Trader Joe’s $3 Mini Tote Bags Spark Lucrative Online Resale Market

Estimated read time 3 min read

Trader Joe’s mini tote bags have only been on sale for a couple of weeks — and they’ve already sparked a lucrative online resale market.

The limited-edition bags — a smaller $2.99 version of Trader Joe’s reusable tote bags, available in red, yellow, blue, and green — went viral on social media, with shoppers rushing to their local stores to get their hands on them.

TikTok videos show proud owners of the bags displaying what they keep in them, embroidering them with floral designs, and holding them up against their full-size counterparts. Many of the people posting videos have bought the bags in all four colors.

But shoppers are saying that they’ve struggled to find the bags in stock, with some stores quickly selling out because of the online hype. Videos show huge crowds forming in stores around displays of the bags.

Instead, some shoppers are turning to eBay.

Hundreds of people have already bought the mini tote bags from the online marketplace.

Prices vary massively by seller, but one who has sold more than 100 is pricing them at $12.99 each. The seller is limiting the sales to four bags per order, including only one green bag, because they’re “running low in stock.” Another account is selling a four-bag set — one in each color — for $47.90 and has already sold 60 sets.

Some sellers have listed the bags at much higher price points, but it is unclear if these have actually sold.

It’s like Stanley cups all over again

Trader Joe’s says that the mini tote is made of the same cotton and polyester mix as the classic totes, but measures 13 inches long, 11 inches tall, and six inches wide. It has a small pocket on each side, decorated with the grocery-store chain’s logo, and straps to carry it on your shoulder.

“The size is ideal for smaller shopping trips, to pick up those few items you forgot the first time around,” Trader Joe’s says in the product description. “It’ll fit a dozen of your favorite TJ’s apples, or you can fill your Mini Tote with TJ’s snacks & sweets to keep you munching on your next road trip. You can even stash a small paperback in the handy side-pocket.”

TikTok users have been posting videos of their totes in the “what’s in my bag?” format, with some saying they used them to carry laptops, books, and water bottles.

It’s unclear when exactly Trader Joe’s started selling the bag, but it first featured on the Instagram account @traderjoeslist — which is not affiliated with the company — on February 27. It also featured in a number of TikTok videos that day, including one posted by a worker stocking the bags in their store and some uploaded by shoppers sharing their excitement about their purchase.

The hype around the bag has been compared to Stanley’s Quencher tumblers, which last year became a must-have for Gen Alphas and millennials alike. Limited edition drops of the cups quickly sold out online and in stores, leading to huge lines forming outside Target stores and some locations imposing limits on how many tumblers each shopper could buy.

“Did I need this? No. Am I gonna use this often? Probably not,” one TikToker said in a video of her mini tote. “But it’s so fucking cute I had to have it.”

Have you bought a mini tote bag from Trader Joe’s? Or did you struggle to find one in stock? Email this reporter at