I had actually forgotten how on-topic this video was.
As mentioned before, there's a thread coming up on hunger in this country prompted by yet another journalist who would apparently drop dead of malnutrition if she had to live on a budget for an extended period.
A big part of this story is the way different classes perceive budgets and shopping and the way most journalists have internalized upper and upper-middle class perceptions. It's telling that when a journalist had to find the cheapest place to buy food, she thought of Trader Joe's rather than a warehouse grocery like Food-4-Less or Aldi (which actually owns Trader Joe's but it's a very different brand).
Don't get me wrong. I shop at Trader Joe's all the time -- It's convenient, it's reasonable and the store brands are excellent.-- but if I were trying to feed myself on less than thirty dollars a week, I would shop there less.
A big part of the secret to the chain's success lies in its ability to offer pretty good bargains while maintaining its foodie street cred. The stores tend to cater to upscale, urban singles and couples whose cooking often consists of throwing frozen dinners in a microwave. Trader Joe's has discovered that, if you make these dinners seem a bit fancier or more exotic, your customers will feel more like urban sophisticates and less like pathetic losers.
That said, I really do like the Lamb Vindaloo.