Trader Joe’s has been hiding stuffed animals in store aisles for years — here’s why

A public relations director for Trader Joe’s confirmed that the store is hiding a sweet secret – one that kids will surely go crazy over!

We have walked the aisles of Trader Joe’s countless of times to do our grocery shopping, but little did we know that somewhere in the store lies a surprise that comes with a reward when discovered.


According to an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit discovered by The Kitchn, a person who claimed to be a Trader Joe’s manager revealed the store’s cute little secret. In most of their locations, employees hide a stuffed animal somewhere in the store. And if a child happens to find it, they will get a prize!

Not every single Trader Joe’s participates in the low-key game of hide-and-seek. But the store’s public relations director, Kendra Friend-Daniel, told the outlet that in general, most of their stores have a stuffed toy lying around.


“It’s a way to engage with kids in our store,” she explained. “If they locate the hidden stuffed toy, they just let a Crew Member know and they’ll receive a treat.”

This is a brilliant step and parents would agree for sure. We all know how difficult it is to keep a child behaved anywhere, especially during grocery shopping – an “adult” activity that kids don’t generally enjoy. But if you tell them about this mini scavenger hunt, it might help them feel ecstatic about going to the grocery – if you’re lucky, they might even be in their best behavior because their focus is concentrated on finding the hidden treasure.


It hasn’t been confirmed when this family-friendly game started, but social media posts about children enjoying their prizes go as far back as 2014.

The type of stuffed toy may vary from store to store; it could be penguins, lobsters, whales, or monkeys. The treats are different, too.  If you’d like clues on where to find these hidden toys, you can rely on social media for reference.


“The Trader Joe’s where I lived it hid a whale stuffed animal named Willy and kids won lollipops,” wrote one Twitter user. The other added that their local Trader Joe’s had a toy squirrel, which was always “in 1 of 3 spots.”

Another photo evidence from a shopper named Khoa Phan showed a stuffed monkey hidden on a shelf and a cuddly lobster placed between bags of potato chips. With these clues scattered all over the internet, employees at Trader Joe’s surely need to up their stuffed-animal-hiding game!

Have you ever found a hidden stuffed toy inside a Trader Joe’s?