Trader Joes screen displaying $2,817' total (l) Trader Joes sign with blue sky (c) Trader Joe's employee speaking (r)

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock @registerednerd_/TikTok (Licensed) by Caterina Cox

‘Why does this never happen to me?’: Trader Joe’s gives out $2,800 in groceries for free after the refrigerator goes out

‘I would load up on orange chicken so fast.’


Vladimir Supica


A viral video featuring a Trader Joe’s refrigeration failure and subsequent acts of generosity has captured the attention of millions.

The video, posted on Friday by user @registerednerd_, shows Trader Joe’s employees giving away any cold or frozen items due to the malfunctioning refrigeration system

The customer filming asks the employees to explain the situation to the camera because “people won’t believe her.” 

In response, the employee who’s packing the free groceries says: “So our refrigeration went out so we’re giving away anything that’s cold or frozen.”


Random trip to Trader Joe’s turned into a blessing 😇

♬ original sound – Pyxis Princess

The customer then points the camera at the checkout terminal, showing it is up to a whopping $2,817. She says: “So this is everybody that’s checked out of this register so far today?”

One employee responds, “It is,” while another adds, “We’re helping everybody.”

The video quickly gained traction on TikTok accumulating more than 5.7 million views in less than a day, with many people expressing their admiration for the store employees’ generosity and selflessness. It’s unclear which Trader Joe’s location ran into this issue, and @registerednerd_ does not clarify what city she lives in via TikTok, especially as the California-based grocery store operates in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

“Thank you Trader Joe’s for donating it to the customers in need and not just throwing it away,” one commenter says. 

According to a RTS article on food waste in America, “About 30 percent of food in American grocery stores is thrown away.”

“Me caught unplugging the freezers at Trader Joe’s and waiting,” another commenter joked.

However, not everyone was happy with Trader Joe’s with some claiming they should be giving the supplies who are the most in need. One commenter remarked: “Should help the homeless instead of the customers who can afford the food ….”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @registerednerd_ via Tiktok direct messages and to Trader Joe’s.

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