Next Sketch Outing

Oct. 13: Seattle Center

Monday, May 24, 2021

U-District Trader Joe’s


5/21/21 U-District Trader Joe's

On March 3, 2020, we had already begun hearing about the hoarding that was going on in stores – shelves emptied of staples like bread, milk, rice and, inexplicably, toilet paper. Stocking up but resisting the urge to hoard, we shopped at Trader Joe’s as we usually do, unaware then that it would be our last trip there for more than 14 months.

Last Thursday we finally returned – the first in-store shopping trip of our post-vax life. As Rip Van Winkle continued to rub the sleep from bleary eyes, I had to concede that not much had changed (we missed the free coffee and food samples, of course). Most of our favorite TJ’s products were still there, and we discovered a few new (at least to us) things to try. We carefully followed the one-way arrows on the floor that were largely ignored by other shoppers. They had probably long ago figured out how to efficiently navigate the aisles during a pandemic.

Checking out, we had to be reminded by the clerk to wait within the circled area to stay safely out of the way of others. Embarrassed, we told him that it was our first shopping trip in 14 months, so we hadn’t learned the rules yet. He welcomed us back “out,” and we thanked him for his service all year while we had stayed safely at home.

With frozen foods in our bags, I couldn’t take the time to sketch then, but I made a separate trip the next day to make this sketch. The University District Trader Joe’s dark, dreary storefront is not the kind I would typically want to sketch. But it was important to me to commemorate this event.


  1. Great story. You made U-Dist TJ's look pretty good. So you had been ordering online food delivery for 14 months?!

    1. Thank you! Not much delivery, but parking lot pickup at Fred Meyer and Whole Foods. Yes, for 14 months! I'm still blinking as I come out of the cave!