Places Pop Won’t Go: Whole Foods
I’m not a tree hugger. I don’t always recycle. I wash my hair on a regular basis. I don’t have politically themed bumper stickers. I used to use close to an entire aerosol can of Aqua Net to get it like Zack’s. I release quite a bit of gaseous emissions, most notably after consuming refried beans (+2 gas levels when said beans are from Taco Smell – Smell the Border). I think vegans are crazy and can often be a pain when you go out to eat with them (“What kind of broth is that cooked in? Do you use any sweeteners?”). In fact, the only time I tend to care about the environment is when I see entire forests plowed in order to make room for another Target anchored shopping center b/c I know somewhere, Captain Planet is shedding a tear. But things have been changing lately.
In recent months, I’ve actually started to care about what I eat. For the four that follow this blog, you probably know this is a seismic shift for me, but for the uninitiated, here’s some background. I read Fast Food Nation a long time ago, but I was in college and I was eating whatever was being served at The Diner (thanks to my then girlfriend’s meal plan. Thanks Honey!). I watched Super Size Me and immediately afterwards, drove to a McDonald’s and got a double quarter pounder. I had meat fests and BBQs where I grilled/BBQed upwards of 60lbs of meat, and I couldn’t care less of how the animals were treated or where they came from, so long as the $/lb was low. Even after my daughter was born, I attributed the clamor over giving kids organic, sustainable foods to overprotective parents who would probably put their kids in a plastic bubble and feed them breastmilk for the rest of their lives if they could. Then came the stronglifts blog that talked about nutrition and I started to look at food differently. Then, I watched Food Inc. and the way I looked at food completely changed.
This was a few weeks after my wife heard about Snowville Creamery on NPR, so we decided a trip to Whole Foods was in order.
I like to use my Granola Continuum theory to describe the major organic grocery stores:
Whole Foods – Granola Quotient: Low – hipster clientele. Probably drove an Escalade or comparable SUV to the store. Paying $1 more /lb makes them feel they are saving the world. LV bag in one hand, reusable Whole Foods bag in the other.
Trader Joe’s – Granola Quotient: Med – Not hipster (Hawaiian shirts? Really?) but not quite granola either. They sell a lot of nuts. Love the free samples.
My Organic Market – Granola Quotient: High- Hippies. Lots of dreads and hemp clothing. Wallets/purses consist of natural fibers, probably made it themselves.
So I knew when I was going into WFs, it’d be crazy, but good lawd is Whole Foods in Rockville a CLUSTER! I used to complain about the narrow aisles in Lotte and other Korean grocery stores but WFs is probably worse. Are they giving away free food? No? Is there some big sale?!?! No? Then why are all these people here?!?! It almost looks like a feed lot portrayed in Food Inc., except my shopping cart is all up in someone else’s anus. Ridiculous.
Despite my bill being $45 for some milk, tomatoes, and a few odds and ends, and having recieved several contusions on my rear end, I felt pretty good about having shopped locally and support farmers.
Being a Sam’s Club family, I was shocked when all of the $45 we purchased was gone in less than a week! MAN! I still have 1/2 the 5lb tub of honey I bought 2 years ago! So a return trip to Whole Foods was in order. Surely, it can’t be as bad as last time. I was wrong. It was worse.
Narrow aisles essentially result in a 2 lane aisle. With carts coming in both directions, there’s typically no room for passing. And people move through aisles slower than Maryland drivers going through a dusting of snow. Worse, some shoppers just leave their carts in the middle of the aisle while they go and peruse another. The prices are much higher than Trader Joe’s or MOM. Check and mate.
The downtown Silver Spring location isn’t much better and despite two locations on Rockville Pike, I’m sure there are enough hipsters in the Rockville area to easily fill up both stores.
As a result, this pop isn’t going to Whole Foods anymore. TJ’s and MOM should suffice for most of our needs but they don’t usually have fresh meat and seafood. I’ve used Sustainable Table to look for organic resources in the area. For those in the DC Metro area, any recommendations on where to get grass-fed beef and other organic meats?