Is it weird that I consider browsing Whole Foods a good time? That company really has shopping psychology down. I love the layout, the handmade signs (what, don’t tell me they’re manufactured to look handmade?), the produce pyramids, the polite and knowledgeable staff, and the new products around every bend. Oh, those new products in their seductive eco-friendly packaging. They know just the right words to use. One in particular that hooked me was U, a new cereal by Kashi—a combination of hearty flakes, walnuts, and currants that’s attractive for its fiber and goodness but mostly because of the simple cardboard package and pretty “U.”
On my last visit, for $40, I also scored a small basket of goodness that included salmon, caramels laced with sea salt, bok choy, sesame and tarragon crackers, and a new magazine called Boho that’s mediocre actually, but that worked its magic on my at the checkout counter anyway. Also, their prepared foods is a cornucopia of beauty, and while honey-glazed chicken with apricots at $14/lb is not in the budget, I can get inspiration for free, creating the dish at home. The cheese tastings and other samples have also been known to suck me in, but I’m hardly alone. I’ve probably eaten a pound of Irish cheddar there over the years.
Eating well costs more sometimes. At least, that’s how I rationalize the expense. But I do find myself making healthier choices when I’m at Whole Foods, maybe because when all their products are good and good for you, it’s easy to make the right decision. And sometimes it’s just worth that extra dollar if it gets you some mighty nice ciabatta bread from Iggy’s.