Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whole Foods

I used to shop at Whole Foods a lot, mostly because at the time they seemed to be the best option for organic and/or unusual foods. Well, I take that back, they were after the little mom&pop health food store a half mile away was competed out of business by the mega WF.

More recently, I have generally avoided them, or gone just for specific ingredients that I can't find elsewhere or need to have soon. I really do appreciate the variety they offer and the quality of the products, but I just can't get over their pretentiousness. In reality, they are a large corporation packaging and selling components of a (allegedly, at least) healthy lifestyle at high prices to make as big a profit for their shareholders as possible. No matter what principals they were founded upon, as a publicly traded company, that is their goal.

In my estimation, they are in many ways they are a big step above, say, Safeway, but I don't expect it to last. The last few times I've been there, I've encountered the same hyperartificial politeness from their employees that says nothing but, "I really don't want to be here, but I have to be nice to you because it's company policy." This is all in stark contrast to my (former) neighborhood market, Cosentinos. They offer superb quality, reasonable (though not bargain) prices, and employees who seem to genuinely enjoy taking care of their customers' needs. I wish I still lived close to them, because I really felt like they were committed the wellbeing of the community.

When shopping at Whole Foods, I feel the same way I do when shopping at a place like Walmart (which, thankfully, has not happened in years) or Starbucks, who also claim to contribute to the local community.

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