We’re hearing predictions of a big storm to hit here overnight, so we joined the hordes of City By the Sea residents rushing to local grocery stores to supplement our no doubt already abundant stores of food. In fact, Pure Luck sounded perplexed when I told him my plan over the phone. He knows how much we brought home from BJ’s less than two weeks ago. I assured him we meant only to replenish a few staples.
With both kids in the car, I headed to the new Whole Paycheck that recently opened in City By the Sea.
I have mixed feelings about shopping there. I like the idea of whole foods, and we’ve been fans of the much smaller Wild Oats here for the past couple of years, a store I assume will close now that its corporate parent has been swallowed by Whole Paycheck. And swallowed is a good description of how it feels to drive into the parking lot and to enter the store itself. It’s HUGE. It somehow just feels wrong for the "green" store to be so enormous. This is nowhere more striking than in the area where you can buy cooked food or salads at food bars. I wonder, even on this crowded Thursday afternoon, can there possibly be enough shoppers in City By the Sea who can afford to buy this expensive Indian food (delicious looking, by the way) and six varieties of tofu salad? There is a candy counter bigger more expansive than the one in our local posh candy store. It’s out of scale to our community, and I shudder to think of the waste at the end of each day.
Snowman wondered if anyone would even know if he should make off with a Risotto ball. "Not only would it be delicious, I’d be sticking it to the man."
(That was just talk, by the way.)
He also noted the amount of decoration throughout the store. It’s so revoltingly corporate, so perfectly put together, filled with the affectations of "rustically" wrought iron and wood. When we got to the checkout line with our shockingly overpriced orange juice, bread, butter, flour and Annie’s mac and cheese (yes, and our kettle corn, probably the real reason we ended up there instead of the regular grocery store), Snowman speculated on the values of the company.
"For all I know," he said, "even though everything in the store says organic, they might be serving pies made of people."
"Ah, so you think Whole Paycheck is a front for Sweeney Todd?"
"I think it’s possible. And the pies might taste really good, and we wouldn’t know. And somewhere in an office someone is laughing with delight for having fooled us all."
"Are you suggesting Montgomery Burns owns Whole Paycheck?"
Our line mates exemplified the types we saw throughout the store. The woman in front of us bought $200 dollars worth of groceries, including five bottles of wine. She wore high-heeled boots and an upscale "casual" ensemble. Meanwhile, a retired hippie and his daughter with green hair tips stood behind us in the slow-moving line. He was eating some kind of a bar, and I took a moment to look back and see if he would present the wrapper to the cashier.
So apparently someone *is* sticking it to the man.