Many years ago, I used to shop at Whole Foods exclusively (Fresh Fields, actually, pre-merger; that’s how old-school I am.) I somehow managed to buy groceries there for the three of us in the household on a $475 paycheck while paying $650 in rent, among other things. Shrug, I dunno. Maybe making meals from scratch, even with organic ingredients, is cheaper than buying prepackaged stuff or dining out. Never mind that, though. Hamilton Nolan is outraged on behalf of the poors who can’t afford to shop there:
Whole Foods, the grocery store for pretentious upper class urbanites and those who aspire to be same, wants to make it clear to the world that it is not a grocery store for pretentious upper class urbanites. Not at all. What gave you that idea?
5) Some commenters say they’re boycotting Whole Foods because it’s too expensive. Okay. So. You want a company that pays its employees well, gives them great benefits, demands high environmental and humane treatment standards from its suppliers, caters to a variety of dietary restrictions, offers organic produce, and manages to keep its prices low so working class people can shop there. Oh, and it can’t be part of the “industrial supply chain,” either, whatever that means. Good luck! Of course, you all hate Walmart because it does keep prices low, but does so by paying its employees less and pressuring its suppliers for lower wholesale prices.
7) Some have said the answer lies in farmers’ markets and co-ops. Farmers’ markets and co-ops are swell if you’re a yuppie commune member or an urbanite foodie. But they aren’t going to feed entire cities. If it makes you feel good to shop at those places, go ahead. I love my local farmers’ market. Mine has great heirloom tomatoes. But I also realize that it’s only open five months out of the year, only sells what can be grown locally, and its stock can be limited by bad weather, pests, and just about any other variable that can hurt a harvest. Chain stores utilize the economies of scale. They replicate suppliers, so if something goes wrong with one farmer or a drought hits one part of the country, they can back it up with food from another. So you can go ahead and feel morally superior by shopping at the farmers’ market, but don’t pretend that you’re helping the poor.