Join John Adams, world renowned Intl Matchmaker, Monday nights 8:30 EST for Live Webcasts!
And check out Five Reasons why you should attend a FREE AFA Seminar! See locations and dates here.

View Active Topics       View Your Posts       Latest 100 Topics       FAQ Topics       Mobile Friendly Theme

A tale of two trader joe's (discussion thread repost)

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to North America. For those looking to relocate within the US or Canada, discuss your experiences and pros/cons of each domestic region.

Moderators: fschmidt, jamesbond

Post Reply
Elite Upper Class Poster
Posts: 4875
Joined: September 1st, 2007, 5:44 am
Location: Orange County, California

A tale of two trader joe's (discussion thread repost)

Post by momopi » October 18th, 2010, 11:08 pm ... 112&t=1720

In my ongoing efforts in trying to define, quantify and articulate what a great neighborhood is; I have recently tested a few hypotheses from my last posts.


One of my key points there was this notion of having a diversity of people of all ages within a certain neighborhood. For this example forget Long Beach, and I’ll use something more relevant to Irvine.

The wife and I have been hanging out at Walnut Village Center and across the street at Heritage Plaza a lot recently. When shopping, working out, running errands, coffee we would actually go out of our way and make the extra effort to drive 10 minutes more; versus shopping at Woodbury Town Center.

The difference even just within 10 minutes from each other in Irvine is dramatic; and this is what I was trying to allude to about the feel of Long Beach.

At every other Trader Joes, Long Beach, Torrance, UTC the workers just seem to be nicer and friendlier. Now TJs workers are already known to be customer friendly, but really walk into the TJs at Woodbury and go to the one on Walnut right afterwards; and you’ll know what I mean. For time sakes here I’ll just summarize:

1) You’ll see a lot of Irvine Old-Timers residences; if you ask them they’ll tell you they have been living in Irvine for 30+ years.
2) You can see a lot of them socializing and catching up around the plaza; shopping together, having coffee; and this is important – doing it leisurely. Sure most of them during the day look like they are retire but that is the point.
3) You can easily go up to any and start a conversation; and I’ll almost get a few every time that someone will stop and ask about the kid.
4) The sample booth at the Walnut TJs looks something like a impromptu social gathering; if you want feel like going to a party anytime just visit that TJs.

Contrast to the Woodbury TJs

1) You’ll see mainly young families and single professionals. Who have recently moved here or don’t live in the neighborhood (Lakeforest, for just work in Irvine).
2) Not much socializing; everyone keeps to themselves and not much eye contact. Everyone is in a rush to get in and out; get what they need and leave.
3) I feel awkward every time try to start a conversation with anyone there; the atmosphere is not a communal shopping experience.
4) The sample booth is one of the stingiest TJs ever. They stop serving coffee after 10, and they look at you funny if you take a sample. Once you do, you better walk away fast.

I think here are a few things going on here; again sorry about the list format:

Older Neighborhoods
1) Usually have people who are in their second half of life where they are “giving� away dispensing time, energy, wisdom and resources versus accumulating it during their younger years.
2) They usually know what is more important in life; taking the time for each other and relationships.
3) They are usually in a financially stable position to leisure and not worry about paying the mortgage, bills, going back to work or closing the next job.
4) They have grown children so their time and energy is freed up for other people around time.

A thriving neighborhood needs a diverse population of mixed ages. That was my whole point about Woodbury where most people here are young families or singles that are:

1) Completely “selfish� in focusing on simply surviving and raising a family.
2) Are in the fierce driven stage of life where you just might have to step on your neighbor to get ahead.
3) Sacrifice relationships with family and friends just to get ahead.
4) Time, energy and focus is simply just to stay afloat financially.

The next you’re getting off Culver on the 5; duck inside TJs in Walnut Village; and say hello to Ann. She is the lady serving samples there. Watch the gracefulness of her demeanor and feel the pace of her words. You’ll almost feel yourself calming down and unwinding your spirit. Feel and look around how people are actually smiling and seeing each other. Feel the warmth and presence of those around you that is not felt in younger neighborhoods.
Poor... Ugly... Happy ~Brad


RC's observation is an valid one as to related to people's age and their behavioral responses in two different Irvine TJs. His explanation and assumption may have some validity that explained the friendliness of the older folks at the Culver TJ and not the younger folks at the Sand Canyon TJ.

Parents raised their children to be cautious and never talk to strangers. Parents taught them the strangers were bad guys to kidnap them, molest them or harm them. These children are now 30 something adults with safety paranoia thus they must live in the safest city in the nation at any cost in order to function as adults. They possess an obsessive behavior to over protecting their own children regardless of any age.

Children must not walk to school, Just study all the elementary, middle and high schools morning traffic congestions caused by parents dropping off kids at the schools front gate. The school traffic in the morning and afternoon is a traffic engineering nightmare that the city can't resolve. The only thing the frustrated homeowners living nearby can do is to request traffic cops to enforce traffic laws to preventing illegal dangerous turns and stops that cause accidents. Outrageous examples are parents living in Northpark Square driving their kids across the street to Beckman rather than letting them walk. It should not take 20 minutes being trapped in school parking lot and backed up traffic in a middle school but that is the reality for many schools. Consumers could never buy a home in Irvine with a detached garage in fear of crime really?

The 30 something crowd RC observed is less likely to socialize with strangers because of the ways they were raised. They would prefer to make cyber friends on blog chat in the safety of their nest than to taking risk to form real face to face friendship..
John Hare/ OCRegister: No foul play is suspected


Environmental psychology is a rare field but also is a big business for those with credential and having the gift of sensitive observation.


One of the most difficult to avoid pitfalls for cultural anthropologists and ethnographers, even the most highly credentialed ones, is that of the researcher projecting his own values and desires on the subject. Margaret Mead, probably the most highly credentilaed cultural anthropologist of all time next to Franz Boas founder of the discipline, authored a landmark study of sexuality in Samoa in the 1920s, which was a major catalyst of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Unfortunately, Mead's observation about the Samoans were proven to be largely inaccurate by later researchers. Mead wanted to find that Samoans were sexually liberated because she wanted to use them as an example of the direction the conservative Western society of the time should change, so she apparently subconsciously failed to observe the many Samoans who were sexually conservative as such observation did not comport with her own pre-conceived idealistic notions of the Samons.


Did you meet Ann at WVC TJ's? Has anyone seen her this week? She just gave the wife and I a huge hug yesterday! Who does that these days? Yes, Pat, I understand that there are different places for different conversations... I guess I never really define what are meaninful relationships...

Let's look at Smallery's 6-Levels Again:

1. Cliches (good morning; how are you)

2. Facts (looks like it's going to rain)

3. Opinions- this is the level where most relationships stay; when we find people we disagree with, we often don't build a deeper relationship with them; when we find people we do agree with on many levels, we will often seek to deepen that relationship.

4. Feelings- once two people have worked through their opinions (similarities and differences), they are free to express how they "feel" about certain issues or aspects of life.

5. Needs- only when someone is completely comfortable with another person will they share their vulnerability and express their needs to that person; only after they know that person cares about them.

6. Beliefs- these are the deeply held principles that are the basis for the opinions you have, how you feel about issues and the needs you have in your life.

Yes, I expect to just interact with simple Cliches, Facts & Opinions throughout the day; there are levels of “Safety� when sharing Feelings, Needs & Beliefs. I don’t just do that anywhere. I and the person I’m communicating with have to have the right context. BUT that doesn’t mean that we have not had deep conversations with almost complete strangers at the TJs before.

Most people out there don’t chat on message boards; most people still prefer to communicate face to face the various topics we talk about here. Restaurant reviews, RE, the economy, books and politics. The wife and I share about our struggles as parents to TJ strangers; we share our day to day events and even bring up some major decisions. People mainly just listen and will emphasize; most don’t offer advice, and that is often fine with us.

I had a lengthy discussion with an older gentlemen reading in Starbucks about Brown vs Whitman; I was just talking yesterday to a guy about his Dell Netbook; and the compressions out there… These are all relationships that the RC family needs to feel connected to a community around us. Yes along with long time friends and families members that we share other deeper levels of communications with.


RC you should move to Floral Park. Residents rarely moved. Many folks lived here all their life. On my street alone I am the newest resident in 15 years. On the average residents lived here for 40 years. Despite of SA crime and bad schools residents here love and are loyal to the neighborhood because of a special kind of RC relationship here. There is an excellent diversity of age range from 1-100 in the neighborhood. It is totally worth it to leave Irvine for this type of life Irvinites could only fantasize and leave your pants behind.

When you live in a place it is about raising a family and create memories. Your home is a place where you can chalk your child's height on the wall and it will still be there when your child comes home with his or her spouse with your grand children. You can throw a Father of the Bride reception in the backyard or park 10 cars on the driveway. You don't need to drape your windows or move every 5 years. No HOA or melloroos forever and save that money for your kids education. You can have a place where your child can slide down the banister or actually set a sleep over tent or a hammock between 2 giant trees in your backyard among the crickets and other critters. Where you currently live the hammock can only go between 2 houses over the zero lot line or between the parkway trees or 30 years from now the trees in the pocket parks. or anchor between a doggie poop bag post and a no parking sign post.

You child can learn to ride a bike on your long driveway. Most importantly the neighbors close to your house will want to hear about your stories and share their with you. There are a dozen of clubs in FP that you can further your interest and ones that will never exist in Irvine like Gardening club or historic home tour.

You can contact the new area secret agent 007wildcard to help you look for a home.

30 years from now you will have the family experience and friendship memories that is priceless while your Irvine TJ mutes will have nothing to remember by except the API score was 910 in the year 2024 and crime rate was .07% in 2021, the HOA made them park their cars in the garage, their kids asking for a handout to buy in a luxury home community in Bowerman Hills.


BK... yes, yes & yes!!! Thank you so much for that post...! It is posts like that, that brings a tear to my eyes. Am I crazy or doesn't EVERYBODY want the vision your wrote?

I was being a little conservative; with wanting to live in our home for the next 20-25 years; if we end up with a multi-family in the Heights with a 10-13 GRM; then yes; but if we are able to buy something in the Park then I can see myself living there forever...

Can anybody in Woodbury who buy the HK Collection say; they'll be there until they grow old and retire? I don't think so... please prove me wrong...

I really don't have to write anymore after BK's post... although I already have some outlines of my next threads that I'm currently researching... some that include:

Asian Helicopter Parents & Their Boundaries-less Children
The True Spiritual Condition of Irvine & Why most people choose Enclaves to hide in
Things are drastically opposite of what they appear to be in Irvine
How the Irvine Facade is a false illusion for true safety, protection and comfort
How the Irvine Facade is a reflection of the true state of your complacent soul

If any of you want me to write these thread please encourage me as these research take a lot of time... shoot a reply...

BK, if you don't mind, I'm going to cut & paste your post over at TI...


I won't pass on your mental state, but can I vote "Neither?"

Not everyone is an (extreme?) extrovert who gains energy from interacting with other people. And the people who don't want that are not bad people or people who lack meaningful relationships. I'm sure your writing here lacks the nuances you express IRL, but sometimes I wonder if you don't think that people who don't want what you want are messed up, rather than just different.


Although I am not religious like RC. I tried to imagine myself in his environment and upbringing influence.

RC growing up in South Bay Chinese are not envious of each other like we see today in newer communities. They helped out each other and wish each others success. The Chinese religious communities there were extremely social and outgoing. The church was like home were both were seamlessly connected. Revival meetings and fellowships encourage members to open up to each other. Friends and brethren care for each other as they were family. That kind of kinship inspired RC to attend a religious college to explore his outgoing personality and how God would utilize his skill. Chinese communities during the this era resembled the "Tong" organizations popular from 1870s-1950s.

He is a kind person and very trusting of people. Irvine may be appropriate for most but not for RC's personality. Finding another community today that is similar the the South Bay would be difficult. South Bay has a unique culture. Regardless of different ethnicities most who grew up there tend to take root around the surrounding cities or eventually return to their root. This is especially true for San Pedro and PV. The sense of community pride and identity were so strong that kindred and camaraderie bond friendship forever.

His personality is a rare find today. Those who becomes his future neighbors would be lucky. he is looking for the right neighborhood to invest his money and soul.


When living in a fish bowl one can't see the water is grey only when looking in from the outside one can the the color of the foul water.

How can you convince to a chain smoker that nicotine is bad for their lung, a drunk that excessive liquor is bad for the liver or an atheist about God's love that Jesus died on the cross for all of us ?

I think you would be faced with the challenge to convince a 200,000 member strong well organized and orchestrated group with similar facets like a cult that their religion is riddled with flaws.


Actually, I wasn't referring to myself so much as many of your posts come across to me as "I like X. And X is how things should be, and if you don't want that too, you are {ignorant / messed up / etc.}." While I can appreciate your personal quest for figuring out what you want and your excitement at beginning to lay your finger on it, your seeming lack of appreciation (respect?) for personal differences really rubs me the wrong way. It's not so much the content, but how you have chosen to present it. Like I said, it may be that IRL you come off differently or are different than how you present yourself here.

Anyway, I know this is probably coming out of the blue for you, but it's something I've been contemplating saying for awhile now.

If somebody wants to live in Irvine, good for them. I know people that have lived there for 20 or more years and have enjoyed every minute of it, including the relationships they have with their neighbors. It meets some need they have. Their needs may not be your needs, such that Irvine could be a perfectly fulfilling place for them, even if it is not for you. From what you've said, I'm not sure you recognize that.


Residents' needs and priorities are different when they choose a community to be their home. RC's priorities are different from others. He was attracted to Irvine because the ads promote an attractive imagery that he believes will fulfill his needs. Over the course of several years he learns the power of illusive marketing does not match the reality.

For the rest of us spouse and children fulfill our emotional needs. I think what he is trying to articulate does not come across to the readers is genuine friendship and not deep emotional neighborly dependence.

3's company interaction between neighbors is fantastic and often found in the smaller villages of Taiwan. In America privacy and personal space are sacred.

His search for a home will be very difficult because a package deal of a charming home, genuine neighbors and few turnovers is rare.


Yes I don’t have any illusions about finding genuine community; it will take enormous amounts of patience, hard work, time and vulnerability it will always be intentional and a struggle wherever we live. And just like finding the mate to marry and staying married; where it will always take hard work; the difference is; will that marriage be a winning battle or a loosing battle.

The RC family would just like the best chances of continuing the relationships we have and cultivating new ones. Bk, I do have to respectfully disagree that community is not as hard or rare as most of you think. It can be possible, it is again a matter of choice; but yes, there are certain neighborhoods like parts of Irvine that really compound the problem. Eva, yes the 20+ residence of Irvine you know are some of the same people we have been meeting at Walnut Village; but sadly not in Woodbury.

Alright, if I may just share another story here of one of our typical Sunday afternoons yesterday; after Church in the morning, a nap for the kid and lunch we decided to just drop by our friend’s house in Tustin. Let’s call the couple Tom & Chris. They are both 60 something and they have been living on Cedar Lane off of Cherrywood and Walnut for more than 25 years. Cherrywood looks like the typical attach town-home products you see in Woodbridge; the alley/motor-court even reminds me of something out of Montecito or Coronado; but the people living there can’t be any different.

The wife & I meet Tom & Chris about 6 year ago; Tom came to our men’s support group at Church one night because Chris has just discovered various extramarital affairs, pornographic material on his computer, covert financial dealings and years and years of lies built upon lies; they were on the brink of divorce. The wife and I; along with a larger group of men and women, along with a whole host of inner and outer social support circles have watched Tom & Chris claw their way back from the abyss; build their marriage back brick by brick and now live a inspiring life of truth, health and wellbeing.

We usually try to catch up with them once a quarter; and they are people we can call to come over as we are driving on the 5. Yes there are times when they are not home and there are times when they are busy; but that is the kind of open door policy that we have. Our relationship has only gotten richer and deeper with the kid; Tom & Chris, have 13 grandchildren so older couples know how to keep a 20-month old busy in their home. We had such a blast, we were welcomed with hugs and kisses and a hot pot of coffee; we chatted and lingered casually; the conversation eventually moved to the kitchen and side yard. I watched as Tom interacted with the kids in the alley. It’s always so cool to listen to stories of neighbors who have 20+ years of history and roots. Tom yells over at a group of kids; one in particular asking him how old he is now. The kid in the alley is now 12; Tom mentions how he remembers watching him and his older brothers run back & forth in the alley; everyone on the street are surrogate parents. Again, the funny thing was that there were no Asian kids running around in the mix; and all the times I’ve been to the house; I have never seen an Asian family there.

Deep level 6 relationships are not easy; they often require and cost EVERYTHING you have. I will delve into the subject later on future threads that deal with the culture of shame, saving face, pride and the hidden ills that plague certain cultures. But if you walk down the path to openness; by choice or not; you have the decision to embrace it or shun it; there you will either find death or life; and not just life but life abundantly.

Again, I’ll unpack all of this later, but instead of filling our schedule with busy activities for the kid; giving him the latest and greatest gadgets and toys; distracting him with endless television, entertainment and shopping; we chose to surround us with people who will give of themselves and who love us deeply. Education will be important; but the best education we can give to our son to surround him with people of good Godly character and integrity.


"Level 6 relationships"

Do you remember the scene in Dead Poets Society where Robin Williams reads the intro to the poetry book containing a mathematic formula for quantifying the quality of a poem, and then proceeds to instruct his students to rip it out of the book? That's how I feel when you talk about "level 6 relationships" and rank the depth of your friendships based on some sort of social Maslow's hierarchy.

Like ocmaestra, I've found the evolution of your posts interesting and I do believe you are a good and sincere person who is earnestly seeking meaningful relationships, but my god, man, you overanalyze this stuff. Don't categorize, rank and calculate you friendships. Don't plot your success on an X and Y axis. Just pick up your child, take his/her hand, walk out into the grass on a warm, sunny day and look into their eyes. There - you are done. Happiness, success, love, relationship, depth, meaning. All you need in life is wrapped in that one little package looking back at you. Everything else is dust. Just enjoy life, RC, it'll be over soon enough.


Elite Upper Class Poster
Posts: 4875
Joined: September 1st, 2007, 5:44 am
Location: Orange County, California

Post by momopi » October 18th, 2010, 11:31 pm

A few notes:

* The original poster is a Taiwanese American, and the comments are written mostly by people who reside in OC, CA.
* The "6 points (levels) of communication" by Dr. Smalley refers to Dr. Gary Smalley, a Baptist family counselor.
* You may have noticed the religious themes in some of the posts, i.e. religious counseling group for sex and porn addiction. If you're interested in more info, see here:

Of course, one man's religion is another's sin, so I'm not going to blacken my pots and kettles here. For those interested in an alternative view on religion and marriage, I recently watched a TLC special series called "Sister Wives". I highly recommend it. If you don't have access to cable, you might be able to get it online or BT it.



Veteran Poster
Posts: 2215
Joined: November 1st, 2010, 4:16 am

Post by NorthAmericanguy » November 7th, 2010, 5:53 am

lol, I LOVE Trader Joes.
And yes, I know of a few white people who don't like all the Asians in Irvine.

The S*** is all so silly. We all need our own planets to get along!!!!

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post

Return to “North America, Domestic Relocation”