Political Profiling at Whole Foods

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Posted in category Establishment Leftists

George Will’s new column has two extraordinary paragraphs that are especially relevant for anyone who ever ventures near a suburban Whole Foods store.

To glimpse a state of nature as Hobbes imagined it, where human life is “nasty, brutish and short,” visit the Whole Foods store on River Road in Bethesda, Md. There, and — let the political profiling begin — probably at many Whole Food stores and other magnets for liberals, nationwide, you will see proof of this social equation: Four Priuses plus three parking spaces equal angry anarchy.

If you think the health care town halls in August cornered the market on anger, come to Bethesda and watch the private security force — normal men in an abnormal situation — wage a losing struggle to keep the lid on liberal anger. When parking lot congestion impedes the advance of responsible eaters toward the bin of heirloom tomatoes, you see that anger comes in many flavors.

The shoppers of Whole Foods – and even Trader Joe’s, to a lesser extent – are so predictable in their cars, clothes, and reusable shopping bags. In fact, in spite of many grocers offering shoppers enormous incentives (1 or 2 cents per bag) to re-use their bags, no one ever does it except at Whole Foods. Having a Whole Foods store in suburban Detroit is like having a mini-Portland in suburban YuppieTown.

The local granola crunchers who feign Portlandian heritage (I’ve always wondered why they live here) try desperately to walk and dress the part: scruffy sandals or shoes from recycled rubber, fleece patagonia vests, ill-fitting hiking trousers, and accessories made from hemp or some other politically correct material. And they detest the conventional locals who shop at Whole Foods. In fact, they look down at those people, because, after all, what do the commoners know about responsible eating, fair trade coffee, and vegan religious rites? They never smile at anyone or say hi. They just bristle with contempt that their store is being overrun by hordes of curious, lowbrow suburbanites pretending to be uppity green types with a social conscience and a fetish for panko bread crumbs and soy-based food concoctions.

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10 Responses to Political Profiling at Whole Foods

  1. cousin lucky says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    George Will, I believe, has a very valid point!! No matter what a persons political label; human beings are pretty much the same in their attitudes. I see people putting barrels into a parking space when they leave it to prevent anyone else from parking their car in that spot.

    In the Health Food store there are only three tables and everyone who eats there regularly expects ” Their Table ” to be available to them when they arrive. And so it goes!!

  2. Suzan says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve been shopping at the same Whole Foods store for about 10 years. My Whole Foods store in the Atlanta metro area is nothing like this. No angry liberals, no pseudo hippies, no stereotypes, etc. Just all types of average people doing their grocery shopping. Yes,many people bring their own bags, but hey, my Whole Foods gives me 10 cents per bag and I usually bring in 3 bags, twice a week. Same bags for at least 2 years. (I wash them!) That’s paid for my chocolate habit!

    I really think that the days of stereotyping Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are coming to an end. People are waking up to the idea of eating REAL food, so plently of average Joe/Jane folks are at Whole Foods, along with the stereotypes mentioned, scouting out what’s on sale this week.

  3. Tom Osborne says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Sadly, I’ve seen these holier-than-thou types at the local farmers’ market, too, where they feel they are a whole green status level above the Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods set.

    Along those same lines, about a year ago, I was driving on Santa Monica Boulevard through West Hollywood (Los Angeles’s “boys’ town”) on my way home. Paralleling me was a middle-aged fat man whom I presumed to be gay (supercilious attitude, appearance, and location all led to this guess), looking absolutely ridiculous driving a Clown Car (“Smart car”), the first one I had ever seen in the flesh. Looking at him as he held his nose in the air, I wondered if he thought this was a great pick-up car…but I am imagining “not hardly”. After all, this wasn’t an Abercrombie & Fitch stud driving a topless black jeep, or a cute boy toy maneuvering a Miata, but more like a hunk of Spam driving a can down the street. Since the traffic was heavy, we were stuck next to each other and since I had been thinking negative thoughts about him, I thought I should turn it around and say something nice (after all, the car did beg for SOME kind of remark). So I lowered the passenger window of my 1993 full-size Cadillac and said, “What kind of gas mileage are you getting with that?” I figured that would be the ONE reason to get such a car, and I may was well find out how wonderful that particular feature was. I had every expectation that he would proudly call out some amazing figure. Instead, he just ignored me completely. At first I thought maybe he couldn’t hear me, even though I am one to have discussions in similar situations with the owners of cars I have genuinely admired and have called out my praise through the window (“Great restoration!”, “Beautiful paint job!”, “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore!”, that kind of thing). So I tried again a bit louder, “You must be getting really GREAT gas mileage!” But he absolutely and utterly ignored me, just managed to keep looking forward with the breeze messing up his comb-over. His no response felt like a bucket of cold ice water tossed in my face. I almost committed a hate crime (in West Hollywood, it is illegal to call out an insulting epithet), the arrogant demeanor of this grotesque person I was attempting to be nice to for no reason other than we both were crawling through heavy traffic and he was driving a car I had never seen before. This “piece of sh*t” thought he was “King Sh*t” strictly because he was driving such an extreme green car. In his mind, status-wise, he out-did even the Prius owners, and I in my Cadillac was beneath contempt.

  4. Sal says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    My experience with the local Trader Joe’s is like Suzan and Whole Foods….Just plain folks….The employees are always friendly, and if I had one beef, its the same syndrome exhibited by the Wal-Mart whalers: They take up the whole damn aisle and pause to browse shelf items without staying to the side!!!! People do that everywhere.

  5. Michael the Artist says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    There’s a parking shortage at the Ann Arbor Whole Foods, too–they share a lot with a Barnes and Noble and some other stores. I really hate “free” parking situations and I’ll avoid them whenever possible, even if it costs a little bit of money. It brings out the worst in me and everyone else, it seems.

  6. Aaron says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I don’t know if there are any Whole Foods stores in Wyoming here and couldn’t care less if there were. I don’t shop at those yupster, high-dollar hangouts. Of course, I don’t choose to live in a crowded, congested, traffic-laden city either. Go figure.

    Out here, I know who raised the pig I’m about to eat, who grew the corn I’m having with the pig, and who cut it, packaged it, and sold it to me. I also know where the rest of what I eat generally comes from. Why? Because if I didn’t grow it, someone nearby probably did.

    $4 pound for tomatoes? Not at my farmer’s market. Heirloom what? Oh, you mean those ones Aunt Betty’s been growing since God kicked her out of the nest. Ya, I get those for an equal weight of pickle-sized cucumbers.

    You know, if yuppies and hippies were smarter and stopped wasting all that time talking about Al Gore, they’d probably realize that some of us hicks out here have been “green” and “eco-friendly” all along. I didn’t have to go to college to learn that. Tell Al I have a hockey stick for him if he wants to come out and talk about it, that twit. Better not fly that jet plane over here either. He’d have to land it on the highway and I doubt Earl the Patrol wouldn’t enjoy that.

  7. tom says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Sounds a little like an episode of “The Goode Family” by Mike Judge. The “One Earth” food store was mercilessly harpooned in every episode and was heavily populated by elitists. Very funny stuff!

  8. Joel says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve never even seen a Whole Foods, but used to shop at Trader Joe’s quite a lot and never had an experience like that. Maybe it’s just location.

    TJ’s house blend coffee, by the way, is the best coffee for its price on the planet, and I don’t even think it’s “fair trade”. I have city friends send me regular care packages, because even after moving away from the city years ago I can’t lose the jones.

  9. John says:

    October 15th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    How is it possible to read the thoughts (or political persuasion) of people in a store? Those thoughts are your own biases wrestling in your mind. Hybrid cars can save you some money… there is nothing liberal about saving money.

    I’m a free market libertarian and while I don’t have conversations with people at the store, I shop at Whole Foods all the time… because they have less processed foods, choice cuts of meat, excellent vegetables… the best corn chips… and plenty of other great foods. Plus, I don’t have to have a stupid club card to get the best price, yet they are competitively priced.

    So, next time you are at the store… try and guess which person is a free market libertarian and which one is a state loving totalitarian… then realize… it’s all in your own mind unless you actually have the conversation.

  10. John says:

    October 16th, 2009 at 7:15 am

    It is good to see the Whole Foods libertarian transfer some wealth back from liberals: http://www.theatlasphere.com/metablog/154.php

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