I end up going to Whole Foods for lunch maybe once every two or three weeks, because there's one pretty close to Mercury HQ and their avocado/cucumber rolls are very good and sometimes the salad bar's worth a shot and then there's a kind of apple juice I really like there and SHIT I JUST SPENT MORE ON LUNCH THAN I DID ON MY LAST STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT GAAAHHH
Then I'm ashamed, and then I don't go for another two weeks, and then the cycle repeats itself. Aside from Whole Food's predatory exploitation of privileged food hobbyists, though, there's another reason to be wary of the place: Increasingly, Whole Foods is basing its existence on catering to scientifically dubious trends (GOJI BERRIES WILL NOT SAVE YOU). For Whole Foods' Portland stores at least, that's a smart strategy, given that scientifically dubious trends are lovingly embraced by a distressing amount of otherwise reasonable Portlanders. Hey, otherwise reasonable Portlanders! Here's a thing that's worth reading! Michael Schulson's "Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience," from The Daily Beast:
Look, if homeopathic remedies make you feel better, take them. If the Paleo diet helps you eat fewer TV dinners, that’s great—even if the Paleo diet is probably premised more on The Flintstones than it is on any actual evidence about human evolutionary history. If non-organic crumbs bother you, avoid them. And there’s much to praise in Whole Foods’ commitment to sustainability and healthful foods.
Still: a significant portion of what Whole Foods sells is based on simple pseudoscience. And sometimes that can spill over into outright anti-science (think What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or Whole Foods’ overblown GMO campaign, which could merit its own article). If scientific accuracy in the public sphere is your jam, is there really that much of a difference between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, who seems to have made a career marketing pseudoscience about the origins of the world, and John Mackey, a founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, who seems to have made a career, in part, out of marketing pseudoscience about health? (Via.)
Whenever I think of Whole Foods, I also think of the slightly more tolerable New Seasons, which caters to the same sort of bourgie clientele. That said, I haven't been inside a New Seasons for a year or two—has anybody who's gone there recently noticed if they're doing the same thing as Whole Foods when it comes to this kind of stuff?