Why Are There Stuffed Animals Hidden Around Trader Joe's Stores?

CNBC describes Trader Joe's shoppers as fanatics, and even podcasts have set out to understand "Why are people obsessed with Trader Joe's?". It's true; Trader Joe's customers have been inspired to open Instagram accounts in order to proclaim their love for not only the supermarket's products but also the overall shopping experience.

From decent wines sold at affordable prices to free snack samples and in-store cooking demonstrations, Trader Joe's knows how to win customers' hearts. And it's not just adults who have become part of Trader Joe's fan club.

Donkeys, whales, monkeys, and lobsters are just some of the stuffed animals placed throughout stores as a way to keep children and parents entertained while shopping, confirms Today. A Trader Joe's spokesperson confirmed that this furry tradition has been going on for years — and there are even tweets to back that up (UberFacts has confirmed the playful shopping game). The initiative is just one way Trader Joe's has set out to establish a name in a crowded industry.

Fun business is good business

Children (sorry, adults!) who find the fluffy animals hidden in store aisles are rewarded with prizes handed out by store personnel. While the actual stuffed animals and prizes can vary from store to store, the stores that have elected to participate in the game have accumulated fans.

"Trader Joe's has built its entire brand on the premise that we're going to make shopping fun," marketing executive Mark Gardiner told CNBC. Through charming product names, handwritten signs, and seasonal products, the store keeps customers coming back for more. But really, it's smart business: happy customers mean solid sales numbers. According to Zippia, Trader Joe's brings in $13.3 billion dollars in annual revenue. And as reported by CNBC, "Not only is the thrill of discovery psychologically appealing, but scarcity creates FOMO and therefore impulse shopping."

The next time you visit a store and begin searching for stuffed animals, you may want to keep a list of the items you really need to buy.