Friday, December 28, 2007

a different approach to grocery shopping

since kristin & i moved back into town we've done 99% of our grocery shopping at whole foods & central market. from time to time when we are looking at our checkbook we wonder if this is a smart move to be shopping at these stores all the time. well sometimes it isn't about money... did i just say that? maybe i've had one two many poppers (cute little healthy treats that kristin makes) today.

i recall our grocery shopping experiences in the past being mostly chaotic & they usually resulted in both of us being frustrated (even if only one of us went to the store the other would come home in such a bad mood that we'd cause the other to get frustrated). who would enjoy long lines, frustrating people, & buzzers & beepers from endless rows of checkout lines ringing in your ear from the moment you walk in until the moment you walk out? while i don’t consider grocery shopping fun, i do feel that both whole foods & central market try their best to make our experience as enjoyable as possible.

to begin with, the lines are usually never as long at these stores as they are at a traditional grocery store. the consumers, as well as the staff are much more personable too. we often find ourselves conversing with other folks in line & the staff is always eager to talk & help you out. parking… well parking is bad everyone in austin right?

we normally frequent the downtown location of whole foods & the central location of central market. whole foods is by far the best of the two stores in my opinion. both of us appreciate that whole foods tries to off the highest quality of real or “whole” foods. you’ll be hard pressed to find anything at whole foods containing high fructose corn syrup for example. central market is a bit lax on their ingredients & appears to me to be setup for more of the foodie & not as much towards the foodie who is also concerned about the ingredients of the food.

visiting whole foods usually turns into a full trip for us. we’ll often run at the lake & then head to whole foods. we’ll fill up on some goodies from the many choices they offer & then do our shopping. since kristin has been doing the veggie thing we’ve found some really cool & tasty items to satisfy both of our taste buds. stop by the vegan bar next time you are there & try their pumpkin mousse – it’s amazing & 100% vegan.

whole foods just did this very cool & environmentally conscience thing… they got rid of all plastic bags. if you visit the store, you’ll need to bring your own or purchase a re-usable bag of which is made of recycled plastics & paper. what a smart & responsible move on their part for setting a good example for other companies to follow. i’m sure central market will follow in their food steps soon & eventually all grocery stores should do the same. so much waste comes from the plastic grocery bag.

the only down side we have with whole foods is the cost of their produce & meat. we usually buy the majority of our produce & meat at central market just because of the cost savings.

oh, & big props to central market on something that just happened a few days ago. i was at central market on christmas eve their credit card machine (you could still use a check-card, cash, or check) was on the fritz & the lines were getting thicker than normal. in an effort to mitigate the situation while the machines were being looked at there were regular announcements on the overhead speakers informing everyone of what was going on & they even started serving champagne to those waiting in line. that’s top notch service in my book.

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