Whole Food Shoppers Are Rude.

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I buy my family’s groceries mostly at large chain supermarkets like Giant and Safeway. When you go through eight gallons of milk each week, economy is essential. But the freezing cold aisles and excessive neon lighting ruins the shopping experience for me – I’m in and out as fast as possible.

 

Every month or so I splurge at the Whole Foods a few blocks up the street from the mega-markets. The one in my neighborhood has the most wonderful organic strawberries, lettuce medleys, and the yummy turkey meatballs my three kids pop in their mouths like bonbons. I often take my six-year-old because she loves sampling the exotic cheeses, cut kiwi and jicama that are in scarce supply in our household. The colorful, holistic atmosphere at Whole Foods (along with all the organic cotton baby clothes and endangered species stuffed animals) makes the place feel extremely welcoming and child-friendly.

 

But here’s the unpleasant, repeat reality: my fellow shoppers at Whole Foods look at my curly haired munchkin as if she were a rat carrying bubonic plague. Meeting their gaze, I offer my best “isn’t she cute” mama-smile. Without fail the well-coiffed, well-heeled patrons sniff, turn away, and scowl as if children should not be permitted to despoil the holy land of fresh figs, kumquats and Fat Bastard wine. (I have to note that Whole Foods employees always grin warmly at the smallest Whole Foodies.)
Now I understand there are places where kids can wreak havoc and legitimately should not venture. I do not take my six year old to the opera at the Kennedy Center, where she might well ruin the evening for everyone (including me). Same experience combining children with a costly restaurant meal, as babies do not go well with béchamel sauce. Or the first class section on an airplane, where I have never taken kids but I have witnessed richer-than-me parents doing. I once led my troop into Neiman Marcus for 30 seconds before realizing my mistake. No matter how beatifically behaved, children do not belong in certain venues. And of course it is understandable (although definitely not nice) to shoot an annoyed glance at a toddler wailing in the Amtrak Quiet Car or one with green boogers streaming out his nose. But I feel like shouting at the haughty Whole Foods patrons: this place is called Whole Foods because we’re buy life-sustaining food at here, not Limoges china or high-end stereo components!

 

cgbailey
03.04.09

I actually took my hypno-birthing class at whole foods. It was set up in their area where they do cooking classes no less. Now the funniest thing was that the walls around the classroom are glass so you can see in, ohhh how interesting, look at that neat food, lets take a class attitude. But how funny would that have been in your area to have the snoots look in and see a full video of a birth!

Corbinmama
02.28.09

I have found a great way to avoid this dilemna. I have been shopping at a great store on line for more eco-friendly and natural products. I love the quality, convenience and the price. They even have a cool business aspect.... check it out at : www.BusyMomsBiz.com

Mommy Esq
02.26.09

If you ever travel outside of the Beltway, the WF in Vienna is wonderful and kid-friendly. Plus, it is right next to the W&OD trail, an ideal place for kids to safely run around and blow off some steam.

SolsMama
02.14.09

I think it def depends on the area. I love the Whole Foods in my area (both of them actually)! Everyone working is always extremely friendly and helpful and the customers seem to mind their business if not give a friendly smile in my kids direction. There are definetly snots but I think you'll run across the Kid Anti's everywhere ya go. Can't blame um', I used to be one of them.

leslie morgan s...
02.12.09

Leslie Morgan Steiner

I have to say I am relieved and encouraged by all the GOOD stories about Whole Foods. Because that is the way shopping there SHOULD be. I think that is what the store tries to be. But perhaps on a local level some strange mix of income, demographics, and lack of children in the neighborhood makes some of them snotty. It's not Whole Foods per se -- it is the people who shop at the one in my 'hood, and they would be just as mean no matter where I met them.

nabbie
02.11.09

Luckily I do not have a Whole Foods store anywhere near me, or I would be flipping my bitch attitude. One thing I don't tolerate is someone mis-treating my kids. Even if it is just a snared look. I almost bitch-slapped the photographer at Sears last year for mishandling my step-sons head. She kept yanking on him to sit straight. I understand that photographing 100 screaming brats all day long when your barely 16 yourself, but hey that's what I pay $300 for! If you can't hack it, get another f#@$%&* job!!!! I have NO patience with other people who don't have patience with kids...especially mine!!!

cevillia
02.11.09

I agree with workingmomofthree: It seems like resentment of children is pervasive in our society. Or maybe that is just my experience living in NYC. (It has gotten a little better since we moved to Brooklyn.)

But I have to say that all of the Whole Foods I've been to in the city have been very kid-friendly. When I lived in Manhattan, and my son was under a year old, we shopped at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle nearly every week. During my maternity leave, that outing was a saving grace. They had a bathroom, a changing table, tables where I could eat a nice lunch but where no one would be offended by baby cries, and when my son was older, he loved sitting in the buggy. (He still does.)

Now, we live very far from a Whole Foods and can only go there for a few luxury items every so often, but, for me, it is still a guaranteed oasis in the city for hungry moms needing to shop, eat, pee, or breastfeed.

vicki7178
02.11.09

My Whole Foods is great for kids, at both in my neighborhood there has never been a problem and one of them that is larger even has a children's area with a table and games they can play with. They even have babyfood tastings and mommy/baby yoga demos. Just ignore the snooty people there that are staring you down, moms have a right to shop too...and we can't always do it without the kids in tow :)

geekymummy
02.11.09

Our whole foods is always full of kids, I'd go there more often is it wasn't for budegtary constraints. My daughter prefers trader joes though. I think she is a little freaked out by the full body tattoos and facial peircings that seem to be compulsory attire for the sales associates at whole foods in san francisoc

oaklandmom
02.10.09

I completely agree with Leslie. My fellow Whole Foods shoppers can be less than friendly, though I've never considered that to be a reflection on my kids (who I try not to bring with me). The Berkeley (CA) store where I shop is full of enviro-conscious types who seem to take their produce just a bit too seriously. And I have never had a friendly cashier in all my years of going there.