The day was October 22nd, 2014.
I had just left a particularly trying sculpt class when all I wanted was FOOD.
I was heading to a friend’s place so I figured I’d just go to the nearest grocery store and pick up something quick to make. As I turned a corner I was face-to-face with a Whole Foods. Woooo! I figured now was as good a time as any to try out their hot food bar. It seemed like a happy compromise – that way, I wouldn’t have to do any real work but I could still feel good about what I was eating. Wins all around!
By the third time I circled the store I was, in a word, overwhelmed. I guess it’s never a good idea to lose your Whole Foods hot bar virginity at 6pm on a weeknight but hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Aside from the masses of men in suits, the dreadlocks, and the women in yoga pants (I’m ashamed at how much I fit in), THE PRICES. I mean, I’ve shopped there before and if you play your cards right it’s really not as bad as people say. But the prepared food…I could have spent enough money to put a down payment on a car if you let me roam around there long enough.
I politely asked for the most simple of the fish: a piece of salmon. No frills, no sauce, no sides, just a piece of fish with some salt and pepper on it. “Did you want a particular piece, miss?” I was surprised by this question and it got me to thinking how annoying it must be to work there with snoopy people leaning over the glass pointing “no no no, THIS one, no no no, THAT one.” But I smiled and said “Just the one in the back, thanks.” Bada bing, bada boom, she slapped the price tag on the bag and handed me my piece of fish as I examined the sides deciding which one I would take to go along with it. Oh, how naive I was. I could’ve had some of their homemade pizza so I was pretty proud of myself at this point. Until I looked down at the price tag.
For a piece of fish.
As the woman eagerly waited for me to pick my sides I smiled and said, in the most convincing tone I could, that I was going to continue looking around the store.
I couldn’t stop looking at the packaging. I wish I had taken a photo! It was such an unassuming piece of fish, the size of my palm and plain as could be, with just the little specks of black pepper showing.
I panicked as I walked up and down the aisles of that Whole Foods, trying to decide what my next step would be. Dollar signs began flashing before my eyes, visions of student loan payments and upcoming Christmas gifts dancing in my head. And here I was, starving, holding a $10 piece of salmon.
I thought about giving it back. I really did. But I had a feeling there was going to be some health code issue where they can’t take back meat like that that’s already been taken from the counter. But I just KNEW I couldn’t walk out the door with that stupid piece of fish.
It was then that I decided to commit my very first crime (that I know of).
If you’ve ever been to a Whole Foods during peak hours you know that there are about seven hundred employees in the aisles as well, so disposing of said-fish was going to be tricky.
I meandered up and down the aisles looking like a straight-up idiot carrying a piece of fish by itself until, by some grace of God, I came across a frozen food aisle that was empty AND out of view from any of the counters that lined the perimeter. I approached the gluten-free bread section, pretended to compare the cinnamon raisin and the sprouted whole grain, had one last moment of remorse, opened the door, and threw the fish in the freezer.
I figured at least there it had a chance. A chance to be discovered, nursed back to health and put back on display. I was even a little proud of myself that I had enough self-control and wherewithal to not shove it behind a cereal box or something where it would stink to high heaven the next day.
And then I ran.
I was 30% sure that someone was going to stop me and ask where my fish was. After all I had been roaming alone with that sucker for awhile and then *snap* it vanished. But I was able to escape without being arrested and charged with salmon swindling.
And that, my friends, is why I will never buy from the Whole Foods hot bar.
(Oh, and immediately following this I went to Potbelly and got a toasted turkey sandwich + chocolate smoothie — $8.25).
- Anyone know what the jail time is for salmon swindling?
- Do you shop often at the Whole Foods hot bar? If so, which street corner are you prostituting yourself on that makes your trips there possible?
- What’s one food that you’ll always splurge on, no matter the price?