Friday, 8 June 2007

Still excited

So, I have yet to utilise the convenient proximity of Whole Foods Market for ON.

Yesterday's lunch there, despite good intentions, ended up being 2 glasses of fizzy wine at the oyster bar while my friend ate a dozen oysters, some cantaloupe melon and some really damn fine coffee. Ooops. My third trip of the day, to buy hostess gifts for a dinner party I was attending last night, resulted in the purchase of several stinky artisan cheeses and some apricot and oatmeal bread, along with some broccoli florets which I munched walking across Kensington Palace Gardens up to the tube (and almost killed myself by choking on them, I'm not really skilled at multi-tasking) and some late asparagus.

The cashier didn't know what the asparagus was. But in his defence he looked extremely hassled and overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in the line waiting to be served. The store is obviously suffering from some teething problems - one of my stinky cheeses would not scan at all, and after having failed to find a price for the asparagus he gave up, and just dropped it in the bag. I presume it was deliberate, and I smiled and thanked him nicely.

Today I will be more restrained. I have steamed green veggies for lunch, and while I am dragging P to the store to bounce about him like an excited child before we get our train back to my place this evening, I will not be indulging in dairy carby deliciousness again for a while.

Such yumminess though.

I do hope the company is as ethical as it portrays itself to be, to both its staff and its suppliers. The effects of its presense on Ken High Street are already apparent; the small coffee shops are empty, and Marks and Spencers were trying desparately to get people back into their Food Hall by changing their window displays to advertise their fresh produce and offering free fruit salads to anyone who came back. It will be interesting to see if things stay that way, and if Whole Foods Market stays as packed and well-stocked as it is now.


Anonymous said...

I'm worried about the extent to which prefixing things with the right buzzwords can make people miss the bigger picture. There was a quote from Anya Hindmarch saying she hopes Whole Foods 'sort out their parking', which is to miss the point entirely. Why should a convenient location in a city well-supplied by public transport have to sort out parking at all?

(Of course I'm a bit tetchy about such issues after having been shouted down at a departmental meeting for suggesting that we might encourage people to walk to the shops rather than drive, as I Obviously Don't Understand what it's like to Have A Family. Well, my Mom walked and took the bus and it was good enough for her, and she was a med student at the time so not exactly rolling in either spare time or money. But I digress. In the end, ho ho, the discussed ecological study discovered that postcode, transport and distance from the shops are not predictors of diet, that the poor areas of Newcastle actually have closer access to cheaper veg and more of it, and that the model only works when you factor in personal choice and education levels, surprise surprise.)

Sara said...

Of course, they shouldn't have to factor in parking at all! That wasn't a very sensible comment from Ms "I am not a paper bag". Does she have a brain?

I'd like to see Whole Foods roll out branches out of London. Setting up in one of the most affluent areas of the city, slap-bang up close to celebrity-ville Notting Hill, was a canny move and will be highly lucrative for them. They are selling a lifestyle and selling it well, but to people for whom that lifestyle is attainable and affordable.

I'll definitely be a regular customer and it's great to be able to pick up the bits and pieces I could only get online before - Shazzie choccie bars are there! And I have my first ever sachet of protein powder to try in a shake later (it scares me!). :-)

The fresh veggies and the range of produce are undeniably impressive - but it would be nice to feel that there will be a continued demonstration of their policies, and that this isn't just a huge giant stamping over small businesses while pretending to do the opposite.

Arturo said...

Hi Sara
I think the neighborhood may be experiencing some excitement at a new store, so the other ones are slow while people check the new one out. Eventually, it should be business as usual and everyone should shop a bit in all of them. I've never seen a Whole Foods drive other store out of business. They are not WalMart.
I'm taking a break from packing. Will have to pull an all nighter to be ready when they come in 10 hours tomorrow morning. I've never been so busy at work, otherwise I would have had more time to pack more days in advance.

Deborah said...

Hi Sara,

Just wanted to say thanks!! I appreciate your comments so much. You're right, I'll get back to just will take some serious "impulse" control.

Have a great evening!