The Truth about (Surviving) Whole Foods. ~ Kelly MacLean

Via Kelly MacLeanon Sep 18, 2013

whole foods photo logo
“Surviving Whole Foods.”

This article is adapted from Kelly’s on Huffington Post. We grew up, or failed to grow up, with Kelly in the Buddhist community and she’s blogging here, now, too. Finally. ~ ed.

Whole Foods is like Vegas.

You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the new-found knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.

Unlike Vegas, Whole Foods’ clientele are all about mindfulness and compassion…until they get to the parking lot. Then it’s war. As I pull up this morning, I see a pregnant lady on the crosswalk holding a baby and groceries. This driver swerves around her and honks. As he speeds off I catch his bumper sticker, which says Namaste. Poor lady didn’t even hear him approaching because he was driving a Prius. He crept up on her like a panther.

As the great, sliding glass doors part I am immediately smacked in the face by a wall of cool, moist air that smells of strawberries and orchids. I leave behind the concrete jungle and enter a cornucopia of organic bliss; the land of hemp milk and honey. Seriously, think about Heaven and then think about Whole Foods; they’re basically the same.

The first thing I see is the great wall of kombucha—42 different kinds of rotten tea.

Fun fact: the word kombucha is Japanese for ‘I gizzed in your tea.’ Anyone who’s ever swallowed the glob of mucus at the end of the bottle knows exactly what I’m talking about. I believe this thing is called “The Mother,” which makes it that much creepier.

Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions.

Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem.

You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.

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Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are.

They calculate your wrinkles, sun spots, the size of your pores, etc. and compare it to other women your age. I think of myself attractive but as it turns out, I am 78 percent ugly, meaning less pretty than 78 percent of women in the world.

On the popular 1-10 hotness scale used by males the world over, that makes me a 3 (if you round up, which I hope you will).

A glance at the extremely close-up picture they took of my face, in which I somehow have a glorious, blond porn mustache, tells me that 3 is about right. Especially because the left side of my face is apparently 20 percent more aged than the right. Fantastic. After contemplating ending it all here and now, I decide instead to buy their product. One bottle of delicious smelling, silky feeling creme that is maybe going to raise me from a 3 to a 4 for only $108 which is a pretty good deal when you think about it.

I grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels on my way out of this stupid aisle. I don’t feel bad about pilfering these bites because of the umpteen times that I’ve overpaid at the salad bar and been tricked into buying $108 beauty creams. The pretzels are very fattening but I’m already in the seventieth percentile of ugly so who cares.

Next I come to the vitamin aisle which is a danger zone for any broke hypochondriac. Warning: Whole Foods keeps their best people in this section.

Although you think she’s a homeless person at first, that vitamin clerk is an ex-pharmaceuticals sales rep. Today she talks me into buying estrogen for my mystery mustache and Women’s Acidophilus because apparently I do have Candida after all.

I move on to the next aisle and ask the nearest Whole Foods clerk for help. He’s wearing a visor inside and as if that weren’t douchey enough, it has one word on it in all caps. Yup, Namaste. I ask him where I can find whole wheat bread. He chuckles at me “Oh, we keep the poison in aisle 7.” Based solely on the attitudes of people sporting namaste paraphernalia today, I’d think it was Sanskrit for “go fuck yourself.”

I pass the table where the guy invites me to join a group cleanse he’s leading. For $179.99 I can not-eat not-alone… not-gonna-happen. They’re doing the cleanse where you consume nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper and fiber pills for 10 days, what’s that one called again? Oh, yeah…anorexia. I went on a cleanse once; it was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I detoxified, I purified, I lost weight. On the other hand, I fell asleep on the highway, fantasized about eating a pigeon, and crapped my pants. I think I’ll stick with the whole eating thing.

I grab a couple of loaves of poison, and head to checkout. The fact that I’m at Whole Foods on a Sunday finally sinks in when I join the end of the line…halfway down the dog food aisle.

I suddenly realize that I’m dying to get out of this store. Maybe it’s the lonely feeling of being a carnivore in a sea of vegans, or the newfound knowledge that some people’s dogs eat better than I do, but mostly I think it’s the fact that Yanni has been playing literally this entire time. Like sensory deprivation, listening to Yanni seems harmless at first, enjoyable even. But two hours in, you’ll chew your own ear off to make it stop.

A thousand minutes later, I get to the cashier. She is 95 percent beautiful.

“Have you brought your reusable bags?” Fuck. No, they are at home with their 2 dozen once-used friends.

She rings up my meat, alcohol, gluten and a wrapper from the chocolate bar I ate in line, with thinly veiled alarm. She scans my ladies acidophilus, gives me a pitying frown and whispers, “Ya know, if you wanna get rid of your Candida, you should stop feeding it.” She rings me up for $313. I resist the urge to unwrap and swallow whole another $6 truffle in protest. Barely. Instead, I reach for my wallet, flash her a quiet smile and say, Namaste.

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About Kelly MacLean

Kelly MacLean is a stand up comic, actress, writer based in Los Angeles, California.  Follow her on Twitter.

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30 Responses to “The Truth about (Surviving) Whole Foods. ~ Kelly MacLean”

  1. Kim Matthews says:

    And of course nothing is as hilarious as their fake "organic" Chinese produce or the contempt the CEO has for their customers. Let them drink rotten fungus vinegar!

  2. Tara says:

    LMAO!!! OMG, this was awesome. Thank you for the humor! :)

  3. Ruth Evershed says:

    Not often compelled to comment (like never) but you are a fucking great writer. Loved this.

  4. Patricia says:

    I laughed my way through this. You made my day!

  5. debaumer says:

    The checkout girl actually commented on your having Candida? And one of the employees referred to the wheat bread as poison?

  6. Frank says:

    You got talent girl.

  7. Jim says:

    Perfect way to start the day!

  8. Steven says:

    Perhaps those diseases are caused by eating those "foods." When I'm feeling ornery, I like to point out that lead, uranium, and cocaine are gluten-free, though I stole that from a Facebook meme.

  9. Tracy Yong says:

    So funny. So true. Great column, love reading it! Thanks

  10. swati jr* says:

    I am still laughing about this one. SO good. Thank you.

  11. Donna says:

    Hysterical!!! I can’t stop laughing!!!

  12. Julie says:

    Read this on huff-po. It was worth another read. Hilarious!

  13. @NurseWorkz says:

    Awesome and enjoyable way to look at things, your writing ROCKS! MORE!

  14. Kayla says:

    Ahahahahah I laughed so hard at this I cried. Next you need to do an exposé on the WF in NYC at Union Square. I was once literally threated by a man covered head to toe in glitterfor bumping hom accidentally as we all shuffled through the entryway like cattle.

  15. LaurenceK says:

    My wife and I swore up and down to never ever set foot in WF again. Last week she went there behind my back; can't wait to sit together while she reads your article–funniest and maybe even the best-written piece I've come across in weeks. It even topped the phony Trader Joe's spoof commercial which is played to a popular Brazilian tune and nails TJ's as you nailed WF Market. Thanks!

  16. Mark says:

    This is some funny assed shit, and true. We go like, before Thanksgiving when we get our annual fig loaf and vegan dinner (Not that we're vegan, just hypocrites). I start out optimistic and leave feeling like I need my bung hole lubed. I have a love hate relationship with Whole Foods. When I go I get that sort of self-righteous, yuppy, artificially healthy groove going. But, about half way to the car, snacking on the okra chips, I realize that going to Whole Foods is a mental fap (mental jerk off for the dignified reader). Then, as I drive home, I realize how much I love my regular old grocery store..till next year..when I whore myself out again.

  17. Emma says:

    Amazingly funny! Thank you!

  18. Frank says:

    Wait a minute folks. In my comment ( from Frank on the 18th ) I said she has got talent meaning about her ability to write and take issue like ” Whole Foods and make us laugh. I looking through her writing didn’t see trashing While Foods like so many thinks she did. It was more of a perspective angle and using it to make people laugh. Yea Whole Foods is up there in the clouds but they serve a good and needed purpose. Frank

  19. debradeangelo says:

    Awesome, awesome commentary! "I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions." – Brilliant!

  20. spnickle says:

    Brilliant!

  21. Laurys says:

    Brilliant!!

  22. Joyce says:

    You're so funny! That was a great article. I wish everyone (with the exception of Asian monks) would stop saying "Namaste".

    • Joe says:

      Namaste is hindi. And monks don't (traditionally) use Namaste. Please educate yourself before you cast aspersions across massive populations who upset you. I agree that the term is overused and commercialized but your comment is unfounded.

  23. Paula says:

    You are hilarious, and I love you. The next time someone really ticks me off, I'm going to smile and say "Namaste!" (now that I know what it REALLY means!).

  24. Anne says:

    While I agree WFM is…a "special" place – you need to tone down your "haha digestive tract issues and auto-immune conditions are for rich people only." Maybe the reason you've never met a gluten-free janitor (or whatever) is because you don't generally talk to people from other income brackets about their health. Because, trust me, Celiac disease or IBD do not know how much money is in your bank account. But if you have less money, you figure out how to eat a safe diet from the grocery stores you *can* afford.

  25. Al Newberry says:

    My sister is broke as hell, but she definitely has a gluten intolerance. It's a real thing.

  26. Truth.B.Told says:

    I understand that you're trying to be humorous, but what you said about those illnesses is very abusive and offensive. It's never wise to joke about chronic illnesses and be very thankful you do not have "food restrictions." If you were smart, you would take this article down because claiming something is for "rich white people" is both racist and entitlement. Illnesses never discriminate. Also, if the store bothers you that much, why are you shopping there in the first place. I'm sure you can get your toxic food and face paste at some other hoity-toity store that caters to people just like you.

  27. Mercedes says:

    Anne, Anne….don't take it literally or personally. The humor lies not in fact but in jest (some truth in it). If you've spent five minutes with the raw food group, you would know that some people really do have food issues and some people create having food issues. She is addressing those of us that make eating a disorder. Kelly, you put the perfect spin on our food quirks. Thanks for making me laugh from the bottom of my gut.

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