This morning, facing a day of no school or activities for my children, I decided that we would all go grocery shopping together, a task I needed to complete, but something I don't usually do with both kids. If I have to, I normally go to the grocery store nearest our house because there's a large Italian-American contingent that shops there (my people), and they seem to think it's adorable when Gabe screams things like, "Mommy, DO YOU SEE that balloon?!?" This, by the way, is a passive aggressive tactic of his when trying to attain something he wants, as well as a simple question ("Mommy, what's in that drawer? Oh. Is it chocolate? Oh, chocolate.")
This time though I decided we'd go to Whole Foods so that we could have our pick of a bunch of great produce. I was like, hey, this will be fun. The kids can help me pick some healthy snacks - which it's much easier to do when you're at that particular grocery store - and I would, well, get to shop at Whole Foods! Which I love to do, rarely buying more than just a few items, yet somehow always spending $50 or more. That's just what happens there and you sort of have to deal with it, while you enjoy your organic dark chocolate and satsumas.
Today, though, I decided we'd spend some actual time there, and it went surprisingly well. I don't know if it was the fact that they were tired from a weekend of plentiful events, or just that they were too occupied being impressed by the setup and offerings in there, like I always am, but both kids were very well-behaved, and we succeeded in buying a few things we don't normally, which is what I'd wanted. Blood oranges, for instance. Brown pears, instead of green ones.
As much of a joy as Whole Foods is to a food lover like me, however, I always come away feeling a little weird, and I think it's more than the fact that I feel like I need to do penance after paying the bill. Maybe it's the fact that there are different gradients, in numbers, posted on animal items letting you know just how well this or that cow was treated, and although even the lowest rating indicates pretty good conditions, I always feel bad choosing that one, when I could choose a higher number. A more fairly treated cow.
But I think what it really is, is that people don't seem to be having much fun when I go to Whole Foods. It could just be this particular location we visit, or perhaps I'm just so worried about spending over a million that I project my own anxiety onto others. I think, though, that the store might be a place for people who shop in a much more serious way than I do. Where shopping isn't a happy, even relaxing, way to spend a morning, like it is for me - imagining all the meals you'll make, or how good those blood oranges will taste - but a stress trigger, causing one to wonder where the hell the organic unsulphured unsweetened dried cherries are, because goddamnit, there's only unsulphured sweetened on the shelf.
Or, same theme, but crazier, there was the woman this morning who'd tracked down a salesperson and brought her to the bulk aisle to lament the fact that there wasn't some particular type of nut available that she needed to buy for her macaw.
Yeah, I think it's that. Oh, and also that I came extremely close to buying goat milk, thinking it was half and half. Thankfully, I re-checked the label.