These viral $2.99 Trader Joe’s tote bags are being resold for as much as $500 on eBay

A Trader Joe’s canvas mini tote bag that costs about the same as a pack of gum is being resold online for nearly 200 times its retail price.

The Trader Joe’s tote bags, available in blue, red, green and yellow, have taken social media by storm in the past week, garnering more than 11 million views on Tik Tok. Although some stores have reportedly been placing limits on the amount people are able to buy at one time, customers have been flocking to stores across the country and snatching up as many of the $2.99 bags as they can, according to store employees.


Some have been reselling the bags on e-commerce platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. As of Sunday afternoon, hundreds of mini tote bags have been posted on eBay with prices ranging from $5 to $500.

“As a seller, it just came naturally that I thought these would sell,” said one eBay user who is selling four tote bags in all available colors for $145 or best offer. They have already sold eight, and have one left in their store, according to their page. “I believe these were limited production,” the seller added.

According to the page of another seller, who is offering a set of four bags for $499.99 or best offer, one set has been sold and two more remain.

It’s unclear whether these bags have actually been sold at their advertised price point, since eBay users can bid below the starting offer.

One Iowa-based store employee told CNN the bags were only available for a week before they sold out, with the next shipment not expected until September.

Another employee at a New Jersey location said the customer craze started about two weeks ago, and that some holiday-minded shoppers are buying them ahead of time. “Customers love it. They’re buying a lot,” she said. “Easter is coming up and they make great baskets for kids.”

The viral scenes at Trader Joe’s stores are reminiscent of the Stanley cup chaos last year: In December, Target introduced a limited-edition Valentine’s Day collection of Stanley tumblers. Shoppers jumped on the items, in some cases quite literally. The proof was documented in TikTok videos that showed people lining up outside Target stores waiting to rush in to grab the items. Stanley has since reworked its product launches to make them less chaotic.

Trader Joe’s Limits Sales of Viral Item Reselling for Hundreds Online Tote Bags

Several weeks ago, Trader Joe’s began selling miniature versions of its beloved reusable tote bag. In a move predicted by absolutely no one, the bags immediately found a lucrative second life on eBay and other online resellers.

The bags, which come in red, yellow, green, and blue, quickly took off on social media when released late last month. Users showed off the items they like to keep in the petite novelty, sending viewers rushing to the store to snap up their own. While they retail at TJ’s for just $2.99, the mini bags are reselling online for anywhere from $12 to $500, according to Business Insider and The Daily Mail.


Video taken at one Trader Joe’s location shows hungry shoppers lined up to pounce as the new bags are unloaded from the stock room. When they descend on the totes, it resembles something from Night of the Living Dead.

Because of the mini-bag frenzy, many TJ’s loyalists found their local stores sold out by the time they got around to doing the weekly shopping. And because you’re apparently no one if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s mini bag, they’re paying second-hand retailers a pretty penny to get into the club.

In turn, Trader Joe’s has begun limiting the number of bags an individual guest can purchase at once. “There was one store in my area where the limit was 8, PER CUSTOMER!’ one TikToker raged. Another claimed that their store posted a sign announcing they were sold out of the bags until 2025, though it’s unclear if they were serious.

But those who got in on the ground floor are currently making a killing. One eBay seller is offering a four-pack of the bags (one in each color) for $85, while a canny Poshmark salesman is hawking the same package for $99. On eBay, the standard price for a single bag is around $30.

Some, however, are getting a bit more ambitious with their sales pitch. Photos obtained by The Daily Mail show two identical four-packs going for $450 and $500; and a three-pack reselling for $400.

“As a seller, it just came naturally that I thought these would sell,” an anonymous eBay user, who’s nearly sold out of their $145 four-packs, told CNN. “I believe these were limited production,” they added.

Trader Joe’s created the bags with the same material and design as their larger bags, but intends these tiny ones to be used “for smaller shopping trips, to pick up those few items you forgot the first time around.” But the bags have been embraced by consumers as the perfect vessel to carry a lunch, a water bottle, or a laptop on a day’s journey.

Because of the rabid fan base they spawned, the mini bags are being compared to the Stanley Cup phenomenon. The reusable cups became a hotly desired item amongst customers, especially younger social media users, leading to a lucrative resale market and a company-instituted limit on the number of Stanley Cups one could buy.

CNN’s Parija Kavilanz contributed reporting.

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