Trader Joe’s mini cooler bags sell out fast, just like its mini totes

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Video shows Trader Joe’s shoppers lining up in N.J. for mini cooler bags

Video shows Trader Joe’s shoppers lining up in N.J. for mini cooler bags 00:38

Customers like Trader Joe’s mini accessories so much that they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for bags that retail for just a few bucks.

The grocery chain is now selling mini insulated tote bags in stores for $3.99 each after it quickly sold out of $2.99 mini canvas tote bags that proved so popular that they were selling on resale sites for up to 200 times their retail price.

The mini bags have become a mega trend, with the insulated versions listed for sale on resale sites like Ebay for up to $50 each. The bags come in two colors — “hot magenta” and “cool teal.” Consumers are scouring resale sites just days after the bags were released and given that they are already sold out at some grocery stores, according to posts on social media.

Trader Joe’s touts the mini bags as “Great for lunches, travel & outdoor activities.” They hold up to 1.5 gallons of food and drink. It’s unclear why the items, which resemble traditional kids’ lunch bags with soft exteriors, are so popular.

Is this tote bag the new Stanley mug? 01:45

Instagram account @trader_joes_treasure_hunt, described as a fan page that shares new finds from the grocer with its followers, first shared an image of the mini cooler bags five days ago, when the account holder spotted them in a store. 

“They should be out by Tuesday the 4th! Who’s excited and making an extra pit stop to pick them up,” the post read. More than 6,000 Instagram users liked the post on social media. Other users who’d snapped up the bags indicated that shoppers are limited to buying two per customer. 

A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told CBS MoneyWatch the company expects to have more cooler bags in stock “later this summer,” and that purchase limits are set by individual stores. 

Megan Cerullo

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News 24/7 to discuss her reporting.

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