February 28, 2013

Do you like this?

In many relationships, there comes a time when one person begins to feel like things have run their course. The spark that once ignited a flame of desire becomes a weak glimmer of what once was. The excitement and anticipation that once preceded every visit begins to wane and the thought of being together becomes a mundane ritual of habit. You begin to feel as though spending time together has turned into a chore and a duty rather than a pleasured privilege. You realize that it’s time to move on.

I’m sorry Whole Foods, but I think we need to breakup.

I have such fond memories of when we first met. I was visiting Atlanta and spotted you out of the corner of my eye as we passed each other on Briarcliff Road. You were like a beacon of freshness and beauty in an otherwise bleak market landscape. You welcomed me with open arms and showed me things I had never seen before—exotic tastes and unknown pleasures of the tongue awaited me around every corner. I can still vividly recall the intoxicating smell of vanilla and cinnamon as I passed your bustling bakery and my first glimpse of your sparklingly beautiful seafood display nearly took my breath away. Even your 365 Brands had a certain je ne sais quoi that hometown store brands just couldn’t match.

Before long, you became an integral part of my life. I looked forward to those monthly trips to Atlanta so that I could spend hours inside you. You were special and gave me something I could not find in Chattanooga. You gave me hope that there was more out there than the unhealthy, packaged foods that I had been getting from Bi-Lo and that whore Walmart. I even introduced my children to you and they quickly fell for your exotic wonders and pledges of purity that enticed me in the beginning.

Imagine my delight when I found out Whole Foods had decided to come to Chattanooga. I felt some trepidation since I had a very successful “friends with benefits” relationship with a sweet local by the name of Greenlife, but you promised things would be better when you moved to town. You said that you respected what I had with Greenlife and that you would never come between us. Things went just as you promised for a while, but then you started to change.

At first, it was the little things. A Whole Foods logo here, a 365 brand there, but before long you began to disrespect what I had built with Greenlife over the years and eventually pushed her out of my life completely. It was all about you and your Whole Foods “mission” that left no room on your shelves for so many of the things I loved about Greenlife.

To make matters worse, you left all of the focus on what was important for our relationship behind. The things I originally fell in love with Whole Foods for were starting to disappear and it wasn’t long before your commitment to providing me with a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods and quality grocery items began to take a back seat to other priorities.

I should have seen it coming when you first started fooling around with prepared foods. I tolerated the experiments with sandwiches, sushi and pizza, and even participated from time to time, but it just felt wrong and we both knew it. But when you installed a salad bar and a hot bar, it marked the beginning of the end for us. By the time you remodeled the entire store and turned it into a bad buffet restaurant that stores it inventory on the shopping aisles, I knew it was over. I feel lied to, betrayed and deceived by promises of a principled business model that was pushed aside once you became popular.

Whole Foods, you’ve become a trollop in activist’s clothes that plays with people’s desire to do the right thing for your own gain. Those of us who have known you for all of these years see clearly how your original goal to sell the highest quality products available is being drowned out by the drive for profits and growth.

So, we have to break up Whole Foods. If you decide to settle down and return to the beautiful oasis you once were, I will be here waiting. Until then, take care of yourself and don’t let your CEO abuse your natural beauty until you become unrecognizable, you’re too good for that. Goodbye, Whole Foods.

Chef-musician Mike McJunkin secretly shops at Bi-Lo, Walmart and other down-market markets and keeps a Food Lion Cub Card in his wallet. He once uttered the word “check” into a microphone at the US Festival, sending shockwaves through the crowd. Spare him no pity, but “like” him at


February 28, 2013

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