There is a new Whole Foods within walking distance of my home. It took over the Wild Oats that was there before and is now boasting far more customers than the previous occupant.
My feelings are mixed.
This is far from the first Whole Foods in our area. There are roughly four within a five minute drive of my home. And while I secretly love browsing the aisles for Quinoa, baked salmon and $10 gallons of organic milk with my fellow yuppies, there has always been something that disturbs me about the store.
Perhaps it is the feeling I get that I am being duped. Some corporate jerk is probably living in his penthouse in Manhattan laughing at the urban liberals who are willing to spend $4 for a single organic peach.
Mostly, I have been content to shop at the local mercado, which is full of color, 700 different languages and hundreds of irate people on any given day. The quality of food is not the best, but the atmosphere is amusing and the feeling that I am spending what food is worth makes up for it.
The problem lately is that with the rising food prices, even my mercado is ridiculously expensive. Whole Foods now has better prices on the organic milk and eggs and cheese I insist on giving my child. And since I do not want to go to 15 grocery stores, I am now finding myself shopping with all the people like my parents (who swear by Whole Foods and the local gourmet farmer's market for their produce) who are willing to spend $250 a week on groceries.
R, Sam and I ventured there on Saturday to do our first post-vacation shopping trip and I have to say, it was mighty pleasant. There were no crazy people cutting me in line and muttering curse words in their native language. There were no 100-year-old smokers shouting racist epithets while running their walkers into everyone's cart. It was pure yuppy, pure happiness.
We had samples of local, organic frozen yogurt, ripe, local peaches and even heard the music of a local folk singer who was performing kid's songs in a tent just outside the store at their "green, May-fest." I looked around and saw 400 people just like me, their babies in the carts, their clothes clean and relatively new. I knew they probably went home with their organic produce in their Volvos to canvas for Obama and rail against giant SUVs.
And I wondered, is this what my life is now? I am now shopping with people just like me and finding it comfortable. Does this mean that I will soon need to move into a neighborhood where everyone looks like me, talks like me and thinks like me?
Am I just a cliched Northeastern Liberal Elitist? Probably. But hey, what can I say, I like $10 cheese from grass-fed cows and people that sport Obama stickers and talk about overpopulation. These are my people. And they buy Mac products, gentrify city neighborhoods and shop at Whole Foods.