Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Whole Foods Market - R.I.P.

I went to my friendly neighborhood Whole Foods Market the other day to notice they've done a Horrible Thing. They removed the bulk item section!!

That's really the last straw. The bulk item section is, to me, what always epitomized Whole Foods Market. That's where you could really save some money. Not to mention, reducing packaging, waste, and cutting out the middle-man. That's what Whole Foods Market has always been about.

I moved to Austin Texas in 1984 where Whole Foods Market had its beginnings. I remember shopping at the Original, One-and-Only Whole Foods Market before they expanded, got all full of themselves and high-falutin'.

It was one single store near downtown Austin on North Lamar street. (see pic) It had old, wooden floors. All the grains and beans and things were in these wooden pull-out drawers or in wooden barrels on the floor. The tofu was in one-pound blocks just sitting in a plastic bucket of water in the cooler. Probably not the most sanitary thing, but at fifty cents a pound, it was really a bargain.

The employees were all left-over Hippies from the sixties, the women wearing full-length skirts probably made from old curtains. The veggies were really organic; gnarly, dirt-covered carrots just donated from someone's garden like God intended.

The place had character.
It had a purpose.
You felt good just being there.

I used to be happy that Whole Foods had expanded everywhere; it was like seeing an old friend.
But now I have no reason to go there.

Gone are the good deals now that the bulk items, the last vestige of the original WFM, have been replaced by packaged truffels and the like.

Gone are the nice Hippie cashiers with names like "Coriander" who've been replaced by kids with way too many tattoos and no concept of customer service.

Gone are the VW buses in the parking lot that have been replaced by gas-guzzling SUVs plastered with Support the Troops bumper stickers (which is a horrible case of irony in itself).

Boy, what I wouldn't give for a simple parsnip, preferably with clods of dirt still hanging on the root hairs.



At 3:27 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I have never been to a Whole Foods (or as my BIL refers to it, Whole Paycheck). But my co-op, which sells everything else for $412/pound has a wicked good bulk section.

At 5:52 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Lorraine, I'll take you to a Whole Paycheck Market whilst you're here. You'll appreciate Trader Joe's even more after that.


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