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Two-Buck Chuck needs a new nickname

Photo: SeriousEats.com

Trader Joe’s is upping the price of its famous “Two-Buck Chuck.” After 11 years of selling the Charles Shaw shiraz or cabernet sauvignon for $1.99, the retailer has upped the price to $2.49 in California as of Jan. 16.

It needs a new nickname.

Some suggestions I’ve heard: Inflation Chuck and Upchuck (though I can’t be the only one who is grossed out by the thought of vomit anywhere near my wine).

Some suggestions from the Twitterverse:

SoapinTrucker: Last Straw Shaw, Save a buck Chuck, Lucky Chuck(y).
jboren4507: Cheap wine for $2.49.
HarmsWayChad: The wine formerly known as 2 buck chuck.

Any more ideas?

All hail the Trader

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I’ve loved Trader Joe’s ever since I walked into one for the very first time. I swing by every week or two to pick up my “essentials.” (Gimme some more of that Double Rainbow chocolate sorbet, and my world wouldn’t be the same without the toasted oatmeal flakes.) I remember once while living for a time in New York City that I made a major detour on a trip upstate just so I could swing by a Trader Joe’s and stock up on meringue chews. (Now there’s a TJ’s in Chelsea.)

But for all of the time (and money) I spend there, I don’t know much about the company. You rarely read about Trader Joe’s in the news. Turns out there’s a reason for that — the privately held German company is notoriously tight-lipped.

That’s why I was so interested to read this article on Yahoo Finance that includes little-known details about this grocery-store chain that just keeps growing, including how much employees can earn (managers in the low six figures, starting full-time employees in the $40,000-$60,000 range, plus the company annually contributes 15.4% of employees’ gross income to tax-deferred retirement accounts — no wonder everyone is so friendly there), and how products get chosen for the shelves. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is how the limited number of items actually turns out to be a boon for sales:

Customers may think they want variety, but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis. “People are worried they’ll regret the choice they made,” says Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore professor and author of The Paradox of Choice. “People don’t want to feel they made a mistake.” Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn’t quite so large.

Makes sense to me. So, Beehive readers, any other Trader fans amongst you? What’s your can’t-do-without product? Or is there anyone out there who can’t stand the place?

Is Bentley’s closing the demise of River View?

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The news that Bentley’s is closing didn’t really surprise me. Joan had reported that the bistro closed and speculated about the future of the store.

Things seemed pretty shaky to me about a month ago when I visited Zen Spa, where I get my hair done, and realized only four stylists were left working there. It was kind of sad. I really noticed that foot traffic was way down in the center and there were a lot of empty parking spaces.

So, what happened? How did the RiverView shopping center go from the hot spot to this slow demise. Is it just the economy? With the former Flamenco restaurant space still vacant and Bentley’s getting out, it makes me wonder if the other stores and restaurants can make it. (I hear the Red Door may be out too? Anyone know for sure? The phone is disconnected.)

I brain-stormed today, trying to think what business could possibly fill the Bentley’s anchor spot in the center. All I can think of is Trader Joe’s, and I have a hard time believing they would add a third store in the area. It took what seemed like eons for the Clovis store to open. Anyone have a guess? Or a wish?

If I had to push for something different, maybe someone could open one of these restaurant/movie theater places.