Whole Foods: Where Shopping Really IS a Pleasure

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Today was the grand opening of Whole Foods Market in Tallahassee. I met up with my friend Larry (after my morning run – which in hindsight was good after all the free carb samples ;)) in the parking lot across the street around 8:30. We joined the line that wrapped throughout the parking lot, for the opening at 9am. It was a chilly 63 degrees this morning and a hazy, cloudy sky made it look like it was about 7am instead of 9, but it felt wonderful to get a break from the humidity. We mingled with the woman standing in front of us (and her adorable son playing with a plastic ambulance.) Everyone was in great spirits, and they were even handing out baked goods throughout the line! We were 400 and 401 in line.

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When I was little, I hated (hated) when we had to go grocery shopping. Everything about it just felt like a torturous experience. Now, I’m excited about it. I’d been anticipating this opening (and that of Trader Joe’s even closer to my house, on Friday.) It literally felt like a food playground in there today. I’ve never sampled so many different kinds of cheeses in my life. I watched an older man (with a cool old fashioned hat) eat a pie sample like a shot. We ran into old friends. We saw our line mate.

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The hot bar has insane amount of different kinds of food. Now I know where to go when I want chinese but don’t want to order like five cartons. There are bacon, smoked gouda hushpuppies! (Right next to delicious mac and cheese, and what I’m sure are equally good collard greens.) My favorite beer, of all time, in a six pack ON SALE! (Bell’s Oberon.) BOGO on gelato. Pumpkin mousse! Macaroons! My Van’s power grain protein waffles! Not to mention the pub style roast beef sandwiches, a million kinds of meat and fish and fruit. Just everything.

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After eyeing the hush puppies, my mind was made up when someone recommended them to me. There’s a bar with beer on tap, cocktails, and appetizers! We talked to the bar tender for a bit. (Yeah, I was the person carrying around a six pack at 930 in the morning.) I mean, this is a good place to meet new friends, haha. You know the guy who makes the awesome hard candy at Lofty Pursuits? They sell it packaged there! And he was doing a sample table today. I’m so excited for him. That means even more exposure for his awesome craft.

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There was a jazz band playing at the front of the store. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Could it have gotten any cooler? And we got free reusable bags filled with all kinds of samples. And when we walked in they gave us free ground coffee!

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Larry got this awesome tall mason jar (I think his was filled with sweet tea,) this morning and I was thinking about it today so after I met Ethan and Megan at Decent Pizza I went back for a second time to get one for myself. Mine’s filled with what I’m sure I’ll enjoy of the “Backyard Brew” iced coffee. Fun fact? You can take the jar back to the coffee bar for a $1 refill! As I perused the aisles I overheard employees talking about how different Tallahassee customers are (as compared to another part of Florida,) and how friendly everyone was today. They were excited and surprised by how so many people wanted to engage in conversation. There were a lot of police officers on site inside and outside the store, I’m guessing for crowd control (and necessary traffic control.) One of the cops who works on game days by the stadium was there and I kept ending up in the same section as him and a friend and they joked about me following them.

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By the time I got to the register with my gelato and iced coffee, I was greeted by a very pleasant cashier and bagger. We talked about it being my second time there that day and about the jars. And did you know that for each reusable bag you use they donate 10 cents (either you get it refunded back to you, or you can give it to a local or world charity!) They found an old receipt from The Fresh Market in my bag and joked about how I couldn’t shop there anymore. And then we talked about how the opening went and everything.

I know this is a scattered entry, but I just had to write it down somewhere. It might sound silly, but I had today off of work and that can be positive and negative. I need a chance to recharge my batteries, but sometimes when I have an empty house and a stretch of day ahead of me without distraction, all the thoughts that flood my mind can be overwhelming. This morning on my run an old friend screamed my name from traffic, and it was the extra motivation I needed to finish that run. Combined with going to dinner with my brother and his girlfriend (and a good interaction with someone working at the pizza place,) and wandering around grocery shopping with a friend (and a visit to my safe haven – the library, downtown) I really needed today. It just turned all my negative energy I felt looming, around. Like it spit it back out as positive instead.

I’m sure I’m a chatty cathy and sometimes I talk too much but I think my most favorite thing is good customer service experiences. It says so much, about an organization, the establishment, the people, and it can do wonders for someones day (and I can tell you personally – that it can affect both sides.) I needed to find some peace today, and I did – I took an afternoon walk in this gorgeous cool temperature we have floating around Tallahassee right now, and the sun finally peaked out for a bit!

Multiple lessons from today: appreciate the little things.
Be nice to everyone.
Go check out Whole Foods when you get a chance!
Take even a minute to step outside, turn your face towards the sky, feel the sunshine and the cool breeze and savor it for a moment.

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