whole foods

Dear Whole Foods,

I am not your typical customer. However, for the first shopping run of my new apartment I chose your convenient location on P Street. I admit I wanted to go to the Safeway on 17th and Corcoran, aka the Soviet Safeway, but no parking was available and I knew I would have too much food to carry. (I think the Salsa Safeway was probably closer, but I didn't think of it at the time).

There is some irony that your store, catering as you do to the hippy-dippy uber-organic grocery store crowd, provides free parking. Perhaps you have merely recognized that environmentalism is just another brand choice? Regardless, I've never seen so many SUVs parked in one place, except, perhaps, Georgetown.

Anyway, I squeezed my car in between two very badly parked Ford Explorers and took the elevator to the main floor. It was 5:30 on Thursday and that meant that the place was packed and people were going bonkers. I would have thought that the desire to be good to Mother Earth would create a desire to be respectful to other spiritual beings, but I am a stranger in a strange land.

I was cut off multiple times; people parked their carts in the aisles and stood talking, blocking traffic; children were allowed to scream without censure; and there was general frantic behavior. You'd think there was a sale at Dolce & Gabbana.

I have to say, W.H., if I may call you that, is that I couldn't find most of the food I was looking for -- at least in a recognizable form. What's the difference between Motts Apple Sauce and "365 Organic" Apple Sauce? About $1.50. Beyond that, although a glass container makes a lot of sense for grape juice, I don't have anywhere to recycle the glass, it is heavy, and the plastic takes less energy to create.

I do agree with you that organic meat makes health sense, but I'm not so concerned that the pancake mix is BGH free. And no one likes to be fooled by soy cheese. I cannot digest milk without taking a pill (which I couldn't find anywhere in your store), but I must ask that you at least don't hide the real stuff. I want the super-sharp cheddar made with real milk. Don't be ashamed of it: put it in front! And none of this no-fat milk, either. Eeech.

People born today live twice as long and four times as healthy as those born 100 years ago. My generation is about 3 inches taller than that of our parents. I don't smoke, drink soda, or eat fast food, and only occasionally drink. I'm healthy enough to make the choice of which poisons to put into my body.

As a separate issue, W.H., you do have attractive customers, which remains a plus in my book. But the Social Safeway has attractive customers-- and they will actually smile and make eye contact. So do most people on the street. What gives?

Before I come back I must ask that you start supplying brands I can recognize. The only familiar thing was Honey Nut Cheerios. Where was my pasta sauce? My non-biodegradable laundry detergent? My lemonaide mix?

Dinner tonight was a great caprese salad, made with the fresh ingredients from your store. But I can buy even fresher stuff from the farmers at Eastern Market or Dupont circle (on Sundays). I'd like for this relationship to work out, but you have to meet me halfway. How about regular whole wheat bread without nuts in it? Or some kind of discount?

Thanks for listening. Best regards,



Blogger katze said...

We have W.F. here, and I avoid it for the sole reason that the other customers usually make me homicidal. It's only slightly better than dealing with the people at WalMart. However, W.F. is the only place 'round here that carries Brown Cow yoghurt, which is ambrosial, and I also stock up on couscous and granola (the only granola I have ever found in the US that contains neither rice nor nuts, and therefore will not kill me!) from their bulk section whenever I have to take my car in for maintenance (my mechanic is just around the corner).

But man, if I still lived in DC, I would never shop there because there are just so many better options available, both for price and for quality! Here's hoping that the upcoming job search goes well and my butt is shortly to be planted back in the area!

11:56 AM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

I think "Yes" organic stores also have brown cow yogurt. Yummm.

Regarding the suvs at whole foods -- wtf?!?

1:49 PM  
Blogger LuckySpinster said...

shopping at whole foods depresses me. the customers are rich and obnoxious. everyone has that glazed-over get-outta-my-way look of rabid consumerism.

plus, you can't ever leave there without dropping major coin.

now i shop at trader joe's out here in the 'burbs. i am always amazed at how little money i spend. the selection's limited, but i supplement it with a trip to MOM's organic market in del ray (a little pricier but the whole store's organic).

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny how much baggage people have associated with Whole Foods. Its just a store, and it can't really replace a standard supermarket.

Personally i find the WF on P cheaper that local Giants. Image or whatever, good stuff is good stuff.

1:21 PM  

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