Hi folks, I’m Joe—welcome to my trading post. Long day out on the wagon trail? Step right up, don’t crowd, I’ve got all the supplies you need right here. Spinach and artichoke dip? Got it. Mango lemonade? Got it! How about some kaleidoscope chard, some imported white stilton with apricots, or some frozen edamame rangoons? I’ve got it all!
Rope? No, I don’t have any rope. No, sorry, no twine either. But while we’re talking about fibrous substances, how about hemp? I’ve got hemp milk, organic hemp milk, even organic hemp protein powder! Available in chocolate or vanilla, our Trader Joe’s Organic Hemp Protein Powder is just the pickup you need to help your body bounce back from a long day clearing land or driving oxen. Fold it into sumptuous steel-cut oatmeal, or blend it with low-fat almond milk for a meal-on-the-go when your busy schedule doesn’t permit you to slaughter a steer or hunt bison. We’re selling each 16-ounce tub for the low price of three beaver pelts, every day.
How about you, ma’am? Lanterns? No, sorry. Just to be clear, this is kind of more of a “specialty” trading post—a little less on the quotidian frontier staples and a little more on the whimsical culinary esoterica. For example, have you tried my new chicken parmesan lollipops, available in our frozen aisle? We’ve taken tender white meat chicken pieces and breaded them in a panko crust replete with creamy mozzarella, zesty tomato puree, and fresh-grated Parmesan, then impaled them on easy-to-handle wooden sticks. Free of trans fats and MSG, these flavorful little morsels may compel you to rethink your otherwise reasonable opposition to the scourge of recent Italian immigration. Each eight-ounce box of Trader Joe’s Chicken Parmesan Lollipops is available for the low price of four buffalo hides, every day. They’re actually today’s sample—please, go ahead, take one. (Just FYI, while there’s no official rule against taking more than one, I’ll notice and secretly hate you.)
Pardon me? No, sir, no hatchets. Nope, no pickaxes either. OK, listen, people, this isn’t really that kind of place. It’s always the same complaint: "Joe, you don’t have any of the essential items that every other trading post has. Why don’t you have saddles? Or gunpowder? Or basic tools?” Because I have soy chorizo, that’s why! Because I have chocolate-covered peanut-butter-filled pretzels! Because I have parsnip chips! Try to find parsnip chips at any other trading post! Just try! You homesteaders are so predictable—you’re either bothering me about kettles and buckets or you’re griping about the number of hitching posts out front. Well, sorry that you had to circle a few times, but it’s not my fault that some guy with a Clydesdale is taking up two of them, OK? Maybe you could do your part for the environment and take a stagecoach every once in a while. All you people ever do is whine.
Speaking of wine, have you tried my new Charles Shaw Zinfandel? Hailing from the sunny western territories recently acquired from Mexico, this rich, unctuous red bursts forth with flavors of dried plum and blackberry, as well as the beguiling yet eminently familiar aromas of quill ink and strop leather. We’re selling each bottle of 1876 Charles Shaw Zinfandel for just two bucks, every day. (Eight-point bucks or higher, please.)
Coal oil? No! Are you kidding? I don’t even know what “coal oil” is. I’ve got coconut oil, rice bran oil, Greek kalamata olive oil, wild salmon oil in convenient pill form. I’ve got every type of oil that an urban, college-educated, middle-income frontiersman could possibly require in his kitchen. Do I look like the kind of trader who has coal oil? I’m fun! I’m laid-back! I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt, for chrissakes! Have you even heard of Hawaii? No! No one has!
Look at this over here: “organic animal crackers.” OK? That’s my wheelhouse. It’s animal crackers, so it makes you feel playful and unencumbered by the grim realities of adulthood, but it’s also organic, which allows you some vague sense of being part of a nominally progressive shopping experience, some comforting notion that everybody else in the place probably also voted for Rutherford Hayes. That’s my Venn diagram, got it? Where does coal oil fit into that? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t. (Pardon me? "Venn diagram.” John Venn. He’s an English logician who recently… oh, never mind, what’s the point.)
OK, so that’ll be two bags of dark chocolate almond bark thins, four nectarines in a plastic clamshell container, one roasted butternut squash red quinoa and wheatberry salad, two hummus quartets, and a frozen bibimbap bowl. Thank you for bringing your own burlap sack.