Trader Joe's New $4 Lunch Bag Is Flying Off Store Shelves

Limited time offers going fast is nothing new at Trader Joe's, and it seems its latest hot item sold out nearly as quick as it was stocked in many stores across the country. On June 4, the retail grocer released two different 1.5-gallon insulated lunch totes — one in a vibrant teal color, the other in hot magenta — for the shockingly low price of $3.99. Like clockwork, TJ's cult followers were visiting the store in droves to get their hands on the new food containers, and before long ran through the supply. One TikTok user, @traderjoesnew, shared a video of themselves securing one of the elusive lunch bags.

@traderjoesnew

Secured the bag!!! But I'm also very excited for these new and returning items. That tropical boba 🙃 can't wait to try Which ones are you excited about? #traderjoes #traderjoesnew #traderjoesmusthaves #traderjoesfinds #traderjoesnewitems #traderjoeslist

♬ Look – The Mondays & LiTTiE

Folks are obviously excited about TJ's new merchandise, but the enthusiasm isn't simply patrons digging on the flash colors and beach-y theme of the totes. In this era of arbitrage, of course people maxed out their buy limit to resell on third-party sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay. There's been no indication the sellers are unhappy with the product (after all, Trader Joe's has a very friendly return policy) — they simply see an opportunity to make a profit, and if folks are getting asking price, they are indeed doing that. 

People are reselling totes with a huge markup

While some reselling Trader Joe's merchandise aren't going too crazy on the flip price, others have been selling the 4 buck lunch bags for as much as $99 each. At 25 times the initial cost, the resellers seem to know they've got a product in their hands that people are going crazy for, and intend to take full advantage of it. The vibrant bags are a spinoff of the fashionable shopping totes Trader Joe's released earlier this year, which received a similar reception, but the wacky, wild numbers inflation can inspire seem to know no bounds lately. 

Trader Joe's has had brushes with reselling before; in March of 2021, the company issued a statement to its patrons letting them know that it was aware of the actions some people were taking by making a profit off of its products online and that it did not approve. The price point of the totes are an effort to make an accessible item to everyone, and part of the in-store experience the chain works to cultivate

Nakia Rohde, a Trader Joe's spokesperson, told USA Today that the grocer does not "endorse the re-sale of any of [its] products, anywhere." While many stores sold out of the new lunch bags within a day, Rhodes indicated that more should be arriving in stores by June 5 and more still would be sent to stores later this summer.

Trader Joe's does what it can to stop resellers

Trader Joe's has expressed in writing its commitment to its patrons, which says, "When we open for business each day, we are focused on our customers — people for whom shopping at Trader Joe's is a personal matter, finding food and drink (a few other things, too) for their own use and for sharing with family and friends. For this reason, we only sell our products in our physical stores."  

Trader Joe's has already taken steps to curb the action of some folks hoarding LTOs only to try and make a buck off of them later by limiting customers to purchasing two totes at a time. Whether this stops the frenzy over the $4 lunch bags, only time will tell; capping sales at one per person is a possible measure, but TJ's hasn't yet indicated any  plans to do this. The new colorful totes will be available in Trader Joe's locations while supplies last, after which they may join the many other products the popular retail market has discontinued over the years

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