Skip to comments.How I spent $300 at the Whole Foods Supermarkets in Massachusetts (and lived to tell about it)
Posted on 07/31/2010 12:28:04 PM PDT by SamAdams76
So here I am driving through the local strip malls on a lazy Saturday morning, saddled with the responsibility of purchasing groceries for the family as the wife is occupied with other tasks at the moment. It's a clear, crisp morning with low humidity so I bring the dog with me so we can take a walk in the woods along the way.
After a brisk walk in the state park with the dog, and a large coffee at the Dunkin Donuts, I'm tooling around town, dog bouncing around in the back seat, deciding what supermarket to stop in at when I see Whole Foods Market, sandwiched between the usual other yuppie haunts like Trader Joe's, Starbucks and a few obnoxiously pretentious shops with foreign sounding names I can't remember and wouldn't be able to pronounce anyhow. So anyway, I'm feeling that I should give this Whole Foods a chance, and maybe come home and surprise the family with some wholesome and natural foodstuffs.
As I pull into the parking lot, I immediately get the sense that things are a little off. For one thing, all the cars are foreign made (Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Saab) and sport the predictable liberal touchy-feely bumper stickers like "War Is Not The Answer" and those stupid "Coexist" bumper stickers with all those religious symbols forming the word (every religion except Christianity it would seem).
There was also a preponderance of those very annoying oval stickers that seem to be all the rage these days among the pretentious yuppie set. You know the ones, the oval stickers with the white background and cryptic letters like "DE", "ULV" and "NDU". I've always wondered what the heck those stickers are all about so I did a little research on the Internet.
Seems that over in Europe, the license plates are all the same type, making it difficult to tell what country the car is from. So that's how the oval stickers with the white background came about. Drivers from Germany would have to sport "D" stickers, people from France would have "F" stickers and people from Denmark would have "DK" stickers, and so on.
Of course, visiting yuppie American tourists couldn't be content with letting Europe have their little stickers. Of course not! Why they just had to import them to America, in order to show off to their other yuppie friends how cosmopolitan and worldly they were. Even more interesting is that these oval stickers, designating the country of origin, are actually mandated (across most of the world) by the United Nations! Hence, you can now better understand the desire of the UN-loving scumbag yuppies to affix one of these stickers to their own cars.
So back here in America, among the pretentious, oh-so-trendy yuppie set, it was soon not enough to merely own a BMW or a Volvo. No! In order to establish their bona fides as genuine yuppie scum, they had to sport these European stickers on their cars over here too. In that manner, they would evidently have their yuppie friends drooling with envy, as their Volvo would now appear to have been imported directly from Europe as opposed to the oh-so-pedestrian method of simply purchasing it from the local auto dealership.
Of course, enough yuppies got jealous enough whereby a market was quickly developed here in America to sell even more of these little oval stickers. At first, they were content to simply sport the sticker from their favorite European hell-hole, but before too long, all the trendy vacation spots here in America started selling their own oval stickers in their overpriced gift shops - all of which were quickly snapped up by yuppies and wanna-be yuppies, who immediately affixed them to their own cars to show off to all others "in the know" that yes, they too, apparently had a vacation home on Martha's Vineyard (MVY), the Outer Banks (OBX) or Vail, Colorado (VCO). Proven of course, by their little oval sticker. Oh, aren't you precious, Margo and Todd!
So here I am, still only in the Whole Foods parking lot, and already I am getting very annoyed. So I find a shaded space (for my dog) between a Land Cruiser sporting an Obama sticker and a Saab with a rainbow sticker and an oval sticker with "PVT" (Provincetown, evidently). Just wonderful.
So I crack the windows on my car to give the dog some air and head on in. Right away, I notice that I am the only customer in the store wearing socks - everybody else being in flip-flops, sandals and what not. However, I need to hit the rest-rooms as that Dunkin Donuts coffee has percolated through my system. However, there is not a "Men's" room or a "Women's" room but two "unisex" bathrooms, both with OCCUPIED signs on them. So I have to sit there and wait, with my legs crossed like an errant child, for the two women to get done already and vacate one of them. One of the advantages of being a man is that the men's room is always open. After all, if the stalls and urinals are occupied, there's always the sinks. (Ladies, that's why there is never a line at the men's room). However, Whole Foods has taken away the advantage of being a man by making their bathrooms unisex.
So bladder relieved at last, I head into the store and start my shopping. First up is the produce section and at the Whole Foods, it's not enough to just have apples, oranges and carrots in the produce section. No. You must have 37 varieties of apples with little color-coded placards announcing what country they are from. Also the Belgian endive and other exotic produce that Mike Dukakis famously raved about to the Iowa voters back in the 1988 presidential campaign. At the Whole Foods, you must inspect the produce carefully because more often than not, the blackberries ($4.99 for 8 oz) have mold on them and the corn-on-cob is likely to be infested with worms. After all, no pesticides allowed for Whole Foods produce. Fortunately for the corn on cob, they offer a trash barrel so you can shuck the corn yourself and ensure yourself of worm-free produce. Throughout the produce section, signs abounded proclaiming (or disclaiming) that wax was used to keep the produce looking fresh. I see summer squash and zucchini in a small section, priced reasonably. However, most of the shelf space is taken up with summer squash and zucchini already all cut up (ready for grill!) and packaged for triple the cost of just buying it and cutting it at home yourself. I guess many people think cutting up squash and zucchini is too much trouble to save 2/3 of the price. All in all, however, I was pretty happy with the produce section, although by the time I was out of there, the cost of my purchases already exceeded what I would have paid at the Stop & Shop for my entire wife-supplied grocery list.
Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" is playing over the PA as I venture out into the rest of the store. One thing I'm noticing is the preponderance of people who are of "questionable" sexual identity. Perhaps this explains the unisex bathrooms. Many of these people would definitely have trouble choosing. I saw one person over six feet tall that was wearing a hemp skirt and a pink T-shirt that said something along the lines of "Save Dharma". Must be a Lost fan. At any rate, she/he had a face like Robert Plant circa 1973 and long scraggly hair down to his/her breasts. He/she had an excessive amount of tofu and soy products in his/her cart. Must be a vegetarian too.
While Whole Foods might cater to the vegetarian set, they definitely have a decent selection of meats/fish. That was my next section. I loaded up with $60 in marinated steak tips and almost another $100 of other meats. Already, I am starting to feel the wrath of my wife when she downloads the latest banking transactions. I didn't even bother with the fish, they were asking $15 or more per pound for just about everything in the seafood section. Hell, it would be cheaper for me to rent a boat and go deep-sea fishing on my own.
Next up is the cheese section. All kinds of free samples abound, with the little toothpicks that you can spike the cheese pieces with. I pretty much got a full lunch for free by the time I was done "sampling." I loaded up with some swiss, gouda, and cheddar and I totally ignored the cheese counter which has various cheeses with names I couldn't pronounce and prices I couldn't afford. The PA system is now playing a Bruce Springsteen song - Tunnel of Love, I think.
Over to the yogurt and eggs. Normally we get Stonyfield Yogurt (with cream on top) at the Stop & Shop but they also have this brand called Brown Cow, also with cream on top (best yogurt you can buy by the way). I piled into my cart several flavors of Brown Cow "cream-on-top" yogurt: Maple, Raspberry, Cherry Vanilla, Coffee. There is a very surly worker in that section re-stocking the various yogurts on tap. He scowls at me and tells me that if I want that much yogurt, I can call for it in advance, so that he can sell it to me by the case. My guess is that he's annoyed that I was reaching for the yogurt in the back (which has the later expiration dates). I then move on to the eggs and I am confronted with all kinds of "free range", "omega-3" and "grain-fed" egg options. I decide upon a dozen eggs from some local farm that I drive by on the way to work each morning. Yes, I guess I'll check these eggs out and see if they are any different than the Stop & Shop eggs.
Now one thing about the Whole Foods is that it is over-the-top pretentious. There are about a zillion brand names you've never heard of and all the brands you have heard of (Hershey, Kraft, Nabisco, Pillsbury, Proctor & Gamble) will most certainly NOT be available at the Whole Foods. Let the great unwashed who would allow such pedestrian products into their homes shop at the Stop & Shop (or Wal-Mart). That seems to be the general attitude at the Whole Foods, anyhow.
I'm in the nut section now and pondering whether I should buy the $7.99 raw cashews, the $8.99 roasted jumbo (but unsalted) cashews or the $9.99 roasted and salted cashews (but not jumbo). There is also cashew butter, just in case regular peanut butter doesn't float your boat. For that matter, there is pistachio butter, almond butter and sunflower seed butter as well. If you do want plain old peanut butter, you are going to have to bend over and get it from a tiny section on the bottom shelf. Also, it will be the type that has the oil layer on top.
It strikes me that most of the customers here do not have to work for a living. They are evidently living off trust funds, or sponging otherwise off their moms and dads. How do I know this? Because based on their personal appearance, no respectable employer would ever hire these people, other than maybe tatoo parlors and independent record stores (if they still even exist). Many of them sport body piercing that makes you wonder if they accidently tripped on a boat during a fishing trip and landed face-first in a tackle box. Maybe that's what defines a liberal - one who does not have to work for a living. Be it somebody poor and on welfare, or somebody from a rich family who is living off a trust fund (or married to somebody rich).
The biggest section in Whole Foods is the prepared food section. This is for people who are not content to buy the overpriced foods and cook it themselves. No. They need to pay even more and have it cooked for them already. They have a salad/food bar where you can put together a ready made meal for $9.99 a pound. I tried this once at lunch a few years ago and when I got to the register, I was charged something like $23. It was a good lunch though. Most of the foods in the prepared food section however were way too exotic and overpriced for me.
Then you got your frozen foods and bakery sections which I sort of rushed through. They had entire rows dedicated to nothing but crackers, chips and cookies. Junk food, basically. Only you are paying a premium for it. Eating a box of "all-natural" Whole Foods cookies will make you just as fat as a Wal-Mart box of Oreo Cookies. Ditto for a bag of Whole Foods "all-natural blue corn tortilla chips" as opposed to a bag of Doritos at the Stop and Shop. Basically, Whole Foods has just as much junk food as your local 7-11. Only more expensive.
On my way to the registers, I passed the candy section and there were about 500 varieties of candy bars - all natural and healthy for you, of course. You had chocolate bars with fancy foreign sounding names that costed $5 or more. You could get a case of Mounds bars at the Wal-Mart for the price of one small bar of premium swiss white chocolate at the Whole Foods.
Still, I hit the registers with the feeling that I was going to return with a lot of healthy, wholesome food for the family. At the registers, I was confronted with a wide variety of "sports" bars that are intended for use when hiking the Appalachian trail or scaling Mt. Washington. More glorified junk food. I avoided the cashier that was wearing a burka and got a cashier that looked a bit like Fred Flintstone. He went through the whole routine of "Did I find everything I was looking for" as he zipped my purchases over the scanner. By the time he was 1/3 of the way through, my grocery bill was already in triple digits and climbing upward at a staggering pace. One of the baggers ambled over and asked me if I brought my own "bags", as if he actually thought I was the type that would bring those girly "recyclable" canvas bags to the supermarket with me. I just stared him down and asked him if he could "double-bag" for me so that I could use up twice as much paper. Besides, I like to use paper grocery bags for kindling when I start lighting up my wood-burning fireplace in the fall. However, my satisfaction with making the bagger double-bag was shortlived when I saw the final bill.
It came to $323.34.
This will be the last time my wife ever has me do the grocery shopping again, I guarantee it!
When I got back to my car, there was a concerned looking middle-aged woman staring into the back seat of my car. Apparently she was all concerned that I had my dog in the backseat and with a condenscending and superior attitude, she told me she was considering calling the animal rescue league or some such place if I took much longer getting back to my car. Meanwhile, the outside temperature is about 70 degrees and there is my dog happily sitting in the back, still in the shade, no hotter than it would be in my own living room at home, thriving on all the attention, with the windows cranked halfway down so that it could jump right out of the car if it really did get that hot and uncomfortable. As I loaded my bags in the trunk, I wished her good day and told her to remember to vote Republican this November and as she stalked off, I backed out of the parking space and began the long journey home to try and explain to my wife how I could spend over $300 doing the groceries.
The only thing I’ll pick at this story with is please don’t stereotype people who shop there. Some people, no matter what their socioeconomic condition is, like good food that is good for them. It’s kinda ridiculous to assume everyone who shops there is a trust fund baby because of the way they look. This isn’t 1950 anymore...people look different and still work for a living. And work very hard.
Dude, you’ve got cajones...
I don’t dare to venture near Whole Foods! In fact, I’m growing my own potatoes this year...did this some years back and they were wonderful. Of course I didn’t plant enough! So how do you think Charlie Baker’s going to do in the Gov.’s race?
Christianity is the "t".
Nicely written story, but I won’t get worried about Whole Foods until they start having their customers executed for carrying concealed in the store, like the former West Pointer who was murdered by Las Vegas cops after getting the Judas point from a Summerlin Costco employee/Lefty snitch.
He left out the joke about the Saab though, let's see if it makes it past the editor this time.
And please don't kill the messenger, my acupuncturist has one, I love him and his car, I've even helped him fix it.
What's the dif btw a Saab and a porcupine?
On a porcupine , the pricks are on the outside.
I ventured into a Wholefoods, for the same reason that I went into Neiman Marcus a couple of times, merely to marvel at the exorbitant prices.
Go back while wearing a right wing t-shirt, something like “Guns Don’t Kill Poeple. Abortion Clinics Kill People.”
Spend that much in a Trader Joe’s and get twice the amount of same quality.
That would DEFINITELY get him the Costco Treatment...
The epitomy of liberalism and socialism. Sad that Texas even has to consider it part of.
“...wonder if they accidently tripped on a boat during a fishing trip and landed face-first in a tackle box.”
It is going to be so tempting to ask if that is what happened the next time I see one of the human pin-cushions.
“This will be the last time my wife ever has me do the grocery shopping again, I guarantee it!”
Kids try that - mess up a job they don’t want to do in hopes that we’ll just give up and do it ourselves. (Doesn’t work very often.)
I think I would have used my keys to draw a big carbon footprint on each one of them.
I've gawked and walked through those establishments and come out with 1 jar of Tahini.
These stores do have their uses.
You can buy barley in the grain rather than pearled or instant.
Need a whole lotta money to shop at Whole Foods.
Trader Joe’s rocks! Who was the CEO of a chain like this who went after Obama about healthcare tax? Was it the Whole Foods guy? Whomever it was - he is a good guy.
Sorry, but you come off sounding like a snobby liberal. While you might not like what they have done, you forget that it’s a business that is catering to a certain, yet irritating, crowd. And isn’t it a bit presumptuous of you to assume you know how those in the store make their money? The whole point of being conservative is to let people make their own decisions. Yet have opted to ridicule those who have made decisions you don’t like. Not exactly fitting the conservative mold. And why in god’s name would you go spend $300 at a store you detest in the first place?