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Trader Joe's $2.99 mini tote bags now sell for $500 on eBay

Wildly popular mini canvas tote bags from Trader Joe's are being resold online for nearly 200 times their retail price. 

The downsized versions of the grocery retailer's traditional reusable totes, which come in four colors and cost $2.99, have become somewhat of a sensation, selling out at stores across the U.S. That's led fans of the bags to scour for them on platforms including eBay, where a set of four tote bags listed on Monday for $499.99. That breaks down to $125 per bag. 

Another eBay listing prices a single red mini-tote bag at $280. Other listings have slightly more affordable prices, although are still about six times their original cost. 

On eBay, Trader Joe's mini tote bags are selling for as much as $499.99

Ebay confirmed that it's seen a huge surge in consumer demand for the bags. For the first full week of March, global searches for the bags increased by nearly 8,000% on eBay, compared to the first full week in February, the company told CBS MoneyWatch. The bags first became available in February. 

It's unclear why the limited edition bags have proven to be so popular. They measure 11 inches long by 6 inches wide and 13 inches high. Some social media users say they plan to use them as lunch bags. 

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Trader Joe's said that the bags sold much faster than the grocer had expected.

"Before we had the opportunity to promote them in any way, customers across the country found them at their neighborhood Trader Joe's," a company spokesperson said. 

Trader Joe's added that it does not endorse the resale of any of its products on any marketplace. 

TikTok user @Valeriak, who documented her visit to her local store to purchase the mini canvas bags, showed customers lining up to buy the coveted totes. In her video, which features plenty of stock, a manager can be heard announcing a five bag limit per customer. 

"Not gonna lie, that was a little embarrassing waiting on line for a tote bag," she said. "Especially because there were so many. There were so many left."

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