On Privileged Shoppers… 12/2013



I lived close to “Whole paycheck Foods” when it first went into the old cable car depot by Lake Merritt. I used to enjoy dipping in for fresh veggies or a splurge on wine or cheese but now I hate hate, hate going in there.

This WF in particular reeks of stereotypical privilege; white folks! In a sea of white folks moving so slow one could hardly call it, moving, the kind mindless dawdling & aisle clogging that makes me yearn for a purse sized cattle prod, I saw only 2 families of color shopping there! The pasty privileged stroll leisurely around the store; moms in yoga pants with designer bags and; toddlers in tow wearing cute little outfits that cost more than 10 of mine. Men wearing driving mocs and dawdling on their cell phones in front of the yogurt. Folks who can throw their money at wasteful packaging filled with the overpriced convenience of pre washed pre cut veggies. $6 for a small container of chopped asparagus!

I guess I didn’t look white and privileged enough today because I was totally ignored by an employee right next to me even when I asked for help. I climbed up on the lower shelf of the cold case right in front of him to reach the kombucha my friend wanted. He looked annoyed but didn’t try to stop me. The young blonde cashier was far from friendly. She was chomping at the bit to end her shift. When she saw my SNAP card she got downright surly.

I left feeling nothing like a valued customer. And I left with my Snap account drained plus more cash out of pocket because I needed a handful of items and this would save me a special trip to another store.

My wallet has been wham bammed without a thank ypu maam! $36 for the 2 fancy kombuchas my friend wanted, a mineral water, a ginger drink for myself (my 2 beverages were inexpensive), 2 leeks, a bundle of asparagus, a package of mushrooms and a bag of frozen peas.

I feel the need to take a long shower and scrub!

My other weird “crustomer” experience today also had to do with that whole homogeneous thing that creeps me out on top of another experience where someone took my money & treated me with disdain

As someone who would likely be described as, unique and values that in others, it gives me the heebies when I go into places like WF and see the same kind of pasty people wearing the same kind of clothes and using the same credit cards everywhere I turn!

It’s one of the things that bugs me about most hipsters. They embrace their faddish behavior with an air of superiority while they appropriate things that people used to do to mark themselves as different, as rebels, like getting tattoos & collecting vinyl records.

One of my favorite little chill cafes when I lived by the lake was a place called Rooz. The people working there were cool. Food and coffee excellent. The place had a quirky constantly changing style. The owner, Steve, a fellow Rush fan, is awesome sauce and so I could count on the music played there to be unlike most places. I think that Rooz is still open but he had a Piedmont Ave Rooz and today I discovered it’s demise!

In its place, the ultimate hipster, trendy diet oriented coffee bar. Timeless, it’s called. Timeless is not timeless, it is totally the worst of today. Trendster paridise and not that great.

First, it’s only pastries, mostly gluten free vegan variety. No eggs, no more fabulous breakfast bagels! I got a delicious looking bear claw that was dry, flakey and crunchy.

The coffee, according to some Yelp reviews i scanned is supposed to be spectacular but the wet cappuccino was just ok. A wet cappucino should still be topped with foam. It’s the cap, after all! This was a latte. I’m sure if I had called this to his attention (I was a barista for sevetal yrars and am a self-confessed coffee snob) he would have explained to me how I was wrong in the same condescending tone as the one he used to tell me I had grabbed the wrong size lid for my “Cappulatte.”

Again catering to the vegan crowd, only soy and almond milk, both easy to burn and hard to foam are offered for drinks.

In the place three men and two woman were working. It was sterotypical hipster, almost a hoke! All they needed was some flannel to seal the deal or perhaps everyone in the place in uniform Ray Bans. The guys had thick beards and every employee was covered in tattoos. Full sleeves! From what I sae of the two closest pairs of arms there wasn’t anything amazing about the ink. All stuff I’ve seen a billion times before.

I love tattoos but am more impressed when they seem meaningful or have a nifty artistic expression. These just looked busy and boring. I swear it seemed like a dress code; facial hair, all knowing attitude, the ubiquitous music tee shirts, the cliche tattoos and the vibe of, “Can’t you tell I’m doing this because it’s ironic?” permeating everything.

So two irritating places I went into today that felt elitist. And it may seem funny but I actually feel really uncomfortable in a place where there are few or no people of color. And they just sucked for many reasons. I only went in because of something I was doing for & with someone else. I don’t plan to be back to either location.

By the way, I will say that Whole Foods in Berkeley is very, very different from what I described earlier today. The two stores are almost like two different planets! And I want to make a pointvof going by the Rooz on Park blvd over the holidays, to make sure it’s still there and maybe get one of those yummy gluten filled, butter smeared, egg and cheese topped bagels!

*I really need to make this funnier and put it on Yelp!


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