Why Do They Ring the Bell at Trader Joe’s?

Are you hoping to understand the charming, mystifying bell tolls that make up Trader Joe’s morse code?

Essentially, one bell lets cashiers know another register should be opened, and two bells mean a customer has a question at the checkout. Three bells signal that a manager is required.

What Does It Mean When Trader Joe’s Ring the Bell?

The sound of a Trader Joe’s bell means that additional help is needed at the checkout area. On particularly busy days, you might even hear four ringing bells. This is the signal for all hands on deck, and all available Trader Joe’s cashiers should head to the registers straightaway!

Aranami via Flickr

If you hear the sound of four bells, you’ll probably want to finish your shopping and head to the registers ASAP because it’s about to get very busy! Although this isn’t officially part of the Trader Joe’s morse code, it’s worth listening out for on your next trip to the supermarket.

Why Do They Ring the Bell at Trader Joe’s?

The mysterious Trader Joe’s bells are used as part of Trader Joe’s internal communications.

The blustery PA systems commonly used in other stores didn’t feel right with the friendly neighborhood feel of the supermarket, so the simple system of using large gold bells was implemented instead! The bells themselves don’t have a significant meaning; Trader Joe’s just does things differently!

The simple yet efficient system lets staff know when they are needed and adds to the quaint and charming atmosphere of the store – they do things differently in this supermarket!

Who Rings the Bell at Trader Joe’s Stores?

The nautical ship bells are rung by cashiers who need extra help, either from fellow cashiers or a manager. Regular Trader Joe’s shoppers will be familiar with the sound of ringing bells, particularly on a busy day!

Where Did the Bell Ringing Tradition at Trader Joe’s Originate From?

It’s thought that the tradition began in the mid-1970s when an employee used a decorative nautical bell to catch their colleague’s attention.

The large brass bells are similar to those used by maritime traders and are the perfect way to call over a manager or a cashier. We’ve all been in big-box stores when an announcement has come over the PA system – it’s almost impossible to decipher what they are saying. With a simple system of three short bells, the manager on duty knows they are required straightaway!

The next time you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s, you’ll know what the ringing of the golden bells means and why the Trader Joe’s employees go running when they hear the bells sound!

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