≡ Menu

Dear Whole Foods- We’re through. It’s not me. It’s you.

You know how it is, Whole. You know. And I know you know. We just can’t pretend it is what it was any longer.

Bad things have been happening between us whenever I’ve tried to get into your sack for quite some time. It’s time to face the fact that we just don’t have that old natural spark between us any longer. We’ve faded from organic to conventional. It’s time to move on to fresh fruits and vegetables new — elsewhere. Ditto your firm, moist, and alluring meats of many flavors. None of what you’re doing to me is doing it for me any more.

I ignored a lot of your irritating habits, Whole — like keeping that entire wing of the dairy case jammed with your revoltingly raw vegan pastes and six flavors of tofu, that sloppy second of soy. I rationalized you were just trying to keep your green ass from getting so fat you couldn’t get into that tacky green apron you insist on wearing all the time, because “they go with my Earth shoes”.

I put up with your petulant insistence on “helping me” find things I wasn’t looking for whenever I paused in an aisle to ask myself “Johnson Grass and Brayla Suet Sausage? What the hell is that and what life form eats it?”

I put up with your plucking money from my wallet while I slept, so you could blow it on wind power and floats in the Green Pride Parades. I figured that every Whole needs a hobby.

Yes, I put up with your junkies’ greed as you whined for more and more…. especially in the cheese department where you had no shame in marking up English and French and “local, sustainable” cheeses first to $20 a pound (Or as you coyly say, “$19.99!”)…. and then up to $25 a pound… and then — since somebody was evidently paying you to screw them this hard — when you went whole hog and started into the $35 a pound range with no end to your cheese needs in sight.

Yes, I just looked the other way, Whole. I figured I could always just skulk around the deli counter cadging slices of salami and smidgens of cheese off your perky crew until they grew tired or I was full. But the feeling of being used by you — especially with the Euro cheeses which went up and up regardless of how heavily the Dollar was sitting on the face of the Euro — kept on pinching me in the pocket.

Even then I accepted your “Give More Green to Be More Green” smarm. Why?

Was it because your moist and juicy fruit always looked so tender, sweet and tasty?

Was it because you always reminded me, in your organic, vegan, tofu sodden shelves, of those unshaven but passionate hippie girls of my youth? The one’s with the faint Frida Kahlo mustaches like the fuzz I once licked from your peaches.

Was it because I thought I was demonstrating my successful status by shopping at a grocery store whose motto might as well have been, “Whole Foods: Why Pay Less?”

Was it the frisson that compulsive gamblers feel as I watched a single paper bag of your goodies climb relentlessly over the last few years from $50 to $75 to over $100 with no sign that I was at least going to get a French kiss as a reward?

I even put up with your ceaseless whining about the friggin’ environment, being green and all, and your constant nudging about bringing my own bag to carry away your noodle soup, and your waxed cardboard containers for the salad bar that would always leak dressing onto my leather seats.

I suppose it was all of these things about you, building up slowly… and yet… and yet….

Whenever I’d leave you, after depositing a C-note or two in the register by the door, I’d think, “No more. No more. We can’t go on meeting like this.” But in a couple of weeks, my yearning for you would rise like the yearning I often have for a Korean massage. And I’d be back, slipping into your embrace, and always…. after scraping the detritus of my plate into the garbage a few hours later… I’d feel used. Even after a shower.

But today was it. That’s enough. We’re over. Finito. Kaput.

What was it? Like the end of all sordid love affairs, Whole, it was a little thing that did it.

There I was, after buying a slab of your succulent meat at a mere $18.99 a pound, adrift in your kitchen supplies aisle. I remembered that I needed aluminum foil. I scanned your bursting shelves and then I saw it… the “If You Care” Aluminum Foil. It was made, it breathlessly told me, of “100% recycled aluminum.”

The “If You Care” was a 50 foot roll of the silver stuff. It was priced at $4.50. Next to it sat your good old new aluminum foil. Yours was a 75 foot roll of the stuff I’ve faithfully used and recycled all these years. It was priced at $2.25.

It dawned on me then, Whole, that as it was with so many other things about you I was screwed no matter which I chose. Somehow, if I “cared” enough to spend $2.25 more for 25 feet less “If You Care” foil I’d just recycle that caring foil again so that it could come back for more caring at a higher price.

I could take it, Whole, when it was just you and me and a little extra expense for a small tickling moment of splendor in the wheat grass. But now you were sharing your shelves with the high price whores of recycling and I knew that if I stayed with you a moment longer, I would turn green with bankruptcy.

That’s why I abandoned you and your succulent meat in your shopping cart on Aisle 5. That’s why I left that chunk of Neal’s Yard Cheshire at $32.99 mouldering in your private collection.

Whole, I’ve given you some of the best, and certainly expensive, grocery purchases of my life. But we’re done now. Like all tawdry retail sluts tarted up with those French plum tarts near the cash registers, you’ve finally stepped over my food love line of death.

I’ve left, a shattered man, with whatever shreds of dignity and solvency remain. Don’t write. Don’t call. And especially don’t offer to take me back to that Devon Clotted Cream in Aisle 2 that we once smeared over our shortbreads together in that wild, hot Summer of 2006. We’re quits. Deal with it.

Hungrily yours,

P.S. If by any chance you want to dump that Neals Yard Cheshire at fire sale prices when Washington refuses to bail you out… twitter me.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BillH April 18, 2018, 10:30 AM

    My wife, who having raised six kids on very limited food budgets early on, has been a practicing dietitian for 60+ years, and regularly checks out every food store opening in town, has said on several occasions that Whole Foods is a scam.

  • John A. Fleming April 18, 2018, 10:35 AM

    I don’t normally go into WF, it’s not on my usual convenient resupply route. However, they do have some foodstuffs that are really good for wilderness trips that I can’t find anywhere else (and REI can go pound sand). So I have to make the trudge over there, in the frantic last-minute dash about town picking up stuff before we head out.

    Seems like the libertarian dude that built up WF and cashed out to Bezos, did good for himself. He’s probably right now enjoying the well-deserved fruits of his labor at his manses in Jackson Hole and Aspen and other such tony spots.

  • Snakepit Kansas April 18, 2018, 10:42 AM

    Asparagus water. FFS.

  • pbird April 18, 2018, 10:44 AM

    If you could make money by selling asparagus water to fools, Snakepit, would you or wouldn’t you do it? I’m sure WF understands what they are doing.

  • MOTUS April 18, 2018, 10:56 AM

    I’m with you; even though their post-Apocalypse Amazon takeover resulted in price drops to make them more “competitive” – if your idea of competitive is takeout from the French Laundry. I can live without their baby Brussels Sprouts and 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating meat.

    But those deliciously addictive Breton pastries, Kouign Amann, that literally melt in your mouth… for a mere $4 a pop! And I’ll bet I can get second day delivery on Prime…

  • Dan Patterson April 18, 2018, 11:15 AM

    Whole Foods shopper?
    Man card: Give it up.

  • ghostsniper April 18, 2018, 12:58 PM

    Never even seen a WF let alone go in one.
    No I wouldn’t, pbird – I have a conscience.

    People sure make a fuss over everything food.
    The other day I heard a younger dood tell someone he had went into “Big Woods” and bought their best plate with all the trimmings and paid +$40 for it. Really? I hope he enjoyed it. Around here the 2 of us can eat all week and most of the next for that kind of coin.

    It’s just food.

  • Old Surfer April 18, 2018, 5:25 PM

    Around here it was known as “Whole Paycheck” and has recently left town, apparently unable to compete with “Lazy Acres”, an even bigger and fancier store for the local foodie millionaires. $40/lbs Ahi and waigu beef just for starters, along with a variety of spring water from Fiji.

  • We don't need Neil Young April 18, 2018, 7:25 PM

    Looked at the website and like, wow, do they really take reservations to shop at Lazy Acres? Trader Joes seems positively poverty struck, don’t it?

  • Jaynie April 19, 2018, 6:05 AM

    Thanks for the laughs! The post and the comments all hilarious. Plus, I always found Whole Foods, itself, to be highly comical. I shop there occasionally and get a chuckle out of the aisle after aisle of processed foods imitations of conventional stores’ processed foods. And I just envision the processed food factories created by the demand from the self righteous natural foods peeps. I do often use Whole Foods as one marker describing the neighborhood, when I am perusing Zillow in unknown towns in distant states, at the times my husband muses about moving. Heh.

  • Gnawbonejack April 19, 2018, 6:31 AM

    There’s been a WF threatened near here, in the People’s Republic of Bloomington, just past Bloomingfoods, but we’ll pass. We were raised on Velveeta, peanut butter and Wonder Bread and we just crested 70 years on this blue marble.

  • ghostsniper April 19, 2018, 10:35 AM

    @Gnawbonejack, Haven’t had me a good tenderloin in quite a while, may have to make a trip out your way soon.

  • Teri Pittman April 19, 2018, 11:43 AM

    I go to the local place, Chuck’s Produce. Yeah they have some overpriced stuff, and they are Adventists, so no pork products. Their produce, organic or otherwise, is excellent. You can get full boxes of damaged apples for $5 when they have them. They have great sales too. We got a full box of baker potatoes last year for $5. Best of all, 10% off for geezers on Tuesdays!

  • Snakepit Kansas April 20, 2018, 3:46 PM

    Recently had some elk tenderloin and it was very fine.

  • amused April 20, 2018, 5:59 PM

    Around where I am, the other stores are typically quite a ways out, crowded and a bit skanky or more overpriced than WFM. If you go in with a short list and stick to it, they can be pretty good. You pay a bit more, you get a bit more service – e.g. they’ll sell you 3 ounces of some fancy cold cut, chop half of an already packaged cheese where there’s some loss from every cut, etc.
    It’s not the best possible stuff, not always better than a standard supermarket, but it is generally less hassle. Of course if you do regular grocery shopping at WF, you must like burning $$.
    also, their coffee is very good.

  • ghostsniper April 21, 2018, 4:25 AM

    Lucky dawg.

  • Colin the little brown emoji April 21, 2018, 6:33 AM

    My asian friend calls it “Whore foods” and it sounds perfectly natural…

  • donner April 22, 2018, 11:38 AM

    My last and final visit occurred when I stopped by one of the desert sample tables for some raspberry cobbler (?). It was delish! I noticed on the shelf below they had moved two plates with only edge and corners my favorite. After I had waited for ten minutes to get waited on- I was going to buy them. So I rescued them. As I was lifting a corner from the second tray, some lady accused me of grazing, GRAZING! I told her I was willing to pay for a whole tray, but was directed to leave immediately and told that my kind was not welcome there. And so it goes…