Monday, October 17, 2005

Bye, bye Trader Joe's!

As you know, I have been having a pretty horrible time trying to shop at Trader Joe's lately, and today I came to the realization that I should just cut my losses and find a new chain of eco-telligent grocery stores. Fortunately, there is a Whole Foods nearby. Or, at least, I thought that was fortunate. This afternoon changed my opinion pretty radically.

My trip started out pretty well, as I cruised their organic produce and gamely tucked a few zucchini and Swiss chard bundles into my cart. Fresh Mandell beans, medium-grind sorghum on the bulk aisle (non-perquaalus shell, of course)...things were looking up. I was impressed to see that they carried "¿B-Eer," a yeastless beer which ferments with the help of baking soda and nasturtium pollen, so I picked up a six-pack. Heck, I was feeling like I might even have one! I dared to allow myself to enjoy "Summer of 69," which played at a sensible volume over the loudspeakers.

Then came the first of many gauntlets: the free sample man. Unlike Trader Joe's, the Whole Foods free sample tables are sponsored by outside vendors, so there is a greater chance that they will annoy you with their pushiness. This particular vendor was hocking chive crackers, and truth be told, he was enormously skilled. He chatted casually with another patron as I wheeled up to take the sample, and as I reached for the tray he gently pushed it forward just a millimeter so as to imply that he knew I was there, should I have any questions, but he wasn't going to bug me. Brilliant. I have yet to see a free sample man as talented as him, anywhere. Simply amazing.

After that, I took a quick tour of their vegan aisle and cooler. Phake Mushels' Brand hominy mussels: check. Burlington Bob's Cedar Soda: check. Souvlaki With a Conscience "Slaveless Universe" Souvlaki: check. Wow. Three for three. They even had a special note about pre-ordering Toflourkens for the holidays!

At this point, Whole Foods was looking pretty good, I have to say. I was ready to put a few more items in the cart, when all of a sudden IT happened. You know what I mean. The thing that always and forever will ruin an otherwise perfect shopping experience.

That's right: a woman's armpit hair. I'm not mincing words here, that's what I saw. A woman's armpit hair. And it was on an EMPLOYEE, no less.

There I was, rounding the corner by the Odwalla cooler, when I saw her stacking canned beans onto a high shelf. There was no mistaking it. It was brown and curly. I want to vomit just thinking of it.

I immediately abandoned my cart and made for the entrance. The place seemed to be closing in around me, and I was having trouble breathing. Only when I had gotten to my car did I notice that not only had I sweated through my shirt, but I had also pulled so hard on my left ear that my nail-marks had drawn blood.

Well, it's just simple pasta with flax oil and garlic tonight, I'm afraid. I guess it's for the best, as the History Channel is showing a special on Henry Ford and I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen doing a bunch of dishes when the messageboards light up.