Lost in Whole Foods

This, from McSweeney’s (original HERE), may bring a chuckle:


By Kira Jane Buxton

Mrs. Germann, could you please come to the front? Your husband is lost and waiting at customer service for you to collect him. He says he promises that he initially remembered the three things you asked him to get: kale, Irish butter and some other stuff. He went in search of the kale, but got confused upon finding dandelion greens and chard, which looked shadily like kale and all the other land seaweeds. He says he is baffled that dandelion greens are masquerading as an exorbitant superfood when he is forced to spend his weekends nuking them with RoundUp. He says as a direct result of his revulsion at these shriveled lettuces, he panicked and loaded up a nearby cart with “all the weeds.” Then he got distracted by a fruit that called itself a deviled horn melon because it sounded awesome and looked like a weapon from Game of Thrones. That one is still in the cart because it’s baller and he says he’s not putting it back. You can’t make him.

He found the Irish butter section, but didn’t know whether you wanted the one with the salt or what. Is it cheaper to put in your own salt bits? He figures it is and has nabbed a Himalayan neti pot salt bag. He says you’re welcome.

He then tried to find you to ask about the mountain of weeds he was hoarding, Mrs. Germann, but got distracted in the frozen food section by beef-free beefy crumbles, chicken-less chicken nuggets and what this meant existentially.

He says then he thought he saw you, but it turned out to be another lady who wears purple Lululemons and stocks up on organic tahini like we’re in a post-Cold War recession. He felt embarrassed for manhandling a total stranger in his desperation and quickly dashed to the area that sold venison nuggets for cats that have the same monetary value as a new kidney. He says his hands were getting cold and stiff from gripping the stupid salt-less Irish butter and he couldn’t find you, or remember the third item and it was starting to feel lonely in this Whole Foods that is only slightly smaller than the state of Nebraska.

Then a woman offered him brownie samples that tasted like sunscreen and since they were free he had twelve miniature cups of blackberry-hibiscus chia drink that looked like frogspawn while another woman offered him fermented cod liver oil pills that cost the same as a Playstation. Another nice lady in a white hat was offering small cups of toe-food curry which sounded gnarly, but he tried the toad-food anyway and liked it, but then he started to feel guilty realizing there is a whole subculture of freeloading snackers that no one is talking about and it’s a serious problem! He’s on to those grape grabbers! Twisted by guilt, he says he lobbed a gluten-free zucchini cake, a $14 granola bar and a cranberry feta log onto the mountain of weeds in his cart and tried not to look anyone in the eye, ignoring offers of help while speeding down the aisles, staring at his shoes and running over small children with his cart. A guy in the meat department said, “Can I get you something?” He panicked and said, “Meat?” and then ran away at top speed, cranberry feta log spearheading the retreat.

He says he honestly thought you were going to stay in aisle five, but you were gone. So then he went to the “safe spot” you both decided on in between the beer and the artisanal cheese and his palms were sweaty and he had a sample of Guinness cheddar, which cheered him up a bit but he took in the plethora of microbrews around him and felt a sense of doom.

[Adult male sobs in background]

He says there are too many to choose from! How will he ever drink them all or remember which ones he liked. And they bring in new ones every week! He wants you to know that he’s knackered and he felt overwhelmed when a staff member told him that almonds can be milked and that he himself would have to massage the kale. He says he was excited to show you the hedge of mint he gathered to make mojitos, but I’ve just pointed out that it’s actually cilantro which he hates even more than the satanic phallus that calls itself a banana. He solemnly swears that from now on he is happy to live on Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other non biodegradable Hostess products.

Mrs. Germann, it now appears your husband has passed out in a bulk bin of couscous. Please come and retrieve him now.


14 comments on “Lost in Whole Foods

  1. shoreacres says:

    This isn’t really a point of pride, but… I’ve never been in a Whole Food store. Well, that’s not strictly true. I went into one in the middle of Houston many years ago, after they took over my very favorite bookstore –a store that had repurposed one of the historic movie theatres in town. I wasn’t happy about losing the bookstore, but I thought I should at least check out Whole Foods.

    I don’t remember much about the visit, except that I didn’t recognize half the products, and didn’t buy a thing. I finally left when I picked up a loaf of artisanal bread and saw the $7 price tag. Oh, me. Many years later, I laughed the first time I heard the nickname, “Whole Paycheck.”


    • Bill says:

      I went in one once several years ago. Interesting experience.

      We joke that lots of people go there to buy things like organic pop tarts. There are folks around here who drive an hour to shop there, but never come to the farmers market.

      Cherie went there a few times in the past because you can buy grains in bulk there (like the bulk bin of couscous into which Mr. Germann passed out). She said the prices for those are reasonable and they weren’t available anywhere else. But now she gets them through a co-op–even less expensive.


  2. Loved this :), it encapsulates everything I’ve heard about the shopping experience there. Whole Foods is a recent arrival to Canada, and you can pretty much guess where our most expensive real estate is based on the locations: 5 stores in Vancouver BC, 5 in Toronto ON or suburbs, and 1 in Ottawa (the national capital). Average detached house price in Vancouver – $1.8 million (CAD), Toronto $1.2 M. There is one being built in Victoria (BC) where I live, due to open before the end of the year (avg house price $770,000). I find a gentle irony in the fact that it is in the same complex as one of the two Walmarts in town.


    • Bill says:

      I’m sure Whole Foods has been a benefit in some ways, but I think it (and other stores like it) contribute to supporting the false belief that nutritious high-quality food is a privilege of the affluent. On the other hand, their popularity and success probably helped motivate traditional grocery stores to start offering more organic food options.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, this was seriously funny only because it’s true with a little embellishment to make for a better story. I did visit a Whole Foods store some years ago when it first came to my city. I was totally under dressed and under funded. Some of the products that were on the shelves were exactly the same as at Walmart. As your article indicated, the prices were just a bit out of my range. It’s difficult for me to imagine those stores actually continue to thrive with such prices. Quite frankly, I don’t trust the term Organic in the food market. The government has so demolished the meaning of the word for food growers that it means nothing to me any more.

    Thanks for giving us a light humorous post to laugh about. Have a great day in the garden.


    • Bill says:

      I can sympathize with the man in the story. I don’t go into stores very often but I know what it’s like to be paralyzed by the ridiculous number of options. Our favorite grocery store for the few items we need is Aldi. I don’t know if you have Aldi in Nebraska yet, but they’ve opted for simplification and that suits our personalities much better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dearest Bill,
    In this hilarious story there is SO much truth in!
    We are way too spoiled by endless choices.
    I prefer a simplified lifestyle.


    • Bill says:

      Me too Mariette. I posted once about my experience when I went to the store to buy some shampoo (normally my wife does the shopping). To my great surprise there were literally dozens, maybe even a hundred, options to choose from. I just wanted some shampoo. I had no idea what to do. I had to phone her from the store, in distress, for help. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny, Bill. My father-in-law, now passed away, would only eat iceberg lettuce. Everything else was weeds and he could never understand why people would buy them. I was actually in a Whole Foods store last week and bought a bottle of wine. I don’t think it was organic. 🙂 –Curt


  6. Kate says:

    I love McSweeney’s, don’t love Whole Foods. Thanks for sharing 🙂


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