Even My Relationship With Whole Foods Is Dysfunctional

I was born the sixth child of two strict, Irish Catholic, depression era parents, one of whom was blind in one eye and had two different sized feet. If you don’t come out of that deal with a few personality quirks then you are just plain boring.  From that mix of genetics and chaos I’ve been blessed with a smidge of anxiety, an abundance of neuroses, and a dash of codependency.   Let me tell you, I am a gem!  Just ask my children.  They should be home from their weekly therapy session any minute now.  Needless to say, I’m a tad dysfunctional. Hell, I can’t even have a healthy relationship with a grocery store.

I love Whole Foods, I do.  I love Whole Foods, but I also hate Whole Foods because Whole Foods is the tenth circle of Hell.  Even Dante couldn’t imagine something this bad.  The thing is, though, I also need Whole Foods.  See, we’re like the Ike and Tina Turner of corporate/human partnerships.  And, yes, I realize Tina didn’t need anybody, so that would make me the Ike of this dysfunctional duo.

Everyone in this house has some sort of food allergy or intolerance.  Milk and I don’t get along and I’m allergic to shrimp.  After four years of ER and doctor visits for vomiting episodes, which medical professionals swore were due to heartburn or desperate cries for attention, we finally deduced on our own that our youngest couldn’t tolerate gluten. Shortly after that, we discovered my husband couldn’t either.

My food issues are really not that big of a deal.  As long as I don’t eat those things I’m fine. The gluten thing is another matter.  It’s not just enough for them to avoid those foods.  If they eat a food that doesn’t contain gluten but was made in a facility that also makes gluten containing foods they can become sick and miserable for days.  For their safety, I keep an entirely gluten free household and I have to be exceptionally careful about any food I bring in.  The closest and safest grocery store that allows me to do this is, you guessed it, Whole Foods.  I’m chained to this place like an abused dog.

I live in a pretty wealthy town and Whole Foods fits right in.  I’m one of the few middle class folks here. We’re sprinkled around like jimmies on a very expensive and gaudy cupcake. Given that the average product Whole Foods sells requires you to take out a second mortgage, it makes sense that every car trying to kill me in the parking lot is a Tesla, Range Rover, or BMW. Why are people in six figure cars in such a damn hurry to park and get inside this place? Has a new organic, free range, non-GMO superfood been discovered that I don’t know about? What the hell?

Actually, I think they can’t wait to take an infuriatingly long time to wipe down their cart with one of those antibacterial wipes and make it clean enough to perform surgery on so that they can then leave it in the middle of the aisle and ignore me as I try to wiggle my clearance rack jean swaddled ass past them.  Or maybe, just maybe it’s so they can rush in and give me their two cents on any product that might possibly be in my sight line.  Come to think of it, it’s definitely so that they can ask my opinion on a product I know nothing about.

“Have you ever tried this?” a petite mother of an infant in a stroller worth more than my house asks while pointing to a contraption that appears to allow the user to suck snot directly from a baby’s nose through what looks like part of a Twizzler Pull and Peel.

“Uh, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to suck snot from someone’s face. My kids are older. I had to use that bulby thing when they were babies.”

“Oh.” Then, she walked away in what I think was disgust, but it could have just been bad Botox.  One can never tell in this town.

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Golden milk sounds like a sex act that’s illegal in 13 states.

One time I was cornered by one of those folks with a table at the end of the aisle.  He was selling what he referred to as “a hug in a mug”.  I shit you not. I’m always either too nice or too mean, and of course this time I haaaaaaaad to be too nice, so I stopped and listened to his spiel.  It was a jar full of neon yellow powder that you were supposed to mix up in “the milk of your choice” (Since I’m out of breast milk and I can’t deal with dairy, I decided almond milk would work for me). This concoction apparently has anti-inflammatory magical powers, so I informed the Billy Mays of Whole Foods that I was urged by my oncologist to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet and I guess I’d give it a try.

“You’re oncologist told you to take this?” A voice gleefully asked.

“Uh…”

Without letting me finish my thought, a woman came from behind me, snatched up a jar and delightfully told us that she was treating her husband’s brain tumor with only natural remedies.  The husband picked up a jar and looked it over, shrugged his shoulders and carried on pushing his cart down the aisle.  She followed eagerly behind.  It’s a shame she didn’t stay longer so that I could tell her it was the year of oral chemo that successfully killed my tumor, not what was in the jar she just threw in her cart.  Turns out the stuff was pretty tasty, but you could never fully mix it into your milk and were left with chai tasting beach sand swimming in your mug.  The jar is still sitting in my pantry months later if any one of you wants it.

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I also have all of this stuff, but I’m not giving it up.  It’s pretty dang good.  Yes, that does say nutritional yeast.  Don’t ask.

Whole Foods is absurd and deserves pretty much all of the shame it gets, what with its kale guacamole and overpriced asparagus water.  BUT, I LOVE HIM!!!  I do.  I love you, Whole Foods.  My kid can have a donut once in awhile and my husband can have a beer every now and again.  I can even eat ice cream! And, when I walk through your doors wearing a pair of Toms, drinking a soy latte, and carrying a half dozen reusable shopping bags under my arm you don’t mock me.  You should, you really should because I probably look stupid, but I am loyal.  I will remain with you, boo.  I’ll stay forever, assuming I win the lottery soon, don’t get rundown by a $100, 000 car on my way in, and am not carted off to jail for murdering another patron.  So, maybe not forever forever, but you get what I’m saying.

*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

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