish. Just like the store offers treats to adults like free coffee samples, the ability to try tons of different items, and the occasional freebie from your cashier, the chain also gives away small gifts to kids who complete the treasure hunt. Though the adorable secret game has been kept just that, something of a secret, many parents and kids have been enjoying it since at least 2014.
Essentially, there’s a stuffed animal hidden somewhere in the store. Kendra Friend-Daniel, public relations director for Trader Joe’s, explained to The Kitchn: “It’s a way to engage with kids in our store. If they locate the hidden stuffed toy, they just let a Crew Member know and they’ll receive a treat. The type of stuffed toy and treat may vary store to store, but for example, in my local Trader Joe’s there’s a hidden penguin and when my daughters locate it, they receive a lollipop.”
It could be any kind of stuffed animal toy like a penguin, lobster, cow, or monkey. So, tell your kids to keep their eyes peeled for any kind of stuffed animal toy.
Trader Joe's treasure hunt has seen some controversy
Though this might sound like a harmless game to most, some parents are less thrilled with the game. While you and your family might be able to play without any hurt feelings, confusion, or temper tantrums, one father felt the game wasn’t fair to kids. Ryan Britt, a writer for Fatherly, expressed his dismay for the game, noting: “Apparently, if the child finds the secret stuffed animal, they do not — I repeat DO NOT — get to keep said stuffed animal. The secretly hidden Trader Joe’s stuffed animal is, instead, some kind of proxy prize, a very cool thing, that is somehow, just a gateway for a much lamer gift.”
You might think he’s taking it a bit far, but he does have a valid point. So, don’t get your kid’s hopes up for the toy itself and explain if they find it that they will get a small prize. Hopefully knowing about the game and having appropriate expectations will make your kids excited to go grocery shopping and put them on their best behavior.
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