Surviving Whole Foods

Discussion in 'The GatorTail Pub' started by exiledgator, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    I shopped at the parent of Food Lion, Delhaize, when I lived in Belgium. Their lion symbol is a variant of the Belgian coat of arms. However, I preferred a different store most of the time.

    The greatest grocery store I've ever been in was Auchon in Lille, France. Nerd that I am, I stepped off the length of the cheese counter (much to my wife's embarrassment): 75 feet long. Wallace would have thought he had died and gone to heaven.
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  2. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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  3. rburnett
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    rburnett Well-Known Member

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    To that, I respond the stroopwaffle. Astablieft!
  4. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    I can eat those all day long!
  5. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    Ok, the full report. I made it to Austin. Last stop before here I fortified with a fried chocolate pie from an Exxon station. I headed over to Whole Foods on 6th Street. Their original store is no longer here so I figured the downtown one is probably the flagship. I pulled into the parking lot and the very first person I saw was a woman in pink top and black yoga tights. She had to be a plant from exiledgator.

    I parked in the underground lot and headed up the escalator. Brett Dennen was signing on the overhead music. Inside the front door was a display of Three Wishes wine Merlot and Chardonnay at $2.99 a bottle. Maybe that's doing their part for the homeless. Next to it was a sign advertising Meatless Mondays in October. I grabbed a basket as part of my disguise so I would not stand out taking notes.

    A few select prices in produce:
    Tomatoes $1.99/lb
    Radishes $1.99/bunch
    Chard $2.99/bunch
    Lettuce $2.49/bunch

    They had lemongrass, which I had never seen before. I know it's popular for cleaning the pipes. There were 8 types fresh mushrooms. There were boatloads of nuts -- in bags, not walking around. Lots of types of produce. I have started buying organic leafy vegetables because they don't use pesticides and leafy things are harder to wash.

    An Aussie guy was giving samples of gluten-free hot sauces. There was a good-sized fish counter. Wild scallops were $19.99 for 2 lb and gulf shrimp $12-$19/lb. There was a fish grill across from the counter. I wasn't sure if you pick it out from the counter and they cook it. There was a large sign saying, "If the fish is not wild caught it's responsibly farmed." What is responsible fish farming? Humane conditions? Do fish care?

    All the eggs were brown. A guy I work with grew up on an egg farm. He says color is just the chicken it came from and nutritionally they are the same. But they look cool.

    Strolled into the dairy section. There was a large selection of Kefir milks at $3.69 each, about what I usually pay at Kroger (useless trivia: kefir was originally horse milk and yogurt sheep milk). I grabbed a brand of kefir I hadn't tried before and dropped it in the basket. Almond Breeze, which we drink at home, was $2.99, the price I pay at Kroger when there is a discount coupon. I was in hog heaven when I saw a gallon of Bulgarian yogurt for only $13.99. I eat plain yogurt every day, usually bought at Sam's.

    Next was a bar area. The tender had a frizzy ponytail stuck through the opening at the back of his ball cap. Pints were $4-$6. Sampling of people at the bar:

    --Old guy in cool hat with wife and professional looking son.
    --Girl in blue jean jacket talking to girl in hoodie. Tried to read their badges to see where they worked as I walked inconspicuously by them but the print was too small to read the stinking badges.
    --Young couple eating dinner with kid in lap, sipping wine. The parents, not the kid.

    There was a very large wine selection, although they don't carry port wine because the alcohol content is too high for their on-premises license.

    There was a nice selection of bento lunch boxes so your kid can take sushi to school. I passed a couple with the husky man wearing an Atlanta Braves tee shirt. There was a very large selection of bulk spices and grains.

    Van Morrison came on the music. That always wins me over. As Strange said, good craft beer selection. Bought a 6 pack of Sculpin IPA because my father-in-law was on the USS Sculpin in "The Big One", as he called it. Because of tonsillitis he missed the patrol when it was sunk. One of the greatest men I've ever known. I'll have one in his honor.

    The butcher meat counter was 90 feet long (I figured if I stepped off the cheese counter in France I should step off the meat counter in Texas). Ribeyes were 17.99/lb and T-bones 16.99.

    "Hot pans coming through. Excuse me SIR! Hot pans." I stop writing notes and turned and quickly stepped out of the way for this guy carrying a tray of grilled brats to the meat section restaurant counter.

    Not as many free samples as my local Kroger. Chocolate truffles ridiculously expansive.

    There was a third restaurant, a bistro. Out in front of it there were two islands with salad bar stuff. Twenty seven types of bulk olives. A third island had hot foods. Today it was Indian (or is it Native Sub-Continenters?). Finally there was a sandwich bar followed by the smoothie bar.

    $3.99/lb for roasted unsalted peanuts and $4.99 for almonds.

    Passed the same couple again. His wife is making him smell perfumed soap. The look on his face said he really wanted to be watching a ball game instead. Finally there was another free sample. Liquid multivitamin. Vile tasting.

    Went looking for the kombucha mentioned earlier in the thread. Found it next to the sushi bar. Found some cheese puff samples that were incredible. Circled the aisle and came back for more samples. I went to the check out where a skinny waif of a girl checked me out. She looked at the sour cherry kombucha and said it was her favorite. I bet she says that to all the kombuchas.

    From his tatooes the checker next to us looked like AHern's brother. The waif smiles and says $24. What? For three items? Should have checked the price of the Sculpin. It was $15. But the memory of Big Al is worth it.

    So in summary, the crowd reflected a lot of Austin: some yuppies, some alternative types, some geeks, some college students, some professionals. There were plenty of items you can't get in a typical supermarket. Some things are high priced, but some were the same as Kroger where I mostly shop.

    Got in my car and opened the kombucha. I wondered if that violated open container laws. As I pulled out of the garage the woman in pink top and black yoga pants crossed the street in front of me.

    My daughter laughed at me and said taking notes in WF is the silliest thing I've ever done. I assured her it wasn't.
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  6. anstro76
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    anstro76 Well-Known Member

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    That sir was the best post I've ever read. Do you write professionally?

    Sent from my mind using ESP
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  7. rburnett
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    rburnett Well-Known Member

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    Lol... Ok phat, now you have to do the same at Walmart.
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  8. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. A large part of my job is writing, but it's technical things like proposals and reports.
  9. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    That means making the 1187 mile drive home. I'll see what I can do. :)
  10. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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    phat, that was great!
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  11. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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    Did you really make this haul for WF?
  12. bakaduin
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    bakaduin Super Moderator

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    Haha I'm curious too! The writing was so well done that if he didn't actual go there I would say he needs to start writing fictional novels!
  13. MMCaneOL
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    This is why I like my Whole Foods!

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
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  14. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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    Mean Albert!
  15. gtr2x
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    gtr2x Well-Known Member

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    In honor of this thread, I stopped in to the local WF store last night on the way home. Picked up some seafood chowder and a few other things for dinner. All were very good and the wife was very happy. I didnt even need to take out a loan to pay for it. On the other hand I dont think I will be getting any takeout from Walmart any time soon.

    As for the aesthetics, hard to complain about those Out front was a "nice" young lady selling some fancy popsicles with an attractive t-shirt that read "lick it, suck it or bite it". The only real negative was a woman walking around with her chihuahua in a handbag.
  16. bakaduin
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    bakaduin Super Moderator

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    I'm not the biggest fan of Walmart but their ready to bake pizzas are quite enjoyable for a quick meal (way better than frozen pizzas but certainly no fresh pie).
  17. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    In the interest of full disclosure I have to say I am here to visit my daughter and do some work on her new condo. But the timing with the thread was perfect so I decided to have some fun with it. The first post was at a convenience store at 4 am getting coffee to start the drive.

    The thread gave me something to look forward to at stops along the way. Got here yesterday just before my daughter went to work (works evening shift), so in the evening I headed over to WH. I must say I haven't had this much fun in a thread in a long time. :)
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  18. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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    Bravo. Well done and very appreciated.
  19. phatGator
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    phatGator Well-Known Member

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    Thank you!
  20. Emmitto
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    Good thread. After perusing the mostly excellent posts, I'll amend my initial stance from "I"ll pass" to "I'll consider it." I still think it's a magnet for d-bags (and generally I don't use that term, but since I used it so much here I'll stick with it.) I also think that there are plenty of excellent people in there, including the staff. In fact, most of the populace is undoubtedly cool.

    And I'll also join in on the phatGator love-a-thon. Well done.

    But just to be clear, if I am in there, and you are a d-bag, then I'm taking your organic Himalayan caterpillar sperm-injected beet root and rubbing it on the slightly less than 1% rat poo weiners I bought out of a van at a truck stop convenience store. You've been warned.
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