New Apartment Somehow Four Buses Away From All Trader Joes’ In City

LOGAN SQUARE — The boxes are unpacked, the paintings are hung. But for Julie Lullers, 26, the fridge remains empty. After painstakingly picking out her new apartment for its abundance of natural light and hardwood floors, Lullers was dismayed to find that the nearest Trader Joe’s was an hour-long journey involving several buses and a half-mile walk. “My last apartment was kind of in the middle of nowhere, so I got used to finding groceries wherever I could—Walgreens, ALDI, the bags of long-grain rice my neighbor threw through my window every Tuesday—your usual neighborhood go-tos. But I thought this new place would change some things.”

Chicago houses six different Trader Joe’s, scattered around the city willy-nilly. For most residents, a trip to one of the locations requires the amount of planning and foresight traditionally allotted to a day of scuba diving. “Mostly, I’ll stop by Jewel after work to pick up a $3 frozen pizza and a pack of Mentos for dinner,” said local corporate boypest Steve Plemm, 32. “But every so often I’ll take my car out for a spin and end up at the Lincoln Park Trader Joe’s. I can never remember what happens next, but I’ll usually wake up in the parking spot of my building with four reusable bags full of cauliflower rice and my mouth bloodied with Trader Giotto’s red sauce. It’s a trip!”

Walking past a nearby Foodsmart with the defeated, empty eyes of a 14th-century whipping boy, Lullers bemoaned the lack of Pumpkin Joe-Joes and ketchup-flavored Spud Crunchies in the area. “I commute to the loop every day, so I think I’ve karmically earned the right to a TJ’s within a few block-radius of my place of residence.” Admitting that she’s been living off dry pasta for days, Lullers refused to entertain other grocery store options. “I’ve settled for the ordinary for far too long. I’m tired of compromising!”

Waving off claims that other grocery chains offered good deals and a comforting ambiance, Lullers emailed her landlord about backing out of her just-signed lease and opened Zillow. “Maybe I’ll move to River North. That wouldn’t be that bad, right?” After researching movers and texting her ex-boyfriend about borrowing his car again, she huddled with her laptop, updating dream grocery lists in her five-year plan. “Listen, I know there are other places to go,” Lullers whispered, plucking out her eyelashes with the clinical inattention of a veterinary assistant. “But they just aren’t Trader Joe’s.”