What shopping at Whole Foods Market can do to a man’s psyche.
Every once in a while we have to spoil ourselves. During my college years in Seattle, my then-girlfriend and I would go on monthly excursions to Whole Foods Market. There was something adventurous about these trips. Perhaps it could have been the warm sense of domesticity we both felt from grocery shopping alongside one another, or the fact that we had to borrow a roommate’s car just to get to the destination. But I think more than anything it was the fact that we were two relatively broke college students shopping at a ridiculously overpriced yuppie grocery store. We welcomed the irony with open arms.
While we would always shop at the weekly farmers markets, there was something different about Whole Foods. When I walked into the store, I could sense the First World Problems flowing out of the customers. The unmistakable scent of impending mid-life crises and infidelity captivated me. It was a spectacle. Mothers angered because they couldn’t get their Pilates session in that morning, fathers spending as much time as possible wandering the aisles so that they wouldn’t have to return home to their families just yet, and children complaining about having to endure yet another bag of kale chips for snacks. The whole organic circus that is Whole Foods Market entertained me in the most depressing way possible.
Graham Gremore sent along this short animation video he made on his Whole Foods Market experiences. This piece, entitled (Ass) Whole Foods, illustrates my sentiments completely.
Gremore’s animation makes me think of a wonderful speech by the late David Foster Walllace entitled “This is Water…” The speech, which Foster Wallace delivered for the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College, discusses what it means to be a well-adjusted person. In the speech, Wallace argues that a liberal arts education gives people the necessary tools to live one’s life in a more fulfilling and compassionate manner for oneself and one’s peers. I like to listen to the speech, which is posted below, at least once every few months to help me never lose sight of what’s important to me: That we’re all in this together. Who would have guessed that shopping at Whole Foods Market was in a sense a sociological road test for my liberal arts education?
Whole Foods seems to be a polarizing topic here at the Good Men Project:
Tom Matlack wrote about his hatred for Whole Foods Market in the succinctly titled Why I Hate Whole Foods.
Greg White went the opposite direction in his article entitled Why I Shop at Whole Foods.
Who knew grocery stores made people so conflicted?