Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pretentiousness- Buy One Get One Free

We had a short list of groceries to get today so we decided instead of our regular Teeter Taj Mahal, we would try to do our shopping at Trader Joe's. We love Trader Joe's for many reasons including cheap wine, pomegranate green tea, numerous organic options, and Ezekiel 4:9 bread. However, we can't shop there for our regular groceries. It's not that Trader Joe's doesn't have an adequate supply of food goods, it's that they also have a more than adequate supply of jerks. A trait I feel is common to organic/green food stores (at least the ones I've visited).

Case in point, while Adrian was locating bell peppers, I was wrestling Linus who was trying to eat my list while also choosing some onions. I guess, I was taking too long to decide because a young woman turned to another customer and said, "Yes, I'm trying to get to the onions too." I guess she'd never heard the phrase "pardon me" or even felt the need to show a little kindness to a fellow human being. It bothered me, but I quickly moved and resumed my onion choosing later.

I would have just let that go with the assumption that it was just one person who was maybe having a bad day, but it happened over and over again. Linus and I would pull the cart off to the side to stand and wait while Adrian located an item off our list, and next thing I'd know someone was heaving big sighs from behind me because I wasn't moving. I'd pushed my cart as far to the side as possible, it wasn't like I was in the middle of the aisle. Again, I wrote it off. This time blaming my own insecurities. I tend to perceive scrutiny (real or imagined) in places where I'm out of my element.

However, as we continued through the store, I voiced my feelings to Adrian and much to my surprise, he said "Do you feel that way too?" I guess he'd been having similar experiences. That's when we decided to leave. Grocery shopping is a stressful enough task with Linus in tow without having to deal with disdain.

Even in the parking lot, we had to deal with the jerks. We stood in the rain and cold while they backed their SUV's out. Ugh!

Back in the warmth and comfort of our local Harris Teeter, we began a relaxing journey through the grocery store complete with, "Pardon me's", "No you go ahead's", and smiles.

Of course, I do have to wonder if this is a trait common to this type of food store or if it has to do with the demographic shopping at ours (i.e. college aged students who attend expensive and very expensive universities).

Any thoughts?


Chelsea + Jonathan said...

Jonathan's been saying this of our beloved Merc from the start. There's even an entire bulk foods section that's supposed to be great but we won't try it because we aren't "green enough" or "hippie enough" to bother the workers to show us how to do things or find things. I haven't had problems with the other shoppers, but we generally just run in to grab our meat or produce and then we're on our way.

But I would say there's a definite atmosphere of pretentiousness. And we've both discussed just feeling uncomfortable there. Surely there are whole food/green stores that aren't this way?

Suzi said...

Go to Trader Joe's during the week... it is a million times better!

corrie said...

Well, until I read this, I had wished we had a Trader I'm not so sure! But our Whole Foods isn't like that. We do have a tiny little neighborhood organic market that puts out kind of a chilly vibe, though. Which is wierd, since it is a small, locally owned place. Seems to be more the employees than the other shoppers. I think you hit the nail on the head with the shoppers' demographic in your area.

William said...

I can't say I ever experienced anything like that in 'our' Trader Joe's. Of course, it could just be that I am oblivious. I have noticed though that the aisles are WAY TOO small, and this is just a set-up for trouble like you describe.

Susan said...

I learned the hard way that we want to avoid Trader Joe's on the weekend at all costs! It is just too small to hold all the people who want to shop there on the weekend.

Our Cary Whole Foods is OK. I'm more comfortable there than I was at the one on Wade Ave. :-)