Trader Joe’s store gives away a ton of frozen food after fridges break down: ‘I would’ve been bawling my eyes out’

Some lucky residents in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently had the shopping trip of a lifetime when the refrigerators inside a local Trader Joe’s broke down.

That left store management with two options: Either let the food spoil or let the public take home the food for free. Either way, thousands of dollars would be lost in the process, but at least if they gave the food away, it wouldn’t go to waste.

To the joy and surprise of many, the store chose the second option.

The unique event was captured on video by many local shoppers, who later uploaded them on TikTok.


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

♬ original sound – Pyxis Princess

“Random trip to Trader Joe’s turned into a blessing,” wrote the TikTok user @registerednerd_ in one post caption.

In the video, the shopper asks a cashier to explain what’s going on and is told that, due to a freezer malfunction, all cold and frozen foods are being given away for free. When the TikToker tilts her camera downward, she shows a running register total that comes to more than $2,800 but is quick to note how that doesn’t just represent her order — it’s actually keeping track of every free item going out the doors, even though customers won’t be charged for them.

In a follow-up video, the TikToker pans her camera around the store, showing lines of customers giddily waiting to “check out” cart fulls of free food.


Replying to @sherollcheryl 📍Baton Rouge, La

♬ original sound – Pyxis Princess

Other Baton Rouge locals also shared their experience on TikTok, where people almost couldn’t believe what they were seeing.


the way GOD been blessing me lately.. whew happy GOoD friday yall. #waymaker #traderjoes #goodfriday

♬ original sound – gospelmusicenthusiast

“Omggg yess I would of started shouting,” one person wrote.

“Mannnnn I would’ve been bawling my eyes out as I filled my cart lol,” said another.

“turning the power off in my town as we speak,” someone else joked.

Others asked why the store didn’t consider donating to food pantries or nearby shelters, but in response to those comments, @.amiyabrielle said they did. Unfortunately, all of the local organizations they called were closed at the time the fridges broke down.

Though this kind of event is definitely rare, it may not surprise you to learn that Trader Joe’s has a reputation for being extremely generous. According to The Daily Meal, the grocery store already donates unused or unsold items in the store, including beauty products and flowers. It’s all part of the chain’s “Neighborhood Shares” program, which is devoted to helping fight food insecurity. In addition, the store also donates to Feeding America food banks.

But that’s not all.

Trader Joe’s also answers written requests for donations. In fact, an estimated 63 million meals were gifted to Americans in need in 2020 in direct response to written requests. All in all, the donations equaled almost $350 million.

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