Monday, 5 June 2006

Whole Foods as a fashion accessory

James Joyner has an interesting critique of a whiny piece from the New York Times Magazine on Wal-Mart’s entry into the organic foods market.

My general sense of the whole “organic foods” craze is that, like the $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks (or, better, the local “fair trade” coffee place), it is another way for the upper-middle class to avoid shopping with the riff-raff while proclaiming their moral superiority over those who can’t waste money on such accoutrements—in other words, the traditional conspicuous consumption of the well-to-do spackled with a thin layer of altruism.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Neil Lawrence wrote @ Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 10:10 am CDT:

Couldn’t agree more.


We don’t shop at Whole Foods Market though we could afford to. In fact, we shop for groceries at Wal Mart, mainly because it is the closest supermarket to the house. We are regulars at Starbuck’s.

If I did shop at Whole Foods, my attitude would be, “Screw you. I’‘ll shop where I want and it’s none of your damn business”. Sorry, I don’t think where someone shops for groceries is a proclamation of moral superiority.

It’s just another choice consumers make. It’s no different than buying an expensive car if you can afford it. Is buying a Mercedes Benz or a Hummer a proclamation of moral superiority?


“Is buying a Mercedes Benz or a Hummer a proclamation of moral superiority?”

No, just small genitalia.

[Permalink] 4. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 4:00 pm CDT:

I’m with Pug. I choose not to shop at Wal-Mart because I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend the little bit extra at Target, Kroger, and/or Schnucks. Yes, there is a little bit of not having to deal with AS MUCH rif-raff and yeah, it’s probably worth the extra few bucks. But at the end of the day, if Wal-Mart actually offered clean stores and more than 3 checkout lanes open on a weekend afternoon, maybe I’d actually consider shopping there.


Well, I’d say Target, Kroger, and Schnuck’s are in a whole different league from Whole Foods—heck, I haven’t bought groceries on a regular basis at Wal-Mart since I left Oxford, although it has more to do with convenience than “lifestyle.”

[Permalink] 6. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 8:48 pm CDT:

I’ll agree on the Target and Kroger front, but if it’s a nice, new Schnuck’s, at times, it’s easy to forget you’re in a regular grocery store. They’ve got some really, really nice stuff. That said, yeah, there is nothing here aside from Fresh Market or Wild Oats (I like Fresh Market, don’t like Wild Oats) that approaches Whole Foods.

But the differences b/t the other large chains and Wal-Mart are normally noticeable upon entering the store.

[Permalink] 7. Scott wrote @ Tue, 6 Jun 2006, 8:52 pm CDT:
“Is buying a Mercedes Benz or a Hummer a proclamation of moral superiority?”

No, just small genitalia.

[stands and applauds]

Well played, sir…well played!

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