Sunshine on my face, lungs full of fresh air, I carried my groceries to my car. I was almost skipping, my feet barely touching the ground. My Whole Foods shopping trip was once again a fulfilling experience. From the blessed moment I placed my hands on my shopping cart, I was transformed into a healthy and environmentally conscious shopper, not only for myself, but for my family, and gosh darn it, for the Universe.
I grabbed my savings flyer printed on recyclable paper and felt the same thrill as winning on a scratch ticket when I saw all my Whole Foods faves were on sale. I ran into a friend there that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and I know we each sensed the pride we felt being scene shopping there. We were, after all, sharing a bond as elevated and educated consumers.
I filled my wagon with fresh baked crusty bread, and a triple creme brie so heavenly only the devil could have made it. And those green olives infused with garlic and lemon went so well with the bread and cheese, and so good for us! There was salmon filet on sale for the same price as my regular boring grocer except it actually looked fresh and delicious. I got my son his protein powder, and my husband and I two very fairly priced bottles of wine. My yogurt was also on sale, as well as many luscious organic produce items. But silly me, that’s redundant, of course – I was in the organic land of Whole Foods!
While I pushed my cart around, humming the soundtrack from “The Sound of Music,” I leisurely browsed through locally made clothing, fresh cut flowers, yoga mats – what can’t you buy here that isn’t good for your well being, I mean seriously?
What you need to understand is I hate grocery shopping. When I walk into my regular mundane supermarket, I have my list and my coupons. I order my deli items on the machine so I don’t have to watch in slow motion as they slice everyone’s cold cuts. I make the greatest effort to go when I know it will be quiet at the store. As I’m leaving, I dread that I will have to go back in a week if I can even make it that long without buying more mediocre food.
So then what the heck is it about shopping at Whole Foods that is so exciting?
Let’s face it, many people feel like I do. Grocery shopping can be a thankless task. The more you buy, the more your family eats. no matter what, you have to go back, and always sooner than you hoped. And one thing it never does is cost less.
I’m sure the smart folks at Whole Foods have figured this out, and wisely designed their grocery boutique accordingly. Where I enter, there’s a fresh made-to-order sushi station and a coffee and espresso bar. Conveniently next to that is a cart of lovely bakery cookies and pastries that you can put in your own little bakery box. And can we talk about the samples? Lordy, Lordy! By the time I am done tasting and shopping in this chic environment, I don’t really care what it costs me.
Even using the bathroom is an experience. The lights conserve energy. There are options on how much water you use to flush. The toilet paper is recycled, and the sink is an all inclusive no touch device – soap, rinse, dry. Like I am looking around for Mrs. Jetson in there, alright?
A few years after my divorce when I was finally feeling grounded financially, one of my goals became to be able to do all of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods. What I’ve realized over time is that going to Whole Foods is a luxury for me. It’s a refreshing change of pace, and a reminder that I have the money to buy the nourishing things I like there. But at my house we aren’t vegans or vegetarians and I don’t feel compelled to buy everything organic. And although I try to gear my family towards the concept of quality vs. quantity, I have a husband, and kids who have friends, and they can go through a lot of chips, and mac and cheese, and apples, milk, cereal and bread.
I also know that as much as a visit by myself to Whole Foods is as good or better than a solid therapy session, I would feel differently about either of these activities if they became weekly chores. So I will continue to splurge once a month or so on my designer groceries. And that will help make my weekly visits to the not so super supermarket a little more tolerable.