Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

weinoo

Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck = Whole Fallacy

Recommended Posts

Meh. I go to Whole Foods all the time and the people who work there are nice. Nobody makes me go down the vitamin aisle or the beauty products aisle. I was there this morning and escaped unscathed with my local fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, and oranges. The only thing that annoys me about going to Whole Foods is gazing at all the delicious desserts, cheeses, and breads that I shouldn't be eating.

  • Like 1

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have started doing a moderate amount of drinking at the beer and wine bar inside my new local Whole Foods, as well. That particular aspect is not just comparable, but notably less expensive than at a counterpart. No, it's not the dark bar atmosphere that I typically enjoy, but the bartenders are pleasant and knowledgable and the TVs work ...

(Edited to specify beer and wine bar)


Edited by Rico (log)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh. I go to Whole Foods all the time and the people who work there are nice. Nobody makes me go down the vitamin aisle or the beauty products aisle. I was there this morning and escaped unscathed with my local fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, and oranges. The only thing that annoys me about going to Whole Foods is gazing at all the delicious desserts, cheeses, and breads that I shouldn't be eating.

Exactly. As I may have stated upthread, the employees at my local "supermarket" are miserable bastards.

And much of the perishable stuff sits in the aisles for hours after delivery and before it's upacked and put into the refrigerators.

The driving reference, as well as the Costco/Walmart bs make no difference when one lives in NYC and gets to most places via public transportation or on a bicycle. Because carrying 50 rolls of toilet paper on a bicycle or on a subway is not exactly practical. To say nothing of storing such quantities - my building doesn't let me store stuff in the hallway.

I'll add that anyone who shops at greenmarkets or buys a CSA can't actually complain about produce prices at WF either.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mitch, did a rich uncle give you some WF stock for your birthday? :)

Look, there are obviously pros and cons to every supermarket on earth. I do not think that you are any closer to proving that WF is the thinking person's Costco. Some things are priced reasonably, some are shameless ripoffs. The same is true of Walmart as well. WF seems neither hero nor villain if you add up the comments here. Even here in Italia, living among God's favorite people (different from His or Her chosen people!), a single supermercato does not get the job done for me. My butcher has the TWO best prosciutti that I have ever eaten, remarkable hamburgers (for Italy), outstanding housemade sausage and salami and great veal for milanese and other veal dishes, but cannot make the legendary veal tartare dish, carne cruda, worth a damn. I drive 8 kilometers to a gastronomia for my carne cruda, mortadella and fresh parboiled spinach balls. I then split the rest of my food shopping over the outdoor markets in 4 nearby towns, three supermarkets and three bakeries. I am probably burning more money in $8/gallon diesel fuel chasing my food than some people are spending on the food itself! But am I not describing life's most glorious pain-in-the-butt chore?

  • Like 1

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which basically proves my point that WF is no more expensive, based on the overall opportunity cost of shopping, than any other type of food shopping.

Also, unless and until any poster shops in a newer WF store, based in a metropolitan area, I find those answers moot.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[...]

The driving reference, as well as the Costco/Walmart bs make no difference when one lives in NYC and gets to most places via public transportation or on a bicycle. Because carrying 50 rolls of toilet paper on a bicycle or on a subway is not exactly practical. To say nothing of storing such quantities - my building doesn't let me store stuff in the hallway.

I'll add that anyone who shops at greenmarkets or buys a CSA can't actually complain about produce prices at WF either.

As a fellow New Yorker, I'll second this.

I also happen to live near a WF in Manhattan that's close to the size and layout of a standard, not-in-NYC supermarket (the Bowery location). With the size of most markets around here, (that) WF is one of the places I go to if I need something specific; it's one of the only places with enough shelf space and sq ft in Manhattan that I can be guaranteed to find what I'm looking for and won't have a panic attack having to get around other people to find it. That alone is worth any extra expense, though unless I go out of my way for lower prices (which is unlikely, because I don't have room to stock up when stuff is on sale), most markets around here are comparable in price.


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a fellow New Yorker, I'll second this.

I also happen to live near a WF in Manhattan that's close to the size and layout of a standard, not-in-NYC supermarket (the Bowery location). With the size of most markets around here, (that) WF is one of the places I go to if I need something specific; it's one of the only places with enough shelf space and sq ft in Manhattan that I can be guaranteed to find what I'm looking for

And the ramen joint upstairs is pretty good too :wink: .


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a fellow New Yorker, I'll second this.

I also happen to live near a WF in Manhattan that's close to the size and layout of a standard, not-in-NYC supermarket (the Bowery location). With the size of most markets around here, (that) WF is one of the places I go to if I need something specific; it's one of the only places with enough shelf space and sq ft in Manhattan that I can be guaranteed to find what I'm looking for

And the ramen joint upstairs is pretty good too :wink: .

Aw dude totally unfair! All we've got is pizza and beer...

ETA: though, the newest, shiniest one (Foggy Bottom) does Dosas and Korean-Mexican fusion, and some other stuff too.


Edited by Hassouni (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Urban WFs are not a good yardstick. All supermarket prices are jacked up in big cities, due to the rents, and WF is a relative Johnny-come-lately that may be serving up some loss leaders in urban markets to gain market share. (Yes, if true, that would work to the short-term benefit of its shoppers, but it would also skew The Weinoo WF Analysis.) I do not seriously believe that WF is price-competitive in suburban markets, whatever its other virtues. It attracts BMW-driving vegans in the 'burbs. I have seen it with my own two eyes...


Edited by Bill Klapp (log)

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It attracts BMW-driving vegans in the 'burbs. I have seen it with my own two eyes...

To be fair, I live in the suburbs, drive a pickup and eat animals. Some of which I have acquired after hunting them. Whole Foods also attracts me.

Though if someone were to give me a BMW, I wouldn't fight it.

And I think through various experiences recalled in the thread, we can probably conclude that the thesis (and correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll paraphrase it) of "Shopping at Whole Foods doesn't necessarily mean you will be spending much more money than at a regular grocery store" is true in many cases. This is based on anecdotal evidence from above. The thesis that was never presented, but seems to have been inferred is, "Shopping at Whole Foods equals thrifty spending." I do not believe that anyone made the assertion, though that seems to be the one that is being argued. I would not argue for the second point.


Edited by Rico (log)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a fellow New Yorker, I'll second this.

I also happen to live near a WF in Manhattan that's close to the size and layout of a standard, not-in-NYC supermarket (the Bowery location). With the size of most markets around here, (that) WF is one of the places I go to if I need something specific; it's one of the only places with enough shelf space and sq ft in Manhattan that I can be guaranteed to find what I'm looking for

And the ramen joint upstairs is pretty good too :wink: .

Mmm, I'll have to keep this in mind... though usually when I'm eating there I'm trying to take the opportunity to be a bit more virtuous health-wise regarding my meal choices. :laugh:


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I don't live in the suburbs but my parents do. And let it be known that if my mom, queen of marking circulars and making my dad schlep with her to all the stores (she can't drive) buys anything at Whole Foods? There bloody well must be metziahs to be had for the kind of stuff they sell. (Though my dad will be the first to tell you the drive alone probably eliminates the savings, but you can be sure he's only broached that topic with my mom once because he lived to regret it.)

And yes, my parents shop in every kind of grocery-selling store there is: traditional supermarkets, East and South Asian markets of all sizes and varieties, Trader Joe's, smaller natural food stores, the 99 cent store ( :wacko:)...

Edit: And my dad drives a Nissan, for what it's worth. Heh!


Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sense is that WF pricing is OK for standard things, but over the top for the upper level stuff.

What constitutes "upper level stuff?"


 ... Shel


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember back in the early 80's in Austin, there was a funky little natural foods store that had just opened on Lamar.  Austin was the unofficial, but undisputed, Hippie Capital of Texas and the new store was an immediate hit. But these sandaled natural-foods store proprietors turned out to be ambitious practitioners of capitalism as well, and almost immediately, they began a phenomenal expansion into a powerful national chain. 

 

Of course I'm talking about Whole Foods.

 

Here's a bit about their history: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/whole-foods-market-history#wholefoodsmarket

 

Everybody has heard the criticism regarding their prices (high and catering to an elitist and entitled Volvo-driving consumer base) which has resulted in the popular and disparaging moniker, "Whole Paycheck."

 

Over in a "Visiting San Francisco" thread, whether or not WF is deserving of this unflattering nickname, has intruded into the conversion.  So it got me to wondering...

 

ARE the prices at Whole Foods appreciably higher than those for comparable goods at comparable markets in the neighborhoods where they're located?

 

Has anyone done an actual factual price comparison?

 

Or are they just being damned by reputation, rather than empirical evidence?

 

 

 

 

 

 


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

last Thanksgiving the NYTimes sent James Stewart around town to shop for \Thanksgiving stuff.  He is an economics writer and well known for his column 'Common Sense' and wrote in the WSJ for some time in the past :

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/business/an-upscale-bounty-and-a-thankful-shopper.html?pagewanted=all&module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw%2C%5B%22RI%3A7%22%2C%22RI%3A15%22%5D&_r=0

 

I think this makes interesting reading.

 

it depends on where WF is , and who they target, and what those people want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pig sty Safeway stores around here have higher prices than the local Whole Foods that I sometimes shop at.  And one small, local chain in the area has higher prices on many items.


 ... Shel


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pig sty Safeway stores around here have higher prices than the local Whole Foods that I sometimes shop at.  And one small, local chain in the area has higher prices on many items.

 

The folks that started Whole Foods had initially opened a really small natural foods store that they named "Safer Way," appealing to others that weren't big fans of Safeway.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Encinitas, Ca. We have whole foods dotted here and there in San Diego. The one close by me is sort of expensive, but I do enjoy the hot and cold food lines much better then jimbos. On Wednesdays they have a reduced price for the self serve food, so I go occasionally. That said, I went to grab dinner one evening from whole foods, and I didnt want to run any more errends on the way home, so I ended up spending $20 in oranges alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall an article somewhere that said that WF was competitive on staples, but high-priced on luxury items.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall an article somewhere that said that WF was competitive on staples, but high-priced on luxury items.

This has been my experience with them. Although what were once "luxury items" are no longer "luxury" so much as "out of the ordinary." I think at one time WF's offerings were unique. This is no longer the case, so their prices have to reflect that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

from time to time, both WSJ and NYTimes report  ( sometime just before 'earnings report' ) the 'organic sector'

 

over time the trend seem to be that WF has had to respond to their 'competition' with things like sales, lower prices on some items, and coupons etc  to keep their 'projected earnings ' in like w Wall's expectations.

 

the economics of food businesses and many others is interesting.

 

WF seems to be changing not so much 'with the times' as competitive pressure.

 

as it should be.

 

the J.S. article is well worth reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just want to say that Whole Foods does have some pretty good store-branded products.  In particular, we're fans of their 365 Balsamic Vinegar.

 

Here's a link to a review from Cooking Light:

 

http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/best-store-brand-products/whole-foods-365-balsamic-vinegar


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...