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trader joe s

A Trader Joe's location in Stamford, CT.

People love Trader Joe’s because it feels like a local corner grocery store with a big personality. It has cleverly named, one-of-a-kind items, fresh produce, a great selection of beer and wine and it’s all relatively affordable (2-Buck Chuck, anybody?).

Plus, they treat their employees well by paying a decent wage and providing great perks like generous retirement plans, paid time off and a chance to be promoted within the company. So, when people hear that Trader Joe’s is coming to their neighborhood, it’s usually cause for celebration.

Some clever teens in Pasadena, Maryland, knew their community was dying to have a Trader Joe’s, so they pulled the ultimate senior prank: tricking them into believing one was coming to their neighborhood in 2025.


The folks in Pasadena had reason to be excited about a Trader Joe’s in the neighborhood because the closest is in Annapolis, a 30-minute drive away.

Northeastern High School seniors showed their ingenuity by erecting a large sign near a closed Mars grocery store. The sign boldly proclaimed, "Coming Soon: Trader Joe’s," with a spring 2025 opening date and a QR code for more information.

The prank’s punchline was when people scanned the QR code, they got Rickrolled or linked to a YouTube video of Rick Astley singing his 1987 hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The prank fooled Marlena Calobong, who posted about it on Facebook. “The whole town was abuzz yesterday morning, thinking we were getting a Trader Joe's! AND again this morning to find out it was just a prank,” she captioned a photo of the sign the seniors made.

“We were extremely excited to see a sign pop up that we were getting another Trader Joe’s close to home,” Calobong told Today.com. “We were sad to find out the next day it was a prank. Definitely tricked us all.”

Another local, Alyssa Smith, shared the prank on TikTok, and she was blown away by the fact that the Gen Z kids who pulled it off knew about Rick Astley or a Rickroll. “These kids had to have had help from older millennials or Gen Xers because how do they even know what a Rickroll is?” she laughed. “I mean, come on. Too funny.”

@mrsalyssasmith

Epic senior prank Maryland fam. #annearundelcounty #marylandtiktok #marylandgang #pasadena #seniorprank #traderjoes #thingstodoinmaryland

The prank has inspired another group of seniors to follow suit. A few weeks after the Pasadena incident, a “Trader Joe’s Coming Soon" sign was found outside an empty Lidl. The QR code on the banner linked to a page that read “Just Kidding #SENIORPRANK. Trader Joe’s NOT coming soon but maybe one day ;)” with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” playing in the background.

Senior Prank about new TJ's location
byu/Fancy-Asparagus9210 intraderjoes

Unfortunately, the fine folks of Pasadena, Maryland, aren’t getting a Trader Joe’s grocery store anytime soon. But they should take solace in knowing that the prank went viral, and the folks at Trader Joe’s know that they would love to have a location where the old Mars grocery store used to operate.

The seniors of Northeastern High School should also be proud that they pulled off a prank that was so good it got national news attention. That’s a high bar for the Class of 2025 to beat.