August 11, 2007

Okay, Whole Foods-lovers, don’t go getting your organic sustainably-harvested cotton undies in a knot — I like their stuff just fine, especially their insanely wonderful selection of chantrelles and their salmon-cream cheese spread and their mango salsa. I do, however, reserve the right to bitch about 1) their Kleenex selection, which is limited to Seventh Generation and I don’t care how great that shit is for the earth, it will rip your nose-flesh right the hell off, and 2) the fact that I can’t make it out of there without spending at least $100.

Oh, and the shopping experience itself kind of blows. Maybe it’s just my local store, but my fellow shoppers always seem to be sort of . . . you know when you’re pushing your cart down an aisle, and there’s someone standing smack dab in the middle staring at the selection of Spinach-Paprika Puffs or whatever, and they don’t move? Until you finally clear your throat and say, “Excuse me,” and they have the nerve to look annoyed? I don’t know, my store seems full of these folks, and I can tell you from personal experience that if you try and squeeze your cart as close to the edge of the aisle as possible so you don’t cause any further annoyance to Healthy McShithead, the eagle-eyed toddler in your cart seat is going to end up shoplifting at least seven cans of Annie’s Certified Organic “P’sghetti Loops with Soy Meatballs” , which he is not even going to EAT.

Anyway! Enough about Whole Freaking Foods. Did you know I grow my own tomatoes and thus am a fine upstanding citizen after all? Well, sure, they’re green and tiny and seem to be suffering from some sort of blight, but still. Why, if I had to live off the land . . . um, yeah, we’d be fucked. Can you grow a Two-Bite Brownie plant? I’m just wondering.

Also, the boy has entered a new stage of toddlerhood. I call it All Weird, All The Time.

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Bianca
Bianca
15 years ago

Love that last picture! Love it!

Sara
15 years ago

I have just had the most long, craptastic day. That last picture made me laugh so hard, I woke up my husband. Thanks for the awesome post.

Liz
Liz
15 years ago

Healthy McShithead. I love this. I am going to rip it off in conversation again and again and again. I will credit you for it though.

Leah
15 years ago

I imagine going to Whole Foods is like going to Berkeley Bowl, oue local organic-schmorganic market, which most people have an orgasm over if you just so much as mention its name. I hate going there because everyone acts like they’re the only person in the whole store–or they’re entitled to be the only person there–and I seem to develop some exciting and new personal-space boundary issue every time I go there. Alas, it’s the only place to buy sushi-grade fish, and so I strap on my spiked tennis shoes, don the helmet, and head on in.

Jamie
15 years ago

The Whole Foods shoppers here in Chicago are just as bad, but they try and hide it under a thick veil of “midwestern nice.” For whatever reason, they feel entitled to the store and all that is in it…and whenever I try to get between them and their fifty minute inspection of the spaghetti sauce options, or the stinkiest-cheeses-in-the-world display, I get looks you would not believe.

I would have more luck walking into the store, announcing at the top of my lungs, “ALRIGHT, YOU DIRTY HIPPIES. ALL I WANT IS SOME CAJUN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND SUKI FACE LOTION. YOU CAN ALL KISS MY ORGANIC, ALL-NATURAL, LILY WHITE ASS.”

Mary
15 years ago

We have those at Trader Joe’s too. They park their cart, blocking access to about four feet of shelf, and then stand there looking thoughtful. If you have the audacity to reach around them and get the thing they’re right in front of, they give you *the look.* I feel like handing out tickets telling them they’re too clueless to shop at TJs, and would they please take their business elsewhere.

Cara
15 years ago

Payton’s started with the wearing of the shoes too. He’s even tried to get his 5-month-old sister’s shoes on. The funniest is when he puts on my husbands socks and tennis shoes. The socks (which are just normal crew socks) would go well above where his legs connect to his body, so he ends up looking like he has little mummified legs.

What I find curious is that it’s August and Riley’s wearing fleece footy-pajamas. I had no idea it was that cold in the northwest at night in August. God, what I wouldn’t do for nighttime temperatures below 90 degrees!

Kate
Kate
15 years ago

My comment to the aisle-blocking shoppers is, dude, seriously, pick a side. AND THE MIDDLE IS NOT A SIDE.

canknitian
15 years ago

I love that in the second picture Dog is looking at Riley like “DUDE! WTF?!?”

tanya
tanya
15 years ago

I hear you on all fronts. And I love TJ’s and Whole Foods (sometimes I go there just to browse. I know.) I try not to be that person in the aisle. Sometimes I am. But I just get so entranced by all the stuff, I go into this other state of being where I’m completely unaware of other people. I know. I am a horrible person. But aren’t we all sometimes?

Liz
Liz
15 years ago

I just took a picture of Lilia in my black strappy heels the other day. Except she was naked.

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

Bwah! What a sweetheart!

Swistle
15 years ago

So, so funny. And then: cuteness. Great post. Good taste in shoes, Riley.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

Cute pictures! Although sometimes I think my son hasn’t outgrown that stage!

Also tomatoes are awesome, that’s all we used to grow and they’d keep growing into the fall.

Of course where our tomtato plants once were we have an old car sitting there now that my husband and his dad bought together for “Eric” when he was born and it hasn’t been touched in 5 years and is now full of hornets!

thejunebug
15 years ago

Our local farmer’s market got turned into a CrapFoods and I can tell you we do NOT SHOP THERE ANYMORE. The produce is terrible, it rots within days, and it’s all hothouse. Lovely…. not.

The only reason I go there anymore is to pick up my boxes of PG Tips tea in the England section.

You are not alone in your love-hatred of CrapFoods, trust me.

Paige
15 years ago

Heh. That is No Joke about the WF shoppers. And I would be here to back you up if I hadn’t just moved my butt to the middle if Indiana where the closest thing we have to a Whole Foods is the Saturday morning farmers market on Main St. Can you feel my longing from there?

And also, Mini JB – how cute (and big) is he?

And also, (I’ve been gone for a while getting divorced, moving, being homeless and unemployed – but I’m back now) CONGRATS on the baby-making! Woo-Hoo! And during a remodel too – who has sex during a remodel? Cheers.

Belle
Belle
15 years ago

The first pic of Riley and the last? Such a contrast, but while the last is adorable, I love the 1st in all his scowliness. My kind of kid – looks like he is studying his world and thinking of how he can fix it. I look like that everyday!

warcrygirl
15 years ago

Wow, it’s nice to know that we have our own versions of “Healthy McShitheads” where I shop. Who’d have thought you’d find those types at our local, unfriendly WalMart? LOVE the pics.

jonniker
15 years ago

I don’t mean to laugh at the Whole Foods debacle, but oh mah God, people! It’s a grocery store! A grocery store! WHERE YOU SHOP FOR FOOD! Who cares that much? I promise, you can take potshots at my local Publix and the people who shop there whenever you want.

Personal preference aside, it does grate my cheese when people fail to recognize the cost implications of shopping somewhere like Whole Foods. I’m sorry, not everyone can — or wants to — afford it for their everyday shopping, Jesus. $300 is not a reasonable grocery bill for two people, unless it includes things like lobster and filet mignon. For chrissake, that’s more than most Top Chef budgets for an event that 60 people.

Then again, I choose to drive a Honda, so apparently I know nothing of quality.

ShannonJ
ShannonJ
15 years ago

Great pictures. Looks like from that last one he’s finally gotten through the majority of teething! I was talking with a friend the other day, and it dawned on me that I can’t even remember when the second set of my daughter’s molars came through. Hopefully it will be that uneventful for Riley as well.

victoria
victoria
15 years ago

Oh yes, yes, yes! You are so right on! I refuse to shop at WF (and I don’t even care if their flax infused organic vegan barley-kale snaps help prevent heart disease) because that place is so effing pretentious, self-righteous, smug, cramped, awkward, uncomfortable, overpriced and such a bleeping SCAM! I once paid $14 for a SINGLE TOMATO there. Never again. If I’m with my husband, and he’s driving, and he pulls into their parking lot over my protests, I sit in the car and refuse to step inside, I hate the place so so so much.

Alyson
15 years ago

The boy is adorable. Did I mention I am partial to boys?

Kim
Kim
15 years ago

Ok, sorry to jump into this topic again, and I do agree that WF is, generally, more expensive than a regular store. But. Not EVERYTHING at WF is more expensive (as I noted in a previous post), but consider also that maybe they charge more in part because they (seem to) treat their employees better. My evidence is that many of the same people have worked at my WF store for YEARS, and, also, they seem relatively happy to be at work & also possess brain cells. I think these people could get other jobs (the local economy is good and offers many options), but they choose to work for WF.

WF must pay the employees better and offer better benefits to be able to attract and retain good workers for a long period of time. (Also, WF employs the Differently Abled as baggers and cart-retrievers & I have never seen this at my local chain groceries. I like this social-mindedness). I figure my higher prices go, in part, to cover WF’s good hiring & employment practices, & I am happy to support them in this.

I have not myself worked in a WF, so I reach these conclusiosn mostly on personal observation, admittedly not factual evidence. However, in high school, I worked as a cashier in a large chain grocery store, & that job sucked all kinds of ass — worst job I’ve ever had in my long list of crappy jobs, and I quit it within the 1st month. I would sooner cut my fingers off than work in another grocery store with its sucky pay, crappy employee-relations, and miserable working conditions.

Sara
15 years ago

Have you ever stopped at a New Seasons in your travels through Oregon? It’s really the best of the organic stuff and the “regular” stores. They have conventional items, like trashy cereal, but also hormone free meat. I recommend it, if you are passing through. Our daughter has tons of allergies, so (unfortunately) we have to frequent stores like WF to get some fancy, expensive stuff. I totally get what you are saying and find it funny that people get so defensive about grocery stores. Hilarious, all around!

Shannon
15 years ago

1. As others have pointed out, there’s a reason they call it Whole Paycheck! I cannot shop at that store without losing my mind on many different levels. I’ll take Trader Joe’s and heck, even my local Fred Meyer, any day.

2. My tomatoes are little and green like yours, and you wanna know why? WE’VE HAD NO EFFIN’ SUMMER HERE IN SEATTLE. No sunshine = no red tomatoes. It’s soul-crushingly depressing. Just remember that in another few weeks, if your tomatoes are still green, you can pick them off, put them in a paper bag, close it up, leave it on your kitchen counter, and they will ripen to red all on their own. So it’s not a complete wash!

3. Last photo of Riley? Best. Photo. Ever. Print that up and frame it as Christmas gifts for the grandparents and you’ll do very well indeed!

Danell
Danell
15 years ago

Boy of aaallll the topics you’ve touched on here on your site…grocery stores is the one that stirs up a debate? Seriously? Heh. That’s kinda funny. Maybe next you can bring up a touchy subject like, oh i dunno…LAWN CARE.

jonniker
15 years ago

First of all, I hope it’s understood that all of my truly snarky comments are tongue-in-cheek and that I’m not really taking this seriously. Just in case. I mean, I realize we’re talking about grocery stores.

Kim: For what it’s worth, my chain grocery store also employs the differently abled baggers are grocery cart folks, as do most that I’ve been to in other areas I’ve lived. And I LOVE my checkers at my regular grocery store – they’re treated well, they have benefits and they seem to dig their jobs. I’m not saying this necessarily in comparison to Whole Foods, I’m just saying that WF isn’t the only store that does this stuff, which makes me happy. Also then, to Sundry’s point, I have a tough time imagining that’s how they justify their higher prices.

lisa
15 years ago

Heh, if I didn’t know you were in Seattle, I’d swear you were shopping at my neighborhood WF!! My husband and I crack up every time we’re in there at all the self importance surrounding us. Funny though, we hit WF for their great beer selection! The beer guy there is a total beer snob and they have the best selection in our neighborhood. And…I heart Trader Joes too. Although the first time I went in there, I was cracking up at all the label reading going on!!

LauraH
15 years ago

See, I knew there was a good reason I refuse to set foot in Whole Foods, and limit my shopping at Trader Joe’s (whereupon I stock up on about 5 months worth of the cheesebreadsticks, only to eat them in about 3 sittings). I had the same trouble with aisle hoggers at our local Meijer store. All I wanted was to pick up some tree tar, and this ENTIRE family was hanging out in the weed and seed aisle talking about their lawn. One, how boring. Two, can’t you see that I’m trying to see around your body with the arms that you have resting on the shelves full of the stuff that I need? Grrrr… I seriously wanted to ram my cart into his shins.

Josh
15 years ago

Oh no, your assesment was correct. Whole foods is the pinacle of pretentious snobby yuppie hippie P.E.T.A-holes. Of course not every person in there is going to be a horrible unsufferable person. I shop there from time to time out of convenience, and their gigantic beer selection, so I know there are plenty of people in the store who really don’t care about saving the planet one overpriced product at a time. But the obnoxious to not-obnoxious ratio is pretty bad. But my other options are Food Lion and Walmart. Food Lion has great prices and a wonderful produce selection, but requires shoppers to peruse the aisles in Humvees, and wear bullet proof vests for their own safety. And Walmart is a decent place to shop, but requires a sherpa and a weeks worth of suplies to last you through the price slashed wilderness of horizon to horizon shopping.

Seattle Suz
15 years ago

We have seen Healthy McShithead, and he is us.

Kim
Kim
15 years ago

Hi again! Clearly, I need to spend less time on the internet.

To those who commented on the number of responses generated by this seemingly trivial subject, I think that BECAUSE it is trivial, people feel comfortable sharing their opinions. Personally, I don’t want to debate Real Things, like Iraq — it’s too serious & depressing, & potentially too personal & upsetting. (Maybe this is the reason that I prefer to get my “news” from People and Us, and to devote more brain space to Britney’s self-destructive behavior than to numbskull politicians).

Also, it’s not that Sundry’s more serious entries deserved any less of a response, but I for one always felt inadequate, somehow . . . unworthy to respond to such moving, powerful, & deeply personal entries. But — criticize my favorite source of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and Triple Threat Brownies, and I will jump in to defend it! :-)

It’s not the case across the country, but where I live the WF provides superior customer service through superior employees, & maybe I just liked to BELIEVE that this translated into better labor practices & justified higher prices. I don’t know! But I do know that for me, WF is convenient & fast and sells food (like sheep’s milk feta) that the grocery store does not. Maybe this demonstrates the low quality of local grocery stores! (No Trader Joe’s anywhere near my neighborhood). In any case, these reasons are enough to earn my regular business.

I simply wanted to give WF some props, & I am neither a hemp-wearing hippie nor a Porsche Cayenne-driving yuppie; I just really like WF. Most especially, I like their old-fashioned buttercream cake, spelt blueberry scones, orange cream biscuits, morning glory muffins, cardamom coffee cake, espresso chocolate chip cookies, lemon-pistachio cake, pecan pie cookies, white chocolate raspberry bars . . . .

Gena
Gena
15 years ago

Those are the cutest pictures. Even if he is currently strange, he is still absolutely adorable.

Also, my WF is very similar. I no longer have toddlers, but I do have young girls who love to look at EVERYTHING. We have the same folks – they won’t move, they act annoyed if you so much as dare to be in the same AISLE with them and they have absolutely no sense of humor. We also have the very large assortment of the weirdest people in Atlanta that I then have to go home and answer a billion questions about, as if I personally know them.

And, I’ve never left that store without spending $100. Never. Even if I just go in to buy some Mrs. Meyer’s cleaner.

Danell
Danell
15 years ago

I was just making a joke about the “debate” going on here…I totally meant it light-heartedly.

Jurgen Nation
15 years ago

Oh my GOD, the adorableness of those photos is quite possibly lethal. SO. CUTE.

I have to be honest: I didn’t read above about the debate. I just wanted to say AMEN regarding the people who stand in your way. These are the people who STOP at the top of an escalator, making you fall into them. These are the people who suddenly STOP to talk to his or her companion in the middle of the doorway to the store. These are the people who annoy me.

Matt and I have started talking to them. They’re oblivious, of course, but we do it anyway. For example, “Oh, we’re stopping now. Okay. Why wouldn’t we stop in the middle of the doorway blocking the rest of the shoppers from leaving. Why wouldn’t we have a conversation about where we parked the car right in this very spot. It makes complete sense and I cannot wait to do it next time we shop.” It’s one of those things you have to just try otherwise it doesn’t sound like much fun. Nay, it is very fun. Especially if they hear you and get embarrassed.

Why am I an asshat?

honeybecke
honeybecke
15 years ago

Dude. Those Two-Bite brownies are AMAZING.
I consumed many during both my pregnancies! Not always observing the two-bite rule either, I might add.
*Homer Simpson Drool*

laura
laura
15 years ago

Here in Boston the Whole Foods experience is not much different. I can’t stand shopping there for the very reasons you mention. It makes me want to kill people.

Kaire
Kaire
15 years ago

The pictures are adorable and I get that attitude from the aisle hogs at our po-dunk Sprawl-mart!

Christina
15 years ago

Hehe, I love that WF is such a “discussion” topic… WHO KNEW?!

Ah, I forgot to mention in my hippie dippy sounding last post that we buy most of our produce at the local farmer’s market spring through fall – so that makes me a co-op member and farmer’s market regular. You probably think I own something hemp and where patchouli! I don’t – just for the record. However, I do own those canvas shopping bags and carry them around with me frequently… OMG, I am like closeted hippie…

SO not what I intended to comment on – love the photos. This is such a fun time in toddler land. Okay, yeah they may throw way more intense tantrums at times but the tantrums seem to lessen to the point where the tantrums only occur if my son gets too tired or is sick. Which means we usually know when he is sick and/or tired – that is a good thing in my book.

We have a similar photo of Matthew in high heels… It is quite humorous though I think my son may not be so happy when he sixteen and those photos get out (and they will be leaked if he EVER does anything bad – I consider photos like that insurance for the future!) It freaked me out at first when he started to get this… this… personality thing. BUT OMG, he is a hoot. He makes us laugh our heads off. on a regular basis! It is lovely – or it has been for us!

JennB
JennB
15 years ago

Why do you think it’s called “Whole Paycheck” in some circles?

bad penguin
15 years ago

The Whole Foods by my office is full of people who block up the aisles and look at you in surprise when you also try to use the aisle. There have been times when I’ve left that store ready to start throwing elbows at the next person who does not get the fuck out of my way.

I love the serious expression on Riley’s face in that first photo.

Sarah
Sarah
15 years ago

Ok, I’ll go with a different tangent (although the WF comments are hilarious) – I’m very jealous of your photographic skill. We have a 4 month old boy and I have not yet been able to capture one photo that is half as cute as the ones you take (and it’s not the subject matter -he’s adorable, just like Riley!). Granted, I have a point and shoot, but still….if I shelled out the extra $$ for a fancy new camera (what do you use?), will it guarantee good shots or am I still useless? Here’s my problem – close ups indoors always require the flash – at that point, subject comes out shiny and blotchy. If I turn the flash off, everything is fuzzy. I LOVE the expressions you capture with Riley and I’d love the same for my little boy. Help me won’t you!

Becky
Becky
15 years ago

Jurgen Nation……I love it…hubby and I do the same thing….so do my sister and I..like seriously WTF??????

Mommy Daisy
15 years ago

Growing brownies! Brilliant! The person who invents thay will be set fot life.

rosie
15 years ago

Food is totally a huge topic right now! I just finished both Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan) and Animal, Vegetable Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver). I highly recommend both books – they will change the way you think about what you eat and how much you pay for it… and not in a “propaganda”-type way, either. They are both intelligent, thoughtful, well-researched books.

Anyway. I used to work at Whole Foods – in a buying position. While it’s a far from perfect company, they do treat their employees well. The pay is WELL above what you would make at a regular grocery store (and regular grocery stores are even unionized!) and they offer benefits and a nice discount right away. All employees go through an intensive 3 full days of training where you are taught about ALL the products in the store, the process of certifying and growing organic foods, the vendors and growers, etc. They put a lot of effort into educating their employees. It was a really great place to work.

Just wanted to say that :)

(No, I don’t wear hemp, patchouli, dreadlocks, have hair on my legs, drive a VW, carry one of those “I am not a plastic bag” bags, or eat vegan cheese….so people! Stop with the f*cking WF sterotypes! GOD. You’re worse than the store you claim to hate so much.)

(That wasn’t directed to you, Sundry.)

LauraH
15 years ago

And then again, broad brush smears against entire groups of bloggers, the majority of whom made no reference to a stereotype, are no better than the stereotyping that prompts them. I don’t like Whole Foods because I don’t like them. Period. :)

Jennifer
15 years ago

Sundry, save us all, put up a new blog entry so this bizarre commenter-debate will fade away to the “previous entries with no new comments” list.

Hey, how about a topic on “what is going on in the Sundry/JB household to prepare Riley for the arrival of a huge lifestyle change (and new center of the universe)?” Oh yeah and also, what kind of 2nd birthday party is Riley going to have?

sciencegeek
sciencegeek
15 years ago

My family refers to the navel-gazing mid-aisle pose people as, “entitlement clause” people. I hit them with my cart, and then apologize insincerely. They exist in all supermarkets from ghetto, where I live, to the nice shiny organic Whole Foods, where I can’t afford to shop, to the Costco where they have especially large carts to block the especially large aisles.

They will all go to hell where they will have to stand behind other people who will prevent them from accessing food, much like Tantalus experiences in Hades.

Other than that, man, the “all weird all the time” phase is incredibly awesome. I’m inspired to comment after lurking for ages. Your photos are so …. superlative, superlative, and so on.