I have mixed feelings about specialty stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, mostly because my mom raised me on a ShopRite diet and I turned out relatively normal. Lately though I have been trying to transform my typical not-so-great eating habits to slightly more healthy ones. I decided to brave the post-work Whole Foods crowd and see what the fuss is all about.
Entering the Parking Lot
Hmm, there sure are a lot of Mercedes in this lot. And Acuras. And Lexuses (Lexi?). Let me just park my Toyota Corolla over here in the corner, I’ll count the extra steps towards exercise. Ooh, a White House Black Market! And a Francesca’s! How fancy! [At this point, a shopper in her black Mercedes proceeds to back out of her spot at 50 MPH without even looking, then flip me off for nearly getting run over. Apparently you can’t buy manners here.]
Entering the Store
Wait, there’s like a restaurant here with already cooked food! Do I even need real food? Should I just stock up on the premade stuff?!?! [Price tag on small cooked lasagna reads $25.99.]. Uh, no I should not. But I will get some soup. Ooh, crackers! [Crackers are 50 cents. For a pack of two.]. Screw that. Aren’t crackers usually included with soup? Who the hell do think they are, charging for crackers with soup! Should I just take them? I wonder what they do to people in jail when they find out they shop at Whole Foods.
Perusing the Aisles
I’m trying to transition to vegetarianism, let me check out the meatless section. Meatless Meatballs. So…balls? Chickenless Nuggets. So…McDonald’s? Everything in this store is screaming ORGANIC! at me. Does that word even mean anything anymore? How organic can it be if it’s been sitting in a box on a shelf for at least a month? I’m having flashbacks of Portlandia, and consider driving to the farm to figure out just how organic all this stuff is. I just need lo mein noodles! Other shoppers are giving me dirty looks because I’ve been standing in front of the same section comparing prices and labels, and the aisles are only big enough to fit two skinny people at a time. Also, there are a ton of suburban moms here pissed off at their kids because they know summer is coming and they’ll have to spend time with them. Omg, wait, is that beer?!?! Organic beer of course, but still, I like your style, Whole Foods!
The woman in front of me has about 20 items in her cart. Her total is $430. Wtf?!? She’s not even phased! “Ha, that’s the lower than it was last week!” she says. You bought more than $430 worth of groceries less than a week ago and it’s gone? Note to self: don’t have kids. I want to tell her that instead of buying a sprig of parsley for $8.99 she should just get a plant for $2, but she has her Bluetooth on the entire time, so maybe she didn’t even realize what was happening.
I tell the cashier excitedly it is my first time at Whole Foods, point to my reusable bags proudly and offer to bag. He stares at me blankly.
“So…you’re going to bag…your own?” “Yes!” “…you mean you’re going to bag your own groceries?” [starting to think this might be frowned upon at Whole Foods] “Uhm, yes is that ok?” No reply, just another weird look. He starts scanning the food and putting it in a paper bag. “Oh, no, that’s okay, I want to put them…” “Oh. Soooooo sorry. I forgot you were [long pause/weird look] bagging your own.”
My total comes to $69.44. I laugh because heh, 69, and say, “Wow! That’s pretty good right?!? I mean I’ve heard people come in and pick up an apple and then it’s like $100!” The cashier, a browbeaten middle aged man who looks like he’s just about had enough of prissy white ladies and their Whole Food orders, says, “Yea, that’s great. You win the prize for the day.” “THERE’S A PRIZE?!?” [long silence, one more weird look] “…no (unspoken: you fucking idiot).”
So, in conclusion, I was right to think Whole Foods is a little presumptuous. I mean seriously, 50 cents for crackers?!?!? But they do sell affordable, healthy food if you really hunt for it. Certain things I would still buy at my local grocery store, but I’ll admit I was impressed by the selection at Whole Foods. I’ll never be spending $430 a week there, even if I do have kids, and I refuse to be led into the Pandora’s Box of all things organic/vegan/low fat/low sodium. And just so you know Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s does offer a prize through a raffle, so maybe you should consider doing that instead of looking at me like I’m crazy…