This could qualify as a rant, but it’s probably not meaty enough. I’m getting thoroughly disgusted with the place, for reasons old and new, and if Natural Grocers (our neighborhood organic grocery store, which is awesome for so many reasons, which I’ll probably flesh out in a future post) had a fresh meats and fish counter, I’d probably abandon Whole Foods Market altogether.
Usually, grocery shopping, for us, is a 2-player game; I do the driving (or supervise my partner’s driving, as a condition of his license) and he braves the interior of the store, doing the shopping while I hang out with a radio and my phone in the car/truck.
Thus, I hadn’t actually stepped foot inside our local Whole Foods (or any Whole Foods, for that matter) in a long time. I’ve long since given my system a pass; my partner seems to handle the experience relatively unscathed. And I certainly hadn’t gone inside since the grocery chain was acquired by Amazon.
Having beefs and bones to pick with Whole Foods is nothing new; I’d noticed the increasing homage to the faceless shareholders encroach upon our shopping experience over the years, leaving only bitter(er) tastes in our mouths and wistful memories of what once was.
It looks like Whole Foods has continued its decline. Since it’d been a long time since I’d seen the inside of the place, I can’t tell if the Amazon buyout had much to do with it or not. But either way, it’s starting to suck a little more each time and reinforce my decision to stay outside for fear of losing what little remnants remain of my faith in humanity. Yeah, it’s getting that bad lol.
Like sheeple, we start our grocery shopping excursions in the produce section because it’s right there when you walk in and, well, we usually need a lot of it.
Their produce section shrank. Seriously. And it came at the expense of organic produce. As in, for example, Red Delicious apples. The organic variety, once a year-round staple, there were none to be found this time around. No organic Red Delicious apples. That’s like saying there are no school supplies at Target or no clothing at Walmart. Just–WTF??
I noticed that the produce section had shrunk in favor of–to make room for–more bulk food items. Now normally that sounds pretty cool, but in contemporary reality, it isn’t. We’re not talking about cool, useful, reasonably priced, healthy bulk foods; we’re talking about overpriced junk food–for instance, chocolate-coated, salted peanuts that aren’t even organic, for instance that costs $12.99 USD per pound. Yep, they took away an entire stand of about 8-10 varieties of organic apples…for shit like that.
Next order of disappointment – now that I no longer buy Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, they have truck-loads of them. But the Theo dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I actually like and buy? Nothing. Oh they have tons of the (disgusting, to me) milk chocolate variety, but a big goose egg on the dark chocolate. Despite the fact that we put in a standing biweekly personal order, including our phone number to notify us when the shipment arrived (which they never did; Whole Foods royally sucks when it comes to personal orders), they never had them–in the back room or on the shelves. It’s almost as if they said, “wait–somebody likes those and wants to buy tons of them? Quick!–Stop carrying them! Wait until they give up. Better yet, wait until they don’t eat them anymore. Then we’ll go back to carrying them by the gross metric ton!”
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
No wonder they were starting to fail. We can’t be the only people to whom this was happening.
We meandered through the store, working our way to the other side, past the wine bar, which was bustling with Happy Hour (seriously? “Hi I’m sitting here having Happy Hour at a grocery store, because I’m a Lexus-driving yuppie loser”?), and I thought, good– I can finally get my chocolate almond milk (another very-common staple).
Not to be had. True to Whole Foods form, they had mounds of every other flavor (Regular Unsweetened, Vanilla Unsweetened, etc), but zero chocolate (by now my phone is starting to predict “chocolate” after practically every word I type, which is probably a telltale sign of a chocolate fixation lol). They were completely out. Zip. Nada.
Getting thirsty (September might bring autumn for the rest of the country, but we still deal with summer-esque temps and the humidity can reach high percentages), I stopped by the refrigerated shelves of single-serve, impulse-buy beverages. I was going to grab one, pay for it at the register, and take it out to the car, making an early escape while my partner finished the shopping.
This section, too, had undergone some serious shrinkage. As in, their previously-decent beverage selection had been encroached upon by organic Lunchable-style meals in clear plastic rectangular cubes for yuppies on the go. As a result, the choices were narrowed down to primarily “probiotic” type drinks–the ones that taste too much like vinegar and make me a little queasy within the first few sips.
I was about ready to give up when I found my favorite canned green tea brand, only to find that their subcategorical choices had suffered the shrink-ray, too. No peach?? They had always carried peach! Giving in instead of giving up, I reached for the berry type (the next best thing) and defeatedly made my way to the checkout lanes. At least they had enough of those open for once.
Ever the unconventionally sweet guy, my partner went back up to Whole Foods today, only to find that in a moment of what I can only call a slip of their (frustrating) minds, they actually had the Theo dark chocolate peanut butter cups (omg, my phone is really catching on now). And when he got home and I bit into one, it was entirely stale, as though it had been allowed to overheat and then cool back down again. They tasted positively shitty.
The one thing that Whole Foods still has going for it is their relatively generous, no-questions-asked return policy. Although now that Amazon calls the shots, I’m not holding my breath.