Mar 13, 2024 - Business

Trader Joe's mini tote bags are the latest viral product

Store display with Mini Canvas Tote bags for $2.99

Trader Joe's mini canvas tote bags are selling for inflated prices on third-party marketplaces. Photo: Courtesy of Stacey Tyko

Move over, Stanley cups. Trader Joe's mini tote bags are the latest product to go viral and end up on the resale market for hugely marked-up prices.

The big picture: Trader Joe's confirmed to Axios on Wednesday that the $2.99 mini canvas bags "sold more quickly than we anticipated" and before the retailer promoted them.

Driving the news: The small bags, which came in four colors, have been selling on eBay and other third-party marketplaces for inflated prices.

  • Social media posts show the frenzy the bags caused with crowds of shoppers waiting at stores for the bags.
  • Prices on eBay were dramatic with a single bag listed for between $18 and $500 and "buy it now" listings for a full set of the bags for $128.99 with free shipping.

Yes, but: Trader Joe's spokesperson Nakia Rohde told Axios the company does "not endorse the re-sale of any of our products, anywhere."

  • "Our customers, in our stores, are our focus," Rohde said.

What they're saying: The bags were the topic of Trader Joe's new podcast episode Wednesday.

  • "We thought we bought enough of these mini canvas totes to last for several weeks, maybe a whole month," podcast host Matt Sloan said. "We had no inkling that they would be this exciting, this quickly, for so many customers."
  • "We had actually hundreds of thousands of bags come in and go out within a week," Sloan said.

What's next: More mini tote bags are coming and expected in late summer or September, Sloan said on the episode.

  • "They are coming back, and it was kind of a one-off in that we thought they'd be limited, and we don't want to totally limit this," Sloan said, noting they're working on having them in the same colors.

Zoom in: Exclusive and hard-to-find items sell big on online marketplaces, whether it's McDonald's Happy Meal toys, Girl Scout cookies, Stanley cups or just about anything with limited supplies.

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