The pleasures of grocery shopping

I really like grocery shopping, and it isn’t just because I like food and cooking. Though that’s a big part of it. I think I like grocery shopping quite a bit because I like the stores, the way they’re laid out, the lighting, all of that. I have a similar fondness for office supply stores, too.

Anyway, I thought about all this because I went grocery shopping this morning to my favorite store, Whole Foods. For anyone not familiar: Whole Foods is an “upscale” grocery store chain, though not all of it is that more expensive than a “normal” store. The “365” Whole Foods brand is pretty much the same as the prices at any other place, and Whole Foods sells a lot of stuff in bulk. I tend to buy the fish and meat products (which cost more but which are excellent in quality), some produce and cheeses, bulk stuff, and that’s about it. I go to the regular stores for other things, though that tends to be Hillers, which many folks around here also consider to be an “upscale” store.

Some observations about my trip there today:

* I went in this morning because I had stopped by the store last night in order to grab something for a makeshift dinner before my 7 pm Tuesday class. I put the tab on my debit card and asked for $20 back, and even though I got charged for it, I realized later that I didn’t actually get the money. So I was out $20, which of course pissed me off. But one of the things you pay for at Whole Foods is decent customer service. I called them up this morning, told my story, and (in part because I still have the receipt) the customer service rep was able to figure out that my cashier was $20 over in her till the night before. So I wasn’t out $20, which of course made me happy.

* When I went in this morning to shop and claim my $20, there was a cooking class in there taking a tour.

* People in the store in the morning are extra-friendly, I presume because they haven’t been irritated by customers yet. I will have to keep this in mind.

* Whole Foods, while kind of a “lefty-leaning” place (organic, interested in local farming, etc., etc.), also resists unionization and they post the daily stock price at the customer service desk.

* I know several people who used to or still do work for Whole Foods. One of these people says it is commonly referred to by employees as “the food (w)hole.”

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