Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whole Foods: The Experience

Over the past few years, I’ve been hearing more and more about Whole Foods as the superior retailer of foods.  Essentially, it’s classier than Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, The Big Y and whatever other grocery stores you can think of.  Growing up a hop skip and a throw away from Providence, Rhode Island’s historic East Side, I’ve always been relatively close by a Whole Foods, yet I’ve always felt intimidated by it.  To me, it was where rich and snobby people would drive to in their Audi station wagons, wearing their sweater vests and corduroys and make snide remarks about the ripeness of the a papaya or how lacking the brie is.  It seemed like a place where fun was never allowed, smiling was frowned upon, and sales were never utilized because, well, if you shop at Whole Foods all the time, you probably aren’t worrying about pinching pennies and seeing what’s on sale.  Today was a big day for me, because I chose to go on a top secret mission into Whole Foods and go shopping to experience how the wealthy lived.  It was like the lifestyles of the rich and the boring grocery shopping edition.

Maybe I had a negative outlook on Whole Foods from the start.  My dad goes shopping there every now and then for steaks which are normally good, but I just never cared for the chain itself.  A certain friend who shall remain anonymous once set me up on a blind date with a girl she met at Whole Foods once.  There was no second date.  The only thing I knew going into this hell of a grocery store was to stay away from the women, or keep them away from me which isn’t really all that hard.  Anyways, my main purpose to go there was because I was craving sushi and I know they have relatively good sushi.  Also, as much fun as college was for my four years, my body kind of hates me for it. My AIM screen name in my middle school-early high school years was EPzSlimJim.  After four years in college it would now be more like EPzGottalose10lbsJim.  Point being, I guess it’s time to start weaning myself off of the Macaroni and Cheese and eat some more salads for now.  Whole Foods seemed like the perfect place to look for food with no taste yet good for you. 

Anyways, I walk in to the place and immediately notice a man wearing a powdered wig.  I honest to God wish I was making this up but I’m not.  It would be one thing to see a man in a powdered wig in Whole Foods wearing a costume, like if he were a George Washington impersonator at some historical museum or something, but no, this guy was in jeans, a nifty little pullover with a Brown University emblem on it, and a powdered wig.  I almost turned around and went out the door upon seeing this.  After realizing that I had stopped dead in my tracks and that I should lift my jaw up from the floor, I moved on to finding the coveted sushi.  While making my way through herds of other nerds, I realized that I didn’t know one brand that was being sold of anything.  This started to freak me out.  I finally got to the sushi and was dismayed to see that they didn’t have my damn California rolls there, so I settled with a cucumber and brown rice roll. Yawn. I decided to browse a bit to see what exactly the elite people of the East Side like to shop for, and I couldn’t have been any more freaked out.  Everything was sugar free, gluten free, light this, zero that, low sodium, lower calories, organic times ten, blah blah blah.  I understand the need to eat healthy, but all these things would make the majority of people stay away from these items. 

After being bombarded with tofu samples, I ran into some girls around my age who were debating the pros and cons of various types of skim milk, which just kind of made me sad.  These girls were in the utmost hipster mode.  Knit hats, combat boots, odd printed leggings and semi-emo haircuts, they were probably ex-employees of American Apparel at one point.  Hearing this interaction go on as I was looking for any frozen food that would appeal to me (nothing did) just furthered my rule of not talking to any females I run into at Whole Foods.  If these girls could get into a pros and cons list over various types of skim milk, then who knows what else they were capable of making petty things into arguments.  On a side note, do people really notice differences between various skim milks?  I have to call shenanigans on that.  These girls made me weep for the future.  This was like my own private Twilight Zone taking place in the form of grocery shopping.  I really was at a crossroads when I noticed that the deli guys didn’t give out any free cheese samples, much to my dismay.  Some of my favorite moments growing up was getting a slice of cheese from the deli guys while grocery shopping with my dear mother.  Whole Foods made me feel like you’d be kindly yet firmly asked to leave if you asked for a free slice of cheese.  Everything was so backwards, yet everyone else seemed to be happy.  I don’t get if shoppers of Whole Foods are just into their own lifestyle or if they all have been brainwashed to consider it a true grocery shopping experience.  Call me old fashioned, but how good of a grocery store can you be if you walk through the snack aisle and not pick anything up due to pure disgust?

After picking up some pistachios, soy sauce, some thai noodle bowl and the sushi for a whopping 35$, I realized that Whole Foods is kind of lame.  Some people say it’s for the rich, some say it’s for hipsters, vegetarians, health food freaks, but I say it’s for the pathetic.  I am a firm believer that food is meant to be enjoyed, and grocery stores should help this out.  Whole Foods just seems like a lifestyle where people pay way too much money for less taste.  The only thing I learned tonight was that brown rice in sushi is very lackluster, shoppers at Whole Foods wear powdered wigs, girls argue over skim milk, and pistachios are really expensive. 

No comments:

Post a Comment