They don’t even have grocery stores anymore, at least not around here. They have “convenience stores”, which are little neighborhood markets, where people from exotic countries smile at you from behind the counter, while ringing up milk prices suggesting that the Mob has its fingers in everyday comestibles.
Then, of course, there are supermarkets, advertising "Lowest Prices Anywhere”, complete with coupons you can scissors out of the paper for a discount on bananas.
And then there’s the place where I shop: Whole Foods, whose specialty is, as the Home Page proclaims: “Highest Quality Of Organic Products”, though a more honest slogan would be,
“Shop Here If You Don't Want To Die.”
Whole Foods sells longevity, if not guaranteed, then at least vouched for in scientific studies or magazine articles, suggesting that your lifespan can be meaningfully extended with the regular consumption of the items filling their shelves – vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, and just plain healthier (and “greener”) versions of the foods and household products you can buy much cheaper virtually anywhere else.
They also have cute names. When their pipes get clogged (that is not a euphemism; I’m talking about actual pipes), Whole Foods shoppers get things flowing again with a plumbing product called “Drainbow.”
Everything at Whole Foods is organic, which I believe means somebody grew it someplace. And maybe didn’t spray it. Which is why the apples have been known to have these unattractive little wormholes in them. A small price to pay, purists would claim, for a pesticide-free piece of fruit. Just close your eyes and eat around them. (No easy task when your eyes are closed.)
My acupuncturist suggests I avoid wheat and dairy. Whole Foods is stocked with tons of alternatives – brown rice bread, brown rice cereal, brown rice chips, brown rice crackers, tapioca brown rice hot dog buns (for my turkey and veggie hotdogs), soy milk, almond milk, rice milk (I don’t know if it’s brown rice milk) and goat’s milk.
Whole Foods also sells pomegranate juice and Selenium, the consumption of which, a friend informed me, mitigates prostate concerns. (I additionally take a second supplement, suggested by my doctor for the same issue, prompting my prostate to remark,
“What’s this guy trying to do? Live forever?”
Whole Foods is no mere Health Food store, which are generally rickety affairs, serviced by employees who invariably look less healthy than I do. This is a full-on “miles of aisles” supermarket, with a substantial “Prepared Food “area – featuring vegan dishes, rotisserie chickens without spices, and gluten free apple cobbler. The store also has the most helpful “Customer Service” people I have ever met.
“I’m not sure if these are the brown rice seaweed chips I bought the last time.”
“Would you like me to open a bag, so you can taste them?”
Okay, enough describing. As luck would have it, the Whole Foods Experience has been captured in a music video, which nails down the ambience of the place far better than I can.
This is no “Hidden Treasure” I’m turning you on to. The site has been visited by over two million Youtubers. Hopefully, you guys were not among them. But even if you were, it’s still a hoot to watch again.
All right, folks. Haul out your reusable shopping bags, and off we go.