Why I'm breaking up with Whole Foods. | Shopping & Services

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Why I'm breaking up with Whole Foods.
Why I'm breaking up with Whole Foods.

I rarely plan to go to Whole Foods. As a relatively new vegetarian still vainly attempting to recreate meat on her dinner table, sometimes I do find myself needing to get a specific item or two that I can only find contained within their four posh and perfectly manicured walls (have you seen their produce displays?)… but very rarely. Primarily, I find that I end up there accidentally (usually with a wealthier and far more health conscious friend), as a victim of a “Do you mind if we pop into the Whole Foods for a just sec? I just need to grab some tomatillos and a cask of bulgur.” situation.

Yet however I wind up there, the result is ALWAYS THE SAME. I can literally not enter through those sliding doors for more than 1 minute, without spending at least $20 (usually, on a single 10 lb. salad). Like somehow, $20 is the cost of the ferry ride to get to the other side of the pricey health food river Styx. As my ENTIRE GROCERY BUDGET FOR THE WEEK IS $30, this is clearly a problem.

Well, that problem occurred yet again today. After a fantastic coffee date with my friend Rob, he uttered the dreaded ”Just need to stop in and grab a few things!” In theory, I was supposed to drop him off there and keep on walking toward home base.  But it was cold outside… and we were still talking… and ooh are those blackberries on sale for 2/$5?  And just like that I was in the door with a stack of produce in my hand grabbing whatever else seemed like a good idea at the time: Seaweed & tamari rice cakes? Faux Buffalo wings? Strawberry soy protein shakes? Certainly nothing that would even remotely pass as a meal.

Today’s damage- $31. SURPRISE! MY ENTIRE GROCERY BUDGET! And save for two bags of fake beef tips intended for making stroganoff later this week, everything else was completely unnecessary.  In my universe, that whole store is just one big cash register impulse buy.

Sure, it is absolutely possible to eat healthy on a budget (I even wrote an article about it one time), but Whole Foods isn’t exactly making it easy or accessible for me to do that. Maybe if I were a person who could breeze through the towers of sparkling wine bottles and boutique cheeses and just grab a brown sack of bulk quinoa and go, things might be different. But, as we learned earlier as I was browsing the protein powders and gluten free Melba Toasts… I’m not that guy. I’m never going to be that guy.  I am powerless against its charms, and this is a very important thing to know about myself.

According to my mint.com account, last year I spent $869 at Whole Foods, and I bet that I actually “needed” about $0 of it. So for the month of February, I’ve decided that I’m breaking up with Whole Foods. I lived many years without it, and I’m pretty sure I can survive 28 short days away from its sweet, well lit, organic embrace. Basically, when you still have $12,846 worth of credit card debt, $900 is a ludicrous amount of money to spend fancy salad.

Is there a store that you need to break up with? 

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