I have been shopping at Whole Foods Market since they took over all the funky, indie health food stores where I used to shop. I’ve bought my food, herbs, candles, incense, vitamins, and magazines from their stores.
When traveling, I have gone to their deli counters and ordered most, if not all, of my meals from them. And over the past two years, I have sung the praises of their brands on my blog (becuase I really like thier brands. No corporate freebie bribes involved).
I have added tens and tens of thousands of dollars to their coffers. But over a recent period of two or so months, I accumulated a bunch of spoiled products from my local Whole Foods Market:
- One quart of Kefir yogurt, bad the day I bought it.
- One jar of dolmas, also bad the day I bought it.
- One small Greek yogurt, sold just before the expiration date and therefore bad before I had the chance to open it.
- One half-gallon of milk, also sold just before the expiration date and therefore bad before I had the chance to drink it.
- One quart of plain yogurt, with the plastic safety seal already open when I first lifted the lid.
That’s quite a bit of unusable product, no? I don’t have the time to go running back to the store every time I get something bad – especially when I get so damn many spoiled goods in such a concentrated amount of time. So in the interest of consolidating my efforts, I poured or threw out the contents of each spoiled product and put aside the containers.
Now anybody who knows me is well aware that it is easier for me to write an entire book than to get an envelope into a mailbox. I am not exaggerating. So of course, I kept forgetting to take the damn containers. But then I put aside an entire day for any and all pain-in-the-ass projects I needed to get done. And so I took the containers to my local Whole Foods Market.
That’s when my relationship with Whole Foods went bad:
I showed my bag of treasures to the Whole Foods customer service representative and asked for permission to do an even exchange with the same products. She gave me a ”what the fuck is wrong with you” look and said in a matching tone, ”You have to bring things back within five days, or we can’t do an exchange.”
I paused, taken aback. “OK,” I said, “so you can just throw those away.” I turned around, walked out, and have not shopped at Whole Foods since.
Here’s why: There was no apology for saddling me with bad goods and no acknowledgment of the inconvenience of adding more and more things to my to-do list. If they can’t be bothered to compensate me for poor products, I figure, I can’t be bothered to keep shelling out to them thousands and thousands of dollars of my hard-earned income.