======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
It just took me 45 minutes to buy a single bag of cauliflower rice at Whole Foods, and I. Am. Fuming. Did I make mistakes? Of course. My first mistake was going to Whole Foods at all, something I almost never do. In between the outrageous prices, insufferable people, and the purposefully esoteric product names (Seriously? “Veganic Sprouted Ancient Maize Flakes?” That’s what they’re calling corn flakes?), that grocery store is a fucking nightmare, even on the best days. And I did not go on the best day.
I went on Sunday. At 6 p.m. Primetime. My second mistake. The aisles were packed with parents, screaming kids who were probably named something like Luna or Christof, and late-twenties couples fighting over which identical, overpriced gelato to get. Even for a Sunday, however, it seemed packed. Like, over-capacity-for-the-fire-code packed. But why? Why was this brand new, allegedly-the-second-largest-Whole-Foods-in-the-nation packed?
Because its 2018, and grocery stores are no longer just grocery stores. They’re now an experience, and it’s ruining my ability to shop. This Whole Foods not only sells groceries; it also houses a bakery, a deli, three restaurants, a wine bar, a seafood bar, a pizza kitchen, an Amazon post office, and an ice cream shop. That’s way too many things to offer in one location, especially a location where people are trying to push giant carts around.
And this isn’t just contained to Whole Foods. Mariano’s offers cooking classes, sports bars in the middle of the store, and to-go wine to drink while you shop. Hell, even Target has jumped on board the “shopping experience” with to-go wine. And I’m fucking sick of it.
Here’s what I want when I go food shopping: To get in, have room to fit through the aisles, toss my weekly groceries (ground turkey, pasta, sauce, avocados, cauliflower rice, and several frozen mini corn dog packs) in my cart, pay the cashier, and get the fuck out of the store in under 20 minutes. I’m not there for an “experience,” I’m there to trade my money for food so I can eat. It’s a simple transaction that all you bougie bitches have been making a complicated mess.
Why do you need this experience to be fulfilling? Do you require a glass of wine to sip on while you buy a shirt? Does your dry cleaner offer ironing classes? Then why the grocery store? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of all of these services and products, but in separate locations. I love eating at restaurants, but have no desire to eat at a restaurant in a grocery store. Are people going there because they love the vibe of airport dining, but sadly have no trips planned?
Do I like going to cooking classes? Of course. I’ve got a sushi-making one coming up that I’m stoked on. Do I want to take that same class, except this time I’m in a loud warehouse with people bumping me with carts? Not at all. And finally, what’s with the wine? I think we all know I enjoy a good glass of… well, any alcohol. But sure, wine as well. Catching a nice buzz? Big fan. And yet, there are parts of my life during which I don’t feel the need to drink alcohol, and grocery shopping is one of them. (The movie theatre is another, but that’s the topic of a whole other article entitled “Stop Making The Theater Fancier, Just Make Tickets Cheaper”). The grocery store is not a location I need to truly savor with a nice glass of pinot grigio. Grocery shopping isn’t a day at the spa; it’s a fucking trip to a warehouse that stores my food.
The point is, not everything has to be a full-fledged experience. It’s okay to just offer groceries. It’s okay to want to get in and out of a store as fast as possible and not spend two-and-a-half hours perusing, tasting, and hanging out. Grocery stores are just that — stores that sell groceries. If you want to go out to eat, go to a restaurant. If you want to go watch the game and get a beer, go to a bar. If you want frozen yogurt, go to a Yogurtland. And let my hungover ass get my groceries and go back to my couch..