Trader Joe's 'Coming Soon' banner has small town fooled in high school prank

(Photo by: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Well played, Class of 2024. Well played. 

A small Maryland town thought they were going to get a local Trader Joe's next year only to find out the posted banner was a high school prank. 

Marlena Calobong of Arnold, Maryland, and a Trader Joe's loyal customer, was one of those who fell for it when she first saw the sign on May 29. 

Being a health coach with many clients, she posted the good news on social media

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"Extremely excited," she described her feeling to FOX Television Stations. "When I put the post up, my post blew up immediately that everybody was so excited that we were getting at Trader Joe's locally."

Calobong said the sign was posted in the neighboring town of Pasadena. A yellow banner was posted along the road saying, "Coming Soon, Trader Joe's, Spring 2025" along with a QR code. For some residents, the nearest Trader Joe's is about 30 minutes away. 

Calobong said within 24 hours she received hundreds of replies saying the sign was a prank and Northeast High School was reportedly behind it.  

When people looked up the QR code, it reportedly led them to a song. 

Though it was a letdown for potential Trader Joe's customers, Calobong said many people thought the prank was genius, creative, and hilarious. 

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"Initially, we were all sad that we weren't getting another Trader Joe's, but we all thought it was hilarious," she laughed. "They pulled off a really good prank. The whole town thought that we were getting a Trader Joe's."

"I think just everybody around this area loves Trader Joe's," she added. "I think everybody enjoyed the joke. We would have preferred it to be real, but it was a great joke."

FOX Television Stations reached out to Trader Joe's and Anne Arundel County Public Schools for comments. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.