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The Viral $2.99 Trader Joe’s Mini Tote Bag Costs as Much as $500 on eBay

Move over, Stanley bottles. It's Trader Joe's tote bag madness era.

<p>Trader Joe

Trader Joe's

Move over, Stanley tumblers. There’s a hot new viral commodity that people are desperate to get their hands on: the limited-edition Trader Joe’s mini tote bag, which the budget supermarket chain is selling for just $2.99.

In the past several days, following a February 27 post by TJ's influencer Natasha Fischer who goes by @traderjoeslist, social media platforms from TikTok to Instagram to X have been awash with videos and images of frenzied fans rushing (and oftentimes failing) to grab a tote — or 10. 

But what’s so special about the mini tote? Good question. The bags, which are available in four colors (red, yellow, blue, and green), are made of the same heavy-duty material as Trader Joe’s regular-sized totes. That means they're made of 65% cotton and 35% polyester and come with a generous handle drop. It’s just a wee bit smaller, measuring 11 inches tall by six inches wide.

“The size is ideal for smaller shopping trips, to pick up those few items you forgot the first time around,” the chain’s site explains. “It’ll fit a dozen of your favorite TJ’s apples, or you can fill your mini tote with TJ’s snack and sweets to keep you munching on your next road trip. You can even stash a small paperback in the handy side-pocket, along with a Ciabatta Demi-Baguette, Organic String Cheese, and Citterio Salami Sticks for a relaxing spring afternoon in the park.”

But naturally, Trader Joe’s fans from all over the country have found many ways to use the bag outside of grocery shopping. A nursing school student who goes by the handle @shelalexis on TikTok proudly displayed her pin-embellished mini tote — complete with a TJ’s crew member name tag. Meanwhile, TikToker @abiiganesan put her crafting skills on full display when she redid her mini tote’s embroidery to read “Trader Hoe’s” instead of “Trader Joe’s,” earning her more than 270,000 likes and 1,335 comments. “When you gotta fix the Trader Joe’s mini canvas tote bags,” she wrote in the caption.

Even Little, Brown and Company, the esteemed book publisher, posted a video tutorial on how to properly pack the mini tote with paperbacks and hardcovers. “We did the the hard work, the testing, the research: Here is your guide to packing books in your mini @TraderJoe's tote,” the caption noted.

Of course, not everyone is a fan. Some people online are decrying that, “First we have moms in Target fighting over Stanley water bottles,” said a TikToker who goes by @pyoneaye. “And now we have grocery shoppers fighting over the Trader Joe’s mini tote bag.”

And she may just have a point about consumerism.

A quick search for the bags on eBay displays astonishing results, with one seller offering all four colors for the outrageously marked-up sum of $500.99. (And if the vendor is to be believed, 62 sets have already been sold; only three are available as of this writing.)

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