Well, my friend, it happened.
Amazon bought Whole Foods.
And I don’t mean their staff went to their local store and just bought everything in sight.
While I love both equally and for entirely different reasons, I can’t help wonder where this will lead.
Kind of like when your boss hires a new coworker who just so happens to do the exact same thing as you.
And before you think I’m here to comment on the economic ramifications and bottom line impact this buyout will have, just stop right there.
What I am here to do is comment on something of far greater importance: the belief that, just because you’re buying something at Whole Foods, it’s good for you or healthy.
Yeah, that health halo we’ve talked about.
How many times have you been at Whole Foods and seen someone buying a slice of cake, a six pack, and a bag of chips? You know, that sad, nearly empty basket that gets plopped down on the conveyor belt that you can’t help but stare at in wonder. Admiration? Amazement? Astonishment? Awe?
How many times do you think that person patted themselves on the back, thinking, “Dammit, Whole Foods does it again! Turns out, I can have my cake and eat it, too!”
How many times has that person been you?
Hell, I’ve been that person. Except it’s a vegan chocolate chip cookie and a bottle of root beer.
We’ve all been that person.
But when it comes to that slice of cake, it might be vegan, it might be gluten-free, it might be organic, it might be insert some other health conscious term here. But it’s not sugar free, it’s not vegetable oil free, it’s not white flour free.
Sorry, friend, but sugar, canola oil, and white flour didn’t make the banned ingredients list.
That beer might be from a local brewery. It might even be gluten-free.
But you know it’s kind of empty calories. And alcohol is kind of dehydrating and kind of not so good for your skin. (Hello, red face.)
And those chips might be organic and made from real food. But how much do you wanna bet you’re gonna smother them in some cheesy sauce and devour the whole bag?
Because you really can’t just stop at one.
Look, there is nothing wrong with buying yourself a slice of cake to celebrate your promotion over that newly hired coworker. Way to not buy a whole cake. Fist bump.
There is nothing wrong with having a brewski to wind down after a particularly stressful day of contract negotiations and painstaking line item reviews.
And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some chips. Because there are whole holidays and cuisines that revolve around those triangles, and, you know, no one wants to miss out on Cinco de Mayo.
But when your whole order consists of those three items. When you aren’t bookending those items with lots and lots of fruits and veggies. When you aren’t eating a balanced, healthy diet. When you’re eating those items on autopilot.
And most definitely when you fall victim to the health halo, there’s a problem.
Yes, you’re probably getting better food made with better ingredients when you shop at Whole Foods (or Trader Joe’s or Fresh Market or Earth Fare or Lucky’s Market or Sprout’s Farmers Market, you get the idea…)
Yes, you will probably feel better than if you had chosen to eat that buttercream-frosted, enriched-flour-laden, vegetable-oil-containing, artificial-flavor-flaunting, chemical-colored standard cake.
And, yes, you probably spent more money. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…you know, that whole paycheck thing…)
But please don’t ever forget that just because you bought it at a health food store doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Oh, and hey, if you're totally heartbroken about this Amazon + Whole Foods thing and what it means for grocery shopping as you know it and you need someone to listen while you cry it out, I'm here for you. I might even cry, too.