Monthly Archives: February 2009

My Last Trip To Whole Foods?

cowEven though Whole Foods has always been pricey, I have enjoyed their salad and hot bar, that seemed quite a deal for someone looking for a reasonable, and healthy, alternative to fast food for lunch. Well, recently I decided to treat my daughter to lunch and I took her there. Granted, I haven’t been there in quite a while, as it’s not right down the street from me and this economy has really emptied my pocket book. But, I thought one small splurge for a salad was okay – I was WRONG. And, I’m betting there are more people like me who are making the last trip to Whole Foods as this economy begins to compact our spending, and we start evaluating the value we are getting for our money spent.

Thirty Dollars For Two Salads And A Shared Drink

Okay, I think it’s a little strange that two salads and a shared drink should cost this much, and that’s because they upped their prices from $5.99/lb to $7.99/lb. While everyone else in this recession is dropping their prices, Whole Foods got the bright idea to raise theirs! Way to go! Very sustainable – NOT! Is the quality worth it though? In comparison to what? McDonalds? How about a local eatery like Aladdin’s down the street from me that sells the same fare, Meditteranean cuisine basically, and you get to  eat it on real china and with metal forks and spoons. And, you aren’t lined up like cattle getting to the register, ala cafeteria style, and hoping you get a seat. Nope, they meet you at the front at Aladdin’s, seat you in a quiet atmosphere, and treat the customer like gold. Ah, and if you order there you get more than one drink and no one hassles you about putting away your own dishes.

That Was The Kicker

Yes, on my way out I got hassled about what receptacle was the “proper” place to put my fork, my napkin, and my plate by an overzealous recycling employee. Honestly, I’m all for recycling, but I just spent $30 to be herded like a cow, chewing on a small wad of greens, and then chastised for not putting away my own dishes.  Worth $30? Certainly not to me anymore.  I’d rather go to a nice restaurant, if I’m going to be forced to pay the same amount I’d pay for a great sit-in dinner. Then, if they want to recycle there, by all means do it on your own dollar.

The Outlook For Whole Foods? Not Good.

So, I checked online to see what exactly is happening to Whole Foods in this economy, and this quote seemed to capture the problem precisely:

One of Whole Foods’ strengths was that it offered grocery shoppers a luxurious and distinctive shopping experience. However, it appears that many consumers consider shopping at Whole Foods an extravagance during rockier economic times. The company deliberately branded itself as a purveyor of premium quality groceries and this has recently become more of a stigma than a benefit in the eyes of value-seeking shoppers.

Yep, bye, bye, Whole Foods, with Harris Teeter selling salad bar fixings that can rival anything Whole Foods has at a price of $5.99/lb, I think Whole Paycheck has definitely taken their hubris at being “natural and green” to unsustainable levels in this economy.

Do you all know that the recession is sexist?

Show me the moneyI’ve had to do some research for various freelance writing projects and apparently, men are feeling the affects of the recession more than women. The reasons given for more men being laid off than women is that the industries most affected had a high number of males in them, like construction, finance, and mortgages. I would venture to guess too that since women have been historically paid lower then men, for the same work, that it is more attractive to employers to hold on to women with lower salaries than men, but that would be awfully sexist, now wouldn’t it?

I am also seeing that in some areas where men have traditionally made decisions for the buying, women are taking over because they are either paying closer attention to the budget or something more fundamental is going on. Food buying is generally a female-oriented activity, for married couples, so that’s not changing. However, things like home remodeling, typically a male activity is having a little tweak with women appearing to start to edge out men. I don’t know if that’s because people can’t sell their homes and there are more single head of household women year after year or what. There are definitely some trends that have to be watched if you are marketing because it looks like women are gaining  economic power in this recession and making more buying decisions.

Here are some news stories that point out this shift:

Scared Silent…

going out of businessOkay, I haven’t blogged too much about the bailout the economic crisis and so on. Why? I’m scared silent, that’s why. I never for a moment thought I’d be seeing the crash of the United States in my lifetime. It’s really quite a feat and I really don’t know what to say. Although I’m not for fear mongering, what can one think when California is sending out IOUs as payment and the counties are revolting by not paying their taxes to the state? We’re in a heap of trouble, and I literally mean WE.

I think by the time this is all over, everyone is going to be affected, if they haven’t been already. Yes, I have a ton of work coming in, but bills are getting harder and harder to pay. Creditors are getting very aggressive, not even waiting for the bill to be due to call up and wonder if you’re going to be paying it. I kid you not.

People holding houses they can’t get rid of, student loans they can’t pay back because of no jobs, and wages so low they’re having trouble feeding their families. If this isn’t the start of another Great Depression, honestly, I don’t know what is. I’m growing a garden this year because I believe the food prices will climb beyond anything we’ve seen so far when hyperinflation sets in after this bailout goes through. I am hedging my bets though and if the $15,000 for buying a house incentive gets through, I’ll try and sell again this year. Otherwise, I’m not bothering because rentals will increase more than a fixed mortgage if hyperinflation hits and I won’t be able to find a decent place anyways. It’s time to head for the hills because there’s definitely something nasty headed our way.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all this just went away? Gosh, I just don’t see how that’s going to happen. We’re all going to be taking some lumps pretty soon…The drop in retirement funds are going to look heavenly in a little while…That’s what I think, and I really hope I’m wrong.