A Holiday Hell Whole

On the severely sloped scale of abject misery, second only to being wedged into and appropriately enraged by holiday shopping mall traffic is subjecting yourself to holiday grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

A visit to Whole Foods this time of year occasions the jettisoning of all altruistic tendencies, like holding doors open, practicing patience, or paying attention to wherever the fuck it is you’re walking. By the way, lady, I don’t happen to know where your might be going or what you hope to achieve there, but you know as well as I do that the laws of Christmas physics suggest that you are unable to occupy the exact spot at which I am standing-please adjust your trajectory accordingly.

Anyone hoping (or praying, as the case may be) for a white Christmas need only enter a Denver-area Whole Foods to have this wish fulfilled. The upper-class Caucasian contingent is hyper represented in these stores, alive and well by any measure, including, but by no means (pun intended) limited to: income; savings; liquid assets; securities holdings; inheritance, anticipated or actually received; checking account balances; platinum card limits; and spousal earnings (i.e., all those measures that truly matter in assessing the health of a social, racial, or ethnic group). I am, perhaps, most pleased to report that also flourishing this holiday season is the wealthy-housewife-who-does-all-the-grocery-shopping-before-or-after-yoga-class-or-even-in-the-absence-of-an-actual-yoga-class-but-let’s-retain-the-yoga-pants-anyway stereotype.

The appearance, demeanor, and overall net worth of the Whole Foods customer stands in stark contrast to that of the Whole Foods employee who either looks, acts, smells (or a combination thereof) far too poor to afford the items for sale in the store, were it not for the generous employee discount. This act of corporate charity goes a long way toward facilitating the survival of the late-generation hippies and loosely guarded hipsters that inhibit this environment.

The store itself reeks of $7.99 accoutrements and $14.99 edible items, if you can get beyond the hideously homeopathic scents emanating from the floral-designed pajama bottoms that surely only cater to the I-don’t-eat-meat-and-am-currently-struggling-with-cancer market. (Based on recent experiences, I have to appreciate that this might be a highly lucrative industry.)

It is an affront to everything I believe in to even consider spending $5.99 on a frozen dinner, never mind having to two-step around a wealthy white woman and her Christmas-caroling spawn to get to it. Being asked to spend $8 on a bag of soup is almost never a winning proposition for me given the current going rate of alcohol—the cost-benefit analysis prevails yet again.

I would have spent $3.99 on a can of chili, had I been able to locate a single option amidst the array of vegan, organic, gluten- and dairy-free versions of chicken Chik’n stock that Whole Foods had to offer (to whom they are offering this selection, I’m not certain). Perhaps the item that I was searching for was hidden behind the older, mainstay of a woman whose cart was perpetually blocking everything that anyone tried to view in Aisle 6. No doubt the next stop her cart makes would be the cancer-patient-pajama aisle.

The coup de grace occurred, as it always does, in the parking lot trying to navigate my low-price-point automobile through the merry maze of custom-whatever Sport Utility Vehicles that must have been driving themselves, because no human, however rich, could have done that poor a job. And thus, a well-intentioned stop for dinner redefined my own personal Holiday Hell Whole, and transitioned my experience nicely into the next rung of hell: holiday traffic terror.

Happy Wholidays!


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