I am now conflicted about Whole Foods.

Half of me never, ever wants to shop there

The problem with Whole Foods is their regular customers. They are, across the board, across the country, useless, ignorant, and miserable. They’re worse than miserable, they’re angry. They are quite literally the opposite of every Whole Foods employee I’ve ever encountered. Walk through any store any time of day—but especially 530pm on a weekday or Saturday afternoon during football season—and invariably you will encounter a sneering, disdainful horde of hipster Zombies and entitled 1%ers.

…and the other half of me wants to go there right now and shop.

They stand in the middle of the aisles, blocking passage of any other cart, staring intently at the selection asking themselves that critical question: which one of these olive oils makes me seem coolest and most socially conscious, while also making the raw vegetable salad I’m preparing for the monthly condo board meeting seem most rustic and artisanal?


Over the years I have tried everything to remain civil to these people, but nothing has worked, so I’ve stopped trying. Instead, I walk over to their cart and physically move it to the side for them. Usually, the shock of such an egregious transgression is so great that the “Ugh!” doesn’t happen until I’m around the corner out of sight. Usually, all I get is an incredulous bug-eyed stare. Sometimes I get both though, and when that happens, I look them square in the eye and say “Move. Your. Cart.” I used the same firm tone as Jason Bourne, with the hushed urgency of Jack Bauer and the uncomfortable proximity of Judge Reinhold. From their reaction you’d think I just committed an armed robbery or a sexual assault. When words fail them, as they often do with passive aggressive Whole Foods zombies, the anger turns inward and they start to vibrate with righteous indignation. Eventually, that pent up energy has to go somewhere, and like solar flares it bursts forth into the universe as paroxysms of rage.

I mean, that sounds like fun.  Besides, it’s not like any of them are likely to be carrying a gun.

12 thoughts on “I am now conflicted about Whole Foods.”

  1. It gets better. The founder is a conservative who is monetizing hipsterism.

    And on the side giving people with medical conditions a good place to get foods for special diets.

    1. Though being neither of those I rarely get much when I go there, which was never when I was job hunting, and will only be occasionally even now.

      1. Are they out in VA? For some reason I thought they were strictly a west coast thing.

      2. As the Cat clan has a number of food allergies, I .. rather like Whole Foods. (they’re definitely in Chicago)
        Yes, it’s damn expensive, but they take their ingredient labeling seriously, which makes figuring out what one of us is reacting to what ingredient much, much easier.
        Oh, and .. yeah, it is kind of fun to mess with their customer base, although the author takes the wrong approach.
        It’s much, much more fun to slip on a pair of comfortable jeans, a patriotic (or downright nationalistic) shirt, the well-worn jacket from my days as an apprentice carpenter, smile pleasantly, and offer friendly and *intelligent* advice.
        Really blends their brains to see a smart, nationalist member of the working class….
        p.s. Kombucha? No, thank you, don’t care for tea.

  2. Happy to say we don’t have any! Food Depot, Save-A Lot, Meijers, Krogers, Neimans, we have them all, just not Whole Foods! Thank the Gods!

  3. I used to shop there before I moved. The only people I talked to were the staff and they were very nice. The aisles were cluttered but I often leave my cart at the end of the aisle and pick up what I needed.

    I tend to shop in stores that carry the brands I like at a decent price. For Whole Foods that was Spectrum mayo, Muir Glen ketchup, San-J soy sauces, pure maple syrup and some 365 products. I usually skipped their meat and produce. I stock up when I am in the neighborhood but usually I buy some of these by the case off the Web. Condiments and sauces are a matter of taste and I like what I like. They go a long way making a simple meal special. I am not about to let progressive customers spoil my shopping experience.

  4. That was absolutely hilarious!
    I have nothing against Whole Foods. I think the main product they sell is pretension, but they have no shortage of people queuing up to buy what they’re selling. (Much like Apple or Mercedes.) They found a profitable market niche to exploit. Good for them.
    But I do dislike the people who shop there.
    Hearing about “organic” food (I’ve never heard of inorganic food) is every bit as annoying as hearing an Apple aficionado gush about their obsession. Or hearing about meticulous German engineering.
    But mostly, I’m happy that the nearest one is some 160 miles away. That way, my wife doesn’t go there.

  5. the WFMarkets around here (NW Chicago burbs) are not hipsters…mostly normal suburbanites… WF is ok so long as you stick to sale items and the bakery. They have excellent bread.

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