By: Dave Infante
You can tell a lot about a person's character by the contents of their grocery cart, but to truly understand a shopper's soul, you've got to discover their deepest, bougiest, most overpriced Whole Foods guilty pleasures. Farm-to-table fennel? Line-caught river trout? Perhaps an entire wheel of organic Jarlsberg, simply because one rarely gets the opportunity to spend $90 on organic Jarlsberg, and like, why the hell not? In service of socioeconomic schadenfreude & cathartic class guilt, I asked 21 Young Urban Professionals -- including several Thrillist editors -- to reveal their most embarrassingly unnecessary Whole Foods purchases.* These are their stories.
Credit: Flickr/Boris Mann
"I'm definitely guilty of buying cheese there for no reason other than 'surely this smoked Gouda is better than the smoked Gouda at Stop & Shop.' I just want to put cheese in my facehole, so I'd be happy eating Easy Cheese. But if I'm having company, I should serve the 'nice cheese' with the ancient-grain crackers right? How did I spend $50 on this stuff that's going to make a mess on my floor because no one is eating over the goddamn cocktail napkins that I bought for this party?" - Mike, 35, Westchester
"I haven't even used those herbes de Provence once."
"I needed to take a drug test for my job, and read online that I'd be able to pass if I drank a gallon of unfiltered organic cranberry juice. This sounded fancy and I was nervous that I wouldn't get the right kind, so I figured Whole Foods was my best bet. The juice was overpriced & gross to drink. The worst part, though, was that I had no explanation for my coworkers as to why I was chugging a gallon of fancy cranberry juice all day. They probably all thought I had a really bad UTI or something." - Michelle, 30, Manhattan
Credit: Andrew Zimmer
"I'll tell you what's dumb. Their stupid meat ratings. But I was dating this guy who was mega-crunchy and I needed to show him that I actually cared about animals, despite the fact that I come from a culture that eats dogs. Step 5+ meat guarantees that the animals are 'born and live their entire lives on one farm.' It's also like, 100x as expensive. When I went over to make him dinner, he told me he planned on going vegan by the end of the year. I politely gathered my things and went home." - Wendy, 29, Manhattan
"I bought a burrito bowl at Whole Foods and ate it alone in the cafe while listening to an episode of Serial. The combination delighted me with the unearned satisfaction that comes from choosing to consume marginally more sophisticated versions of goods." - Mike, 26, Brooklyn
"I went for Emergen-C, and left with a stainless steel coffee Thermos."
"Herbes de provence, because I had no idea what it was. Even after multiple Google searches, I couldn't find the matching container. So I asked a store clerk, who picked one up right in front of me. Also I've never used it once." - Liz, 30, Manhattan
Credit: Andrew Zimmer
"The upstairs level of the Houston Whole Foods is for those who find the main floor too affordable or too common. This is the ivory tower sitting on the top of an ivy tower. A place for those who go to a grocery store seeking non-grocery items. Lavendar bath salts, yoga mats, Tom's shoes, or homeopathic placebos. You know, the bare essentials. Walking up those stairs, one enters into what a Greenwich Mother would remember from her trip to the Grand Bazaar. Blythe Danner meets King Xerxes. Where J. Peterman buys 'Klean Kanteens' for his next safari expedition. So it is with great shame, when I admit I have frequented this rarified air. I was directed there to find Emergen-C, and walked down the stairs laden with a stainless steel 20oz coffee Thermos. That was four years ago, and all I have done is wash it out. If only I had bought that carabiner, I would have brought it to work with me every day. Since this ill-advised event, I have not again dared to venture to the upstairs level of Whole Foods. But if I had to hazard a guess, they probably have a solid holiday deal this time of year on gold, frankincense, and myrrh." - Blake, 27, Manhattan
"Do you think I WANT to go there for my French chestnuts?"
"I routinely pay $10 for a jar of 'artisanal' pickles. This fills me with shame because for that price, they're not even the best I've ever had. Those would be the pickles in the $13 jar, which I bought a few times. I haven't in a while. I couldn't stomach that level of shame. Sometimes when I'm eating the 'cheap' pickles, I think about how much happier I'd be if I would've sucked it up and bought the bigger jar. But I can't. Also, I'd like this to be anonymous. I am ashamed." - Jed, 34, Denver
"This might not be what you're looking for, but it's about that stupid organic vitamin aisle. They clearly try hard to not use Johnson & Johnson branding, so it's really hard to know what types of vitamins you're actually buying. Long story short, I bought fancy prenatal vitamins while food shopping with my Dad. This was back in high school. Things got weird." - Melissa, 27, Long Island
"I go through a pack of dried mango every couple of days. It costs $12.99. I don't think I really have to say anything else about this." - Britt, 30, Brooklyn
"I shop at Whole Foods for the express purpose of buying overpriced meat substitutes. I'm talking 11oz of fake beef crumbles for $6.29 -- and multiple packages, at that. I once checked out with two bags of beefy crumbles, two bags of different brands of fake meatballs, a box of tofu ribs, and nothing else. Plus, whenever I go, I try to stock up to avoid going back anytime soon, which ultimately makes me look like I sustain myself solely on things like pea protein. Which is fine?" - Rachel Freeman, 23, Brooklyn
*Responses were edited for brevity & clarity. Pseudonyms were used in place of real names at yuppies' requests.
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