Al Dente

Whole Foods, an Austin-Based Store with Over 300 Locations in the U.S. and U.K.

686 posts in this topic

Which market had the baby artichokes? Those are so hard to find in the local stores in my area--we had to go shopping at Wegmans in Fairfax yesterday to get some! (and a few other things as well, of course)

 
Not a farmer's market obviously, but Whole Paycheck (Foods) has had purple baby artichokes. I've seen them at a couple of locations-- P St, and the one down in Annandale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad:  Picking up a package of Whole Foods premade meatballs to make a quick dinner for the kids and getting them home to find the supposed fresh meatballs are turned.  Bleah.  They well within the "sell by" date.  Ordinarily they would go straight back to the store, but it was 5:30, I had already dragged both kids to the store once and wasn't going to do it twice in one day.  Into the trash.

 
Heather, which WFM? I've occasionally had the same trouble at P Street. I'll bag up the bad stuff, throw it in the freezer, and return it to them in a solid block the following week's shopping run. Could be $4 worth of chicken or $40 worth of steak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad: Picking up a package of Whole Foods premade meatballs to make a quick dinner for the kids and getting them home to find the supposed fresh meatballs are turned. Bleah. They well within the "sell by" date. Ordinarily they would go straight back to the store, but it was 5:30, I had already dragged both kids to the store once and wasn't going to do it twice in one day. Into the trash.

 
same thing just happened to us w/ some Whole Foods guacamole...although to be fair they are very good about returns - we just called em - said it was bad and they said they'd credit us for it next time we're in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

whole foods has a problem with pricing. this summer i have encountered coffee that rings up at $1 a pound more than the price on the shelf, and italian pasta (different types at different stores) ringing up a couple of dollars more. it took at least six weeks for the coffee problem to be corrected at the p street store, even though i pointed it out to them every time at the cash register (once i had become aware that i was being overcharged). getting management involved in this doesn't necessarily work either; correcting the pasta price problem at the wisconsin and calvert store required an okay from the corporation, i was told.

you also have to watch out for items that don't have a price, and they are all over the place. these typically will cost more than other brands of the same items around them.

several years ago, this problem was worse than it is today, and in many cases it was obvious that shoppers were being scammed. i thought they had cleaned up their act, but now i am beginning to wonder and beginning to see some of the same sorts of things reappearing.

these stores are a good example to me of why grocers should be required to go back to putting prices on individual items. it's clear that it's too easy to get away with this in a store where money really isn't the object. i don't have much experience at other chain stores to know if this is a problem there as well. i would love to bring this to the attention of a consumer office in dc, but somehow i think this would turn out to be a big waste of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I was in Whole Foods today and noticed that they are now selling various spices pre-packaged in pretty large volume. There was a rather large selection, everything from 'butcher's grind' black pepper to BBQ rubs to pickling spice. Anyway this was new to me and thought I would share.

One odd thing that I saw was cream of tartar in 1/2 lb. containers! What on earth are you going to do with that amount?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Latest atrocity was a $10 Whole Foods tuna steak that was supposed to be my dinner. I wound up having just green beans. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While you make a good point, johnb, notice the many times people have posted about problems at Whole Foods. Myself, I just purchased last week at WFM, 2 Portofino "salad in the bag" as they were on special 2/$5. Sell by date Aug 28. Opened pkg 1 yesterday, and the lettuce was all wet and slimy. :P Pkg 2 does not look promising, either.

(I even had a cooler with me last Sunday when I purchased the salads, since I was bringing home fresh seafood)

This is not the first time I've had problems at Whole Foods...when will I learn?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While you make a good point, johnb, notice the many times people have posted about problems at Whole Foods. Myself, I just purchased last week at WFM, 2 Portofino "salad in the bag" as they were on special 2/$5. Sell by date Aug 28. Opened pkg 1 yesterday, and the lettuce was all wet and slimy. mad.gif Pkg 2 does not look promising, either.
(I even had a cooler with me last Sunday when I purchased the salads, since I was bringing home fresh seafood)

This is not the first time I've had problems at Whole Foods...when will I learn?

 
Funny you should mention that. I recently saw a WF employee at the P Street store dump a bagged salad into the large hopper of the "bulk mesclun mix." So that obviously tells you the source of the bulk stuff. Danger Will Robinson!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Picked up some Jumbo Lump crab at the Whole Foods in Clarendon. The price label had fallen off (they pack them in crushed ice, the water makes it hard for the label adhesive to stick. The cashier asked the manager what to do, he said 'guess it's on us'. That's a nice $36 freebie :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Picked up some Jumbo Lump crab at the Whole Foods in Clarendon.  The price label had fallen off (they pack them in crushed ice, the water makes it hard for the label adhesive to stick.  The cashier asked the manager what to do, he said 'guess it's on us'.  That's a nice $36 freebie  biggrin.gif

 
No doubt there will now be hoards of rockwellians headed to WF, stripping price labels off of crabmeat (and goodness knows what else), and heading for the checkouts.
tongue.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Picked up some Jumbo Lump crab at the Whole Foods in Clarendon.  The price label had fallen off (they pack them in crushed ice, the water makes it hard for the label adhesive to stick.  The cashier asked the manager what to do, he said 'guess it's on us'.  That's a nice $36 freebie  biggrin.gif

 
i didn't know whole foods hired managers with sherwood forest on their resumes. maybe this can become an urban legend. i've never experienced anything remotely like it and i'm at that store constantly, though seldom in virginia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Picked up some Jumbo Lump crab at the Whole Foods in Clarendon.  The price label had fallen off (they pack them in crushed ice, the water makes it hard for the label adhesive to stick.  The cashier asked the manager what to do, he said 'guess it's on us'.  That's a nice $36 freebie  biggrin.gif

 
A few months back (maybe even last year) I picked up some fresh porcini at WFM in Tenleytown. The cashier didn't know what they were, so I told her. When she couldn't find "porcini" on her codes list she shrugged and put them in the bag for nothing. I suppose I could have said "I think they're $39.95 a pound", but I kept silent. Was that wrong? Unfortunately I'd only gotten eight or ten of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've received meat free at Whole Foods when there was a price but no UPC code to scan. I told them to just enter it in manually. Nope--they had to give it to me for free.

On another visit I tried to buy a loaf of bread that had been given a sticker making it a $30.00 torte. They gave us the bread free too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, just this past Saturday I was at the Tenley WFM, and noticed that some of the parmigiano reggiano had been mislabled parrano, for a $4/lb discount. I bought a couple of chunks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bleah. They well within the "sell by" date. Ordinarily they would go straight back to the store, but it was 5:30, I had already dragged both kids to the store once and wasn't going to do it twice in one day. Into the trash.

 

This has happened to me more than once at Whole Foods in DC, but I just call or bring my receipt in the next time I go, and they have always given me a refund--even days later--no questions asked.

Bummer, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've received meat free at Whole Foods when there was a price but no UPC code to scan.  I told them to just enter it in manually.  Nope--they had to give it to me for free.

On another visit I  tried to buy a loaf of bread that had been given a sticker making it a $30.00 torte.  They gave us the bread free too.

 
i will have to take back what i said earlier about not getting anything for free from whole foods. i had been making the mistake of handling problems at the register instead of going to the manager's desk. of course, in my experience, you have to go ape to get anywhere with them.

yesterday, for the umpteenth time at the p street store just over the summer, a sale item, coffee, rang up for the full amount at the cash register. the cashier didn't know exactly what to do, so i went back to the shelves and returned with the label for the item showing that it was normally priced for $10.99 and on sale for $8.99. i would have been happy, i guess, to see $2 deducted from the bill, but the person who was called over to discuss the adjustment ticked me off by his attitude and a comment along the lines of "okay, give him the $2."

at the manager's desk, in exchange for practically having a stroke, i was rewarded with $11 in cash. was it worth it? not really. i tend to lose it in situations like this. for whatever the reason, you can count on running into these sorts of price discrepancies at whole foods. the coffee i bought was the last one on the shelf, so either this pricing problem had already been brought to the store's attention, or the people who bought it on sale and paid full price for it didn't really care. i don't trust them. at best, they are profiting from their indifference toward addressing this ongoing issue.

by the way, i knocked the produce at p street last week, and just want to say that it was much better at their store on wisconsin down from calvert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless I was hallucinating, I came across this guy in the produce section of Whole Foods today. I can't even remember what it was, but it was something in a clear plastic wrap alongside the potatoes and onions.

A continuation of a multi-year decline in quality for this chain?

Rocks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't surprise me. Whole Foods carries a number of mass market items, like Cheerios.

Or maybe Green Giant has an organic division? :lol:

Edited by Heather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Must be something in the air.

Weird stuff has been "Sprout"ing up all over the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I showed this thread to a friend who is a former Whole Foods employee and this is her response:

"Yep, everybody is getting into the natural and organic foods...even Fritos now makes chips that have no hydrogenated oils. As long as the items meet Whole Foods Market quality standards, let 'em in! Plus, the larger manufacturers items cost less (thus lowering the "whole paycheck" aura). And finally, many of the larger manufacturers are outright buying the natural and organic producers (Muir Glen is now owned by General Foods). Natural and organic foods are the only growth industry in grocery...can't blame 'em!"

And for your reading pleasure: Whole Foods Market Quality Standards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like they are going to have to pull an animal farm on the list of unacceptable food ingredients before sarah lee makes it into their freezer cases. (is this libelous, because i know nobody does it better?)

Edited by giant shrimp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it speaks volumes that their national VP of purchasing is a bean counter, that one of their regional VP's of purchasing, a great and talented guy, is a distribution guy. I cannot think of a single person in their upper level management structure with the exception of one regional president whi is a true foodie and is willing to put that foodie credentials on the line.

Edited by deangold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wouldn't surprise me.  Whole Foods carries a number of mass market items, like Cheerios.

Or maybe Green Giant has an organic division?  dry.gif

 
WF also carries some variation of cheetos, ruffles & Lays potato chips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WF also carries some variation of cheetos, ruffles & Lays potato chips.

 
The irony of it all is that they are not great sellers. The number one chip by far is a local- Nana's. But the FL stuff has displaced some small producers who make good stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i lost it again tonight at the whole foods, this time in georgetown, over an item ringing up higher at the register than the price on the shelf. if anybody is interested, here is the scam.

this was going on throughout the summer at both georgetown and p street, it seemed to stop at both, but it has arisen again:

most of the rusticella d'abbruzo dried pasta sells for $4.99 for a 17.5 ounce package (gnocchi is higher). however, there will be one that sells for less. tonight it was penne rigate for $4.49, earlier in the summer the price difference was more in the buyer's favor, $1.00 or so, for various pastas. why is pennne regate 40 cents cheaper than the penne, because it's in a bag and not a box? or, i thought this brand of pasta was too expensive, but maybe i'll try it at the lower prirce. okay, i'll definitely get the cheaper one, i can live with the grooves. except that when you go to the register it rings up at the same price as the rest. as a variation on a theme, tonight it rang up at $4.89. send out search party from the register to confirm wrong price, etc., etc. this time, however, the cashier suggested i talk to the manager before she completed the sale.

manager: more double checking and profuse apologies. i explained to him that this has been going on for a while. he promises that he will get to the bottom of this and find out what happened. i tell him i already know what happened: the wrong amount was entered into the computer. i have been told this many times before, so i know what i am talking about. i also wished him luck in succeeding where so many other managers have failed before. then he confides to me that when something like this happens, everyone who works in the store is ashamed. and a final promise: the next time i'm in the store, the penne regate will ring up at $4.49. however, i know from experience that this isn't true: it will ring up at $4.99, but the price on the shelf may, or may not, have been changed.

what can i do? i tell him i am not coming back to find out. we both know, i suspect, that the exchange has not been entirely honest on either side. somehow, they know that i will return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know if the Whole Foods in the area sell Capogiro gelato?

Capogiro told us that they will be selling soon in Whole Foods. How lont that will be before you see it on a shelf is anyone's guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know if the Whole Foods in the area sell Capogiro gelato?

I love Capogiro, but the pints retail for $10. I'm not sure that's worth it when you can get it fresh from Isee Icy for $7 a pint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i lost it again tonight at the whole foods, this time in georgetown, over an item ringing up higher at the register than the price on the shelf. if anybody is interested, here is the scam.

this happened to me at wf georgetown today too - product listed at 5.99 rang up as 6.29. when i called the cashier on it, they sent someone to do a price check and confirmed that it should be 5.99. so she changed it on my bill, but nobody showed any indication whatsoever of making a change in the computer system, so the next customer who doesn't pay attention to every cent there will get taken!

seems like a lot of folks have gripes with them... better biz bureau perhaps? i know some states have various consumer protection laws around these price issues where the customer gets the benefit of some multiplier times the amount in error back - anything like this in dc?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I called Capogiro last week, and it sounds like they're only sold at WFs in Philly and NYC right now.

I love Capogiro, but the pints retail for $10.  I'm not sure that's worth it when you can get it fresh from Isee Icy for $7 a pint.

Heard good things about Isee Icy -- that said, I'm looking for the outrageous flavor combinations that you'd usually only find at Capogiro or il Laboratorio. Thanks for the tip, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

another small complaint about an indispensable (to me, especially heading into root vegetable season) grocery store: friday night at the p street whole foods, 12 ounces of allegro french roast beans, on sale for $8.99, down from $9.99, ring up at the cash register as guess what. i stop the cashier, we go through the checking the shelf price routine to make sure my price is right, and this time the checker tells her to sell it to me for $6.99 -- an arbitrary amount and i probably could get a better deal by pulling a scene at the manager's desk but decide to take it. and i learned something. this is not a scam, and the price will be adjusted by a woman who visits the store every couple of weeks just for that purpose. actually, it's not what i'm paying that really bothers me when things ring up wrong. i often pay more for coffee, especially if it has something clever like a skeleton celebrating the brew on the package ($10.99 these post-sale days). i don't fully understand the problem. it is deep rooted. but apparently i care about the store getting the prices right considerably more than the store does.

(wrong coffee prices don't seem to happen at the "upper georgetown" store, because coffee is not one of its strong points. you go to that store for cheese and beer. the chain seems smart enough to carve out different niches for various locations, i guess to keep the customers circulating.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For certain, I know that both Giant and Harris Teeter will give you the item for free if it rings up incorrectly.  Every couple of weeks seems rather infrequent for a person to come into WF to correct prices given that the regular supermarkets seem to have handheld scanners so that they can change it on the spot.

i'm not certain about anything in this matter. it's only what i was told, and i have been told many things over the years since i first encountered this problem. it pertained to fresh fields and bread and circus before they became whole foods. however, if there is a store policy on handling this, i have never seen it, and i saw price discrepancies on one item go on for at least two months this summer. on a pasta mispricing, i suggested to the manager at upper georgetown that they could at least change the shelf price on an item that was ringing up higher when it couldn't be corrected in the computer. she said she couldn't do it without permission from corporate headquarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i suggested to the manager at upper georgetown that they could at least change the shelf price on an item that was ringing up higher when it couldn't be corrected in the computer. she said she couldn't do it without permission from corporate headquarters.

Having just ended 10 years to Whole Foods, I can give some insight to the issues...

Each store has a SSI whi is in charge of scanning prices. Printing new shelf tags is trivially simple. You shoot the handheld at the shelf, the price in the computer system is read, and if there is a difference then a new tag should be printed or the item pulled.

If the system is wrong (ie a sale price is not entered or entered incorrectly) an email to the proper buyer should have it corrected by the next day at the latest.

Every price change automatically generates a new shelf tag which should be put up the day the price change comes through. If the item is not in stock on htat day, a shelf tag should be generated when the item is stocked.

If an item is rung up at an incorrect price, my policy at the Tenley store, and prior to that at Silver Spring, was to give the product away free and then have the customer service desk or cashier fill out a scan blooper slip so the price could be reported to the regional office. Any store has the power to do this.

The store should be scan checked every 6 weeks at the most. There is no reason, except bad operations at store level, for wrong pricing to persist. So if you do see something persist like that, it is because the Store Team Leader is more intimidated by their team members than by angry customers. It would damage their team member hapiness too much to know that they need to actually satisify the customer first, no questions asked. After all, who are they, Nordstroms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The store should be scan checked every 6 weeks at the most.  There is no reason, except bad operations at store level, for wrong pricing to persist.  So if you do see something persist like that, it is because the Store Team Leader is more intimidated by their team members than by angry customers.  It would damage their team member hapiness too much to know that they need to actually satisify the customer first, no questions asked.  After all, who are they, Nordstroms?

thanks for the behind-the-scenes information, which will be good to go on when i am dealing with these situations. with a store that i have found has a fair number of pricing problems, maybe your policy of giving the product away free should be established as the chain's policy, not just at the discretion of individual managers at individual locations. also, i have apparently been talking to the wrong managers, and quite a few of them. it seems like a case of they just can't be bothered, to me. although i have nothing, per se, against keeping the workers happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
it seems like a case of they just can't be bothered, to me. although i have nothing, per se, against keeping the workers happy.

First off make sure you are talking to the STL (the manager of the whole store), the ASTL (the assistants) or the Shift leader (the person in charge of the store in their absence.

Secondly, what ttruly makes folk happy in my experience is a business that is growing and listens to the team members concerns. It is not a manager who lets things go and doesn't take people to task for not folling thru with their job duties. Letting folk slack and then having the floor team membners take the heat causes unhappiness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saw an ad on Craigslist looking for staff for a new Whole Foods opening on Duke Street in Alexandria. Don't recall this being mentioned here so I thought I'd post my findings!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love Capogiro, but the pints retail for $10.  I'm not sure that's worth it when you can get it fresh from Isee Icy for $7 a pint.

Alas Capogiro seems to be in vast decline. We ahve stopped buying from them as their product was melting like crazy and inconsistent. Selling to Whole foods and the massive growth that can spur often kills a small producer like Capogiro. We are in the process of switching product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just saw an ad on Craigslist looking for staff for a new Whole Foods opening on Duke Street in Alexandria.  Don't recall this being mentioned here so I thought I'd post my findings!

The Annandale store is closing down and re-opening in Old Town. The new joint is going to be huge, so they're hiring like crazy.

I'll keep ya'll posted on the "Everything Must Go" sale which will happen sometime around the middle of January in the Annandale location. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Annandale store is closing down and re-opening in Old Town. The new joint is going to be huge, so they're hiring like crazy.

I'll keep ya'll posted on the "Everything Must Go" sale which will happen sometime around the middle of January in the Annandale location. :lol:

That's been almost my neighborhood store for years (OK, a little far for an emergency run at 6 miles, but still important). I'm so sad that they are moving so much further away. I'll still be able to get there maybe once a week, but not as often as usual.

I wish Whole Foods would open a store in Merrifield, or on my route between Merrifield and Lake Braddock!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wish Whole Foods would open a store in Merrifield, or on my route between Merrifield and Lake Braddock!

Fairfax location at Fair Lakes Pky & W. Ox Rd should open in about a year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wish Whole Foods would open a store in Merrifield, or on my route between Merrifield and Lake Braddock!

Fairfax location at Fair Lakes Pky & W. Ox Rd should open in about a year.

Guess I don't get my wish, then. Fair Lakes might as well be in Leesburg, relative to my home and work locations. Although out of the way and small, Springfield is still my best bet. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whole Foods Old Town opens this morning at 10am! It's the first new store in the area since P Street. Maybe I'll see you there, though I'll probably be in the back furiously making modifications to our recipe database.

It's gonna be a looooong day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll keep ya'll posted on the "Everything Must Go" sale which will happen sometime around the middle of January in the Annandale location. :)

Well?

(I assume this is the Braddock/236 one, no?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I'm sure the new Duke Street Whole Foods is a wonder to behold, and I will shop there from time to time, I hate losing the Braddock/236 location. That leaves me with the Springfield location as my nearest local WF. It's OK, but not the most comprehensive location.

Does anyone know if there are plans to update the Springfield location? Any chance WF could be persuaded back into the Annandale or Fairfax City area? The future location in Fairfax seems too far from me in Burke for frequent trips.

I got spoiled by easy access! :) I used to be able to stop at WF every day after work, if I wanted to, and it has become my primary grocery source. I have a Safeway and 2 Giants within less than a mile of my house, but I rarely shop there. Guess I have to change my ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well?

(I assume this is the Braddock/236 one, no?)

Sorry, but the "everything must go" already went. Sold out the whole store in 1 day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went to Whole Foods on Duke St. today. I got a free oven mitt WOOOOOHOOOO!!!

It was as expected, quite packed. However, there was a full panoply of checkers, servers, counter persons, freebie people, greeters and police and parking garage direction to facilitate smooth in and egress.

There was fresh fired oven pizza made to order, and 3 huge hot/cold food bars as well as the usual premade behind the counter and in the cooler section ready to eat meals.

There was a comfortable area to sit for in house noshing.

The underground parking is ample, but no cart collection sites were seen. There were some good sales ie: Organic cauliflower 1.99 a head, Parm Reg 11.99 a pound , Firehook Paysanne loaf buy 1 get one free, and Lou's Famous chicken sausage b1g1f.

Oh, did I mention I got a free OVEN MITT!!

Final note: no wine yet.

Edited by monavano

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1) Juniper berries - how about Dean and Deluca? I recall they have a large selection of spices. I have some I'd offer to share, but I think you're looking for them sooner than I could get them to you. I'll try to find out where the person who gave them to me found them.

2) The new Whole foods :) - FINALLY - it's open! It's beautiful and big and was a total lovefest yesterday. The selection (for now) is huge. I stood in front of the mushroom selection and just stared - they have varieties I've never heard of/seen - pompom, french horn, etc. The seafood and meat counters are vast and well-stocked, as is the cheese department. All pork, turkey, and chicken sausages (made in-house) are on sale for $3.99 a pound for at least the next few days (reg. $5.99/lb)

We've been so starved for a good grocery store in Old Town, I imagine this store is going to do huge volume. I'll be curious to see what the impact is on other area stores, primarily Balducci's, and, to a lesser extent, Trader Joe's. I hope it doesn't affect Cheesetique, as I saw a lot of similar offerings at comparable prices. All parking proceeds go to the Alexandria Scholarship Fund - a nice gesture in support of a local cause.

Only bummer was there's no Jamba Juice!

I wonder about the effect on Balducci's as well. When I was carting out yesterday I took the elevator with a woman who was by all accounts THRILLED about WF and spoke of "never seeing such items before!". She lives right in Old Town.

I thought to myself "what about Balducci's?" . Perhaps WF is a much, much more high profile name.

I agree that everything was stocked to the hilt, and ALL the employees were beyond nice and helpful. But.....I've looked forward to going there to get bulk stuff that you pour yourself into bags ie: legumes, hummus, oats etc.

IT'S ALL PRE PACKAGED!! And it's incredibly hard to find specifically what you want because the labels have to fit on the 1/2 inch shelf and it's so small you have to cruise by closely and slowly to read it. Why oh why don't they have those big ol' columns of stuff that I can pour myself and label???

Are other WF doing this as well???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are other WF doing this as well???

Not the one in Reston—their bulk section, as of this past weekend, was alive and kicking. Is it perhaps a jurisdictional thing (i.e., do you notice that other groceries in the area have the same restriction)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not the one in Reston—their bulk section, as of this past weekend, was alive and kicking. Is it perhaps a jurisdictional thing (i.e., do you notice that other groceries in the area have the same restriction)?

The one in SS does this. In order to get fresh whole nutmeg I had to buy a plastic clamshell with about 30 of them in there. No way I'll use them all before they decay.

Anyone want some?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, store them in the freezer,they should last longer. Over 2 years, but I still don't see how you will use 30 in that time.It is kind of like that Costco thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've looked forward to going there to get bulk stuff that you pour yourself into bags ie: legumes, hummus, oats etc.

IT'S ALL PRE PACKAGED!! And it's incredibly hard to find specifically what you want because the labels have to fit on the 1/2 inch shelf and it's so small you have to cruise by closely and slowly to read it. Why oh why don't they have those big ol' columns of stuff that I can pour myself and label???

Are other WF doing this as well???

The one in Congressional Plaza in Rockville [aside: truly the worst WF I've ever had the misfortune to be a regular customer of] has done this. And, in the process, they've eliminated some things that I would have thought were fairly standard (e.g. polenta anybody?). Their spice selection has increased 20 fold, but as somebody pointed out, I don't need 30 nutmegs very often and, regardless, I almost always buy my spices through penzeys. So who gives a...?

The WF out in the Kentlands has a mix of the "old-fashioned" bulk and the new style.

My hypothesis had been that it had to do with perceived/real stealing of bulk items, in part based on the fact that they had made the switch at the Congressional location (which I suspect has a lower SES clientele compared with Kentlands location [NB: don't flame me about this, I'm not saying poor folks shop at WF in Congressional--it's relative to the folks who shop at Kentlands WF]) but not at the Kentlands location. However, they haven't prepackaged a bunch of stuff that I figure is absolutely ripe for the stealing (i.e. chocolate covered malt balls), and now i'm learning that they've made the switch at other WF. So, there's data that undermines my previous hypothesis here.

Anyway, rambling over--whatever the reason, I find it incredibly annoying. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The one in Congressional Plaza in Rockville [aside:  truly the worst WF I've ever had the misfortune to be a regular customer of] has done this.  And, in the process, they've eliminated some things that I would have thought were fairly standard (e.g. polenta anybody?).  Their spice selection has increased 20 fold, but as somebody pointed out, I don't need 30 nutmegs very often and, regardless, I almost always buy my spices through penzeys.  So who gives a...?

Not to mention those clamshells are a PITA to store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The odd thing about my local Whole Foods is that they carry both a large bulk selection and a large quantity of vac-packed spices (et al).

Is it possible that the stores that don't have sufficient turnover of the bulk goods are the ones discontinuing their use? After all, between staleness and spillage issues, if very few of your customers ever use the bulk bins I could imagine discontinuing them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is the time of day i customarily start spinning broken records, but the p street whole foods, from my experience, has done little to remedy its problem of ringing up higher prices at the checkout counter than appear on its shelves.

by eating out more and relying heavily on umpteen pounds of frozen tomatoes in the refrigerator, i have been able to almost totally avoid this place for at least a month. it's not just because of the price problem. the lettuce here, all varieties, is typically wilted beyond the stage where you would even arouse the interest of your pet rabbit. for whatever the reason, turnover appears to be a problem in the produce department and the quality of the fruits and vegetables has been spiraling downward, the same thing that happens at most of the grocery stores within the city. vacuum packing is no guaranty of anything, though you usually can make out the slime through the wrapping. unfortunately, that was not the case wiith a container of sprouts, which reeked of the dead when they were opened and had to be taken to the trash chute post haste, before arousing the suspicions of the neighbors. the store below calvert street was almost as bad recently when just about anything that was green and leafy was also limp.

but i have returned in recent weeks to the p street outlet. for one thing, where else can you find three-peckered billy goat coffee?

about two weeks ago i fell for a $6-off (roughly 30%) sale for a bottle of coppola sparkling wine named after his over-rated daughter/director. it's wrapped in pink cellophane. not that i mind, but that in itself is a form of deception, because the wine itself is white. it is marketed for picnics, valentine's day, big family weddings with dons, those sorts of occasions. not paying strict attention at the register, i discover in the unbagging process at home that i have been charged the full price.

returning to the store on the following afternoon, at the customer relations desk i ask for the store manager, who is the person you should seek out to resolve this problem, according to the kindly and generous advice from a former employee of this company who posts regularly on this site and has just left for florence. when he was the manager of whole foods stores, his policy was to refund the total price of the article. i have been told by someone who should know, but perhaps does not, that this is the law in montgomery county, where some whole foods are located. the woman manning customer service is doubtful, however, that the manager will be able to speak to me because he is extremely busy attending to the demands of running the store. i am certain that she will not be able to help me because i have checked out with her before and the situation turned contentious when she started loading my items into a plastic bag and i stopped her because i wanted paper. (you said plastic. no i said paper. no, you said plastic... and further idiotic conversation.) but this was my lucky day. the manager appeared out of nowhere, i explained to him, calmly, cogently (an effort for me) that i was continuing to experience the store's pricing problem, which had been occurring with increasingly regularity starting in the summer. maybe i was reading him all wrong, but i believe i evoked about as much interest as a fly buzzing the salmon steaks. he asked about the particular item and called over the manager of the wine department. not certain of the exact wine we were talking about, i guided her to the back of the store where the display had been the day before but was now dismantled. she now knew what i was talking about, and knew the amount in question -- $6. when we returned to customer service, the manager was on the telephone. The wine manager handed my receipt to the bag lady, who knew exactly what to do without being told, returning my $6 plus tax. the wine manager said she hoped that nobody else had been overcharged. i explained to her that the policy in some of the stores was to refund the full price of the item and that i had only returned to the store for a refund and to make the manager aware of the problem. she said she was very sorry, a few times.

two nights ago, i purchased another bottle of wine at the store, marked down $1, and was charged full price. this time, however, it looks like the item was entered by hand at the register, since it merely states that it is "wine."

if i were a kleptomaniac, and as far as i know i am not and have never been one, how long would whole foods accept my profuse apologies when i am caught stealing a bag of route 11 potato chips or the stray bottle of pomegranate juice? as things stand now, this store has little to lose by overcharging its customers, and much to gain.

Edited by giant shrimp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the situation turned contentious when she started loading my items into a plastic bag and i stopped her because i wanted paper. (you said plastic. no i said paper. no, you said plastic... and further idiotic conversation.)

LMAO! :)

I have had similar problems with overcharging (though not as egregious as you've experienced) at the WF at Congressional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i have checked out with her before and the situation turned contentious when she started loading my items into a plastic bag and i stopped her because i wanted paper. (you said plastic. no i said paper. no, you said plastic... and further idiotic conversation.)

At the new WF store plastic is the only option - fairly detailed cards posted at the register explain all the environmental reasons for this (paper bags take more energy to produce than plastic, plastic is a byproduct of petroleum production, you can get more -5 times more- plastic bags on a delivery truck than paper bags, etc - all my details may not be quite right)

Sorry to hear that this pricing problem continues to happen - thanks for the reminder to be vigilant when I'm shopping - or more importantly, checking out - at the Old Town WF.

Edited by goldenticket

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RE: WF overcharging

Maybe I'm just becoming a cranky old hag, but my patience for this kind of stuff is exactly nil. Thanks to the internet, it's real easy to find the corporate website and to then send a detailed email to them. No kidding, you will get a response. It might not be the one you want (buy me a drink and I will tell you how I had to explain to Home Depot that they were engaging in FRAUD); but, even filling out those "Complaint" postcards at the Safeway will get action.

The bottom line is this: if the folks at the top don't know this is going on, the only way they are going to find out is from you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RE:  WF overcharging

Maybe I'm just becoming a cranky old hag, but my patience for this kind of stuff is exactly nil.  Thanks to the internet, it's real easy to find the corporate website and to then send a detailed email to them.  No kidding, you will get a response.  It might not be the one you want (buy me a drink and I will tell you how I had to explain to Home Depot that they were engaging in FRAUD); but, even filling out those "Complaint" postcards at the Safeway will get action.

The bottom line is this:  if the folks at the top don't know this is going on, the only way they are going to find out is from you.

thanks for the suggestion. i am willing to go to the top, even over the top. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whole Foods Old Town opens this morning at 10am! It's the first new store in the area since P Street. Maybe I'll see you there, though I'll probably be in the back furiously making modifications to our recipe database.

It's gonna be a looooong day.

I was reading an article in today's Alexandria Gazette Packet about the opening of the new Whole Foods in Alexandria, when I turned to page 50 and there it was... a picture of our very own Al Dente. And he was not even holding a piece of chicken in front of his face. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was reading an article in today's Alexandria Gazette Packet about the opening of the new Whole Foods in Alexandria, when I turned to page 50 and there it was...  a picture of our very own Al Dente.  And he was not even holding a piece of chicken in front of his face. :)

Wow! THE Alexandria Gazette Packet? Who would have ever thought I'd make it into such a respected and influential publication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

after work let out last night i found myself flogging a dead horse at whole foods. they were still selling old lettuce and the automatic mister was doing little to revive it. however, flat parsley was in acceptable condition as were broccoli crowns, on sale. one curiosity: a basket of large, greenish heirloom tomatoes i neglected to delve into. in the summer months, this is the part of the store where the fruit flies like to hang out. typically, the brandywines, green zebras, pineapples and what have you languish there until they are completely spoiled.

penne rigate was at the top of my list, so i wasn't brusing for anything when i veered into the pasta aisle. i go for the rusticella d'abruzzo brand, which had been experiencing some price problems, but none, in my experience, since the fall. here was the dilemma: purchase the sole 1.1-pound bag on the middle shelf for $4.89 or head to the top shelf, where the stock has been replenished and is now selling for $4.59. ever the smart consumer, i chose the latter.

At checkout, a friendly clerk commented on the $42.99 bottle of deisen Barossa mataro (mourverde) I had picked up on impulse. Next time, you can come to my village, she said. I think this is a good mourverde, with a somewhat unfamiliar assortment of fruit to my palate, though I can taste raisins where others proclaim cherry. I’m not sure about eucalyptus. All I know is that this wine is distinctly pleasant in flavor, juicy, approaching effervescence, carrying the connotation of maybe too much sunshine for anyone in the mood for something to brood over.

Returning to what has become an unhealthy obsession, I scanned the prices on the computer screen before moving to the completion of the transaction and, no surprise, discovered that I had been charged the higher price for the pasta. A supervisor was called over and admonished the clerk: don’t you know how to do a price check? I accompanied the bagger to the pasta shelf, where my account was corroborated; the clerk dings the supervisor over, who, whether she realizes it or not, scowls at me as she makes the price adjustment. The customer behind me is obviously pissed, but the 20 items or so he has loaded onto the counter have limited his options and he waits patiently until the controversy is resolved. Are you going to change the price on the shelf? I ask the supervisor, and am told that this is something she does not have the authority to do. I volunteer that I could take care of this problem in a few seconds. The solution is to remove the lower price and leave up the higher price. But that would be too easy.

I eventually am granted an audience with the store manager. This is not hypothetical, I begin, but what would you do if you discovered that an item is ringing up at the cash register for a higher price than is posted on the shelf? She answers as if she has just woken up to find herself taking an oral examination which, I sympathize, can be a jolt to the psyche: first, I would do a price check to verify the price on the shelf, she intones. Then, if the price was higher, I would make a price adjustment at the register. She stops and stares, somehow figuring that it wasn’t going to be this easy to get a gold star. And then what would you do? I ask. She pauses, and then: I would correct the price on the shelf. Of course, half an hour has gone by and the price has not changed, and I am told some technical things by the manager about how the pricing is done in the store. I have heard this line of explanation a few times now from store representatives, but I don’t exactly understand what they are talking about, probably because I have not been paying attention. I think this has something to do with screwing up their accounting system. I continue the conversation by filling her in with the usual song and dance about my experiences with the store’s pricing problem.

The manager assures me that this is a serious problem and she takes it seriously. I have heard this tune before, as well. I respond that it is the policy of some of the whole food stores, at least I have heard, to refund the price of the item when there is a price discrepancy, that maybe it is a regulatory requirement in Montgomery county, and that it is a policy that this store should adopt since it has been unable to resolve this problem. She responds that it is store policy in the district to refund the difference but not the price of the item. In other words, I say, a store that markets itself as consumer- and environmentally-friendly isn’t going to do anything to resolve this unless it is forced to. I didn’t say that, she said. I know, I said it, I said.

I told her that I have been avoiding her store because of its pricing problem and before leaving wanted her to know that I was an unhappy customer. And that is where it ended, because there was obviously nothing that she could do to make me happy. (I had earlier turned down an offer by the customer service representative of tasting some new chips while I was waiting.)

It has become clear to me now that the managers, and customer service people, have been well trained at whole foods not to make any concessions to the customer on this issue, and they preserve their right to steal from them occasionally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first complaint about the new WF is the nearly inedible "low-fat"* guacamole I picked up on Friday. It tasted liked someone had dumped a jar of cumin into it (and I'm talking about into the little 8 oz. container I bought).

To their credit, I was offered a refund or an exchange when I took it back yesterday. (the fact that the customer service rep blurted out "was it nasty?" almost before I explained my problem made me wonder if I wasn't the first to return it) I still wanted some guac so took a chance on another container with a different expiration date, thinking it would be from a different batch. It was better, more so after I doctored it with some lemon juice, but on the spicy side. I guess the lesson learned is to make my own guacamole, esp. at nearly $5 a pop for their inconsistent, mass-produced stuff!

* Low-fat = peas in the mix - not noticeable except for the occasional pea skin (?) hull?

I also made a stop at the Giant a little further up Duke St. and it was DEAD - unusual for a Sun. evening. Wonder if WF was the cause? (Noticed that poblanos were $1 cheaper per pound than at WF...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also made a stop at the Giant a little further up Duke St. and it was DEAD - unusual for a Sun. evening.  Wonder if WF was the cause?
Football game. :) Edited by crackers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to the new huge Whole Foods (my regular WF is the Clarendon one). Everything looks so pretty and new. They have quite a large selection of salt (fleur de sel, smoked salt, hawaiian salt, salt in coconut shaped containers, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should see the egg display at the new Whole Foods Market in Alexandria. Single eggs available by breed of chicken. Duck eggs, quail eggs. Giant green EMU eggs for cryin' out loud! I don't know what the hell you'd do with them. But they're wild just to look at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You should see the egg display at the new Whole Foods Market in Alexandria.  Single eggs available by breed of chicken.  Duck eggs, quail eggs.  Giant green EMU eggs for cryin' out loud!  I don't know what the hell you'd do with them.  But they're wild just to look at.

I liked their display.

Quail eggs are pretty useful to make canapes or toppings.

I had a small quail deviled egg with caviar on top of toasted bread at the restaurant Eve.

Edited by grover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh, I missed the quail eggs! I did get some free-roaming eggs a couple of weeks ago. I think those are supposed to be from chickens who are actually exposed to sunlight.

I saw the emu eggs yesterday. Only about $20 each, but they look like they could feed a family of four per each!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oooh, I missed the quail eggs!  I did get some free-roaming eggs a couple of weeks ago.  I think those are supposed to be from chickens who are actually exposed to sunlight.

I saw the emu eggs yesterday.  Only about $20 each, but they look like they could feed a family of four per each!

The Sunnyside chickens (eggs available at the DuPont market) are exposed to sunlight too if you are looking for some free-roaming chicken eggs. How much are they are WF?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed the display of loose eggs at Whole Foods, but I didn't see what kind of containers they might have had to put the eggs in. I didn't notice any, but they must have something. Do they have egg cartons of some sort out? (I guess it's an odd question, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the egg display. :lol: )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I noticed the display of loose eggs at Whole Foods, but I didn't see what kind of containers they might have had to put the eggs in.  I didn't notice any, but they must have something.  Do they have egg cartons of some sort out? (I guess it's an odd question, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the egg display. :lol: )

They have these baskets that look like the baskets you use at the driving range. When you get to the check out, they put them in egg cartons for you. I'm not exactly sure how they package an emu egg though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They have these baskets that look like the baskets you use at the driving range. When you get to the check out, they put them in egg cartons for you. I'm not exactly sure how they package an emu egg though.

How often to they rotate the emu egg stock? How long can those things stay fresh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How often to they rotate the emu egg stock?  How long can those things stay fresh?

The emus just came in a couple of days ago and I haven't seen one cooked yet. I'm not sure how long they're rotated, but the eggs are very fresh-- that yolk really sets up on the other eggs I've seen. I imagine they stay fresh for about a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The emus just came in a couple of days ago and I haven't seen one cooked yet. I'm not sure how long they're rotated, but the eggs are very fresh-- that yolk really sets up on the other eggs I've seen. I imagine they stay fresh for about a week.

Are they from Virginia emu farms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 411 on the eggs: They come from a farm in Ohio where WF will soon get ostrich eggs as well. When they arrive at the store, they were laid within a week. They should be good for about a month.

An emu egg is about the equivalent of 12 or 13 large chicken eggs-- the ostrich? They can range anywhere from 24 to 30!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Sunnyside chickens (eggs available at the DuPont market) are exposed to sunlight too if you are looking for some free-roaming chicken eggs.  How much are they are WF?

The chicken eggs are 3 for $1.00 or 4 for $1.00, depending on what kind they are. I bought some Amish eggs from Ohio the other day, but they had a variety of breeds - barred rock is the only one I can recall. They beat the heck out of the ones I was getting from my CSA egg share last summer...

I was VERY excited to find that they have duck eggs. They are a real treat (as may be surmised by their inclusion on this year's Saveur 100 List). A farmer at the Courthouse market turned me on to them last year. His description was that the "white cooked up nice, not crispy like tinfoil like chicken eggs" and the yolks were like custard - he was right and they are GOOD! 2 for$1.00.

As noted above, the emu eggs are the most beautiful teal blue...and about $20 bucks a pop. Wikipedia says an ostrich egg can make an omelet for 10 people....

Quite fun to "gather" your eggs in the little baskets provided - and they put them in regular cartons when you check out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You just know there's a thread split coming up.  Titled "Recipes And What Else To Do With A Fucking Emu Egg."

I'm just wondering how to crack one so as to keep the yolk intact for the World's Largest Sunnyside Up Egg theme party I'm planning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...the eggs are very fresh-- that yolk really sets up on the other eggs I've seen.

Agreed. Picked up a half-dozen Rhode Island Red eggs (3 for $1.00). Fried them up this morning and they were outstanding -- the yolk really does stay nice and tight. I can't imagine paying these prices on a regular basis, but for applications where a fresh egg really does matter, that's a different story.

Oh, and I asked the cashier how many of the emu eggs they sell -- she said she sees a couple per week come through her isle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They have these baskets that look like the baskets you use at the driving range. When you get to the check out, they put them in egg cartons for you. I'm not exactly sure how they package an emu egg though.

:lol: Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. I'll have to look the display over more closely next time I'm there. And thanks for the other egg information too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giving Credit Where it's Due

Recently got hooked on Peet's Coffee, and been buying it at Bethesda Whole Foods. A few evenings ago, I was driving by Rockville WF, realized I was almost out of beans, and stopped. They didn't have Peet's. So when I asked and was told they stopped carrying it, the very nice woman in the cheese dept gave me a free sample of beans. And not just a small sample, but more than half a pound of two different beans she mixed together, saying this was a good, medium-bodied blend that she liked. It was from the bulk bean section, the brand is Allegro, I think, and while not the best beans I've had recently, this lady went above and beyond.

So I'm taking a break from shovelling the driveway, having a cup of coffee, and thinking kind thoughts of WF and a very nice employee there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Recently got hooked on Peet's Coffee, and been buying it at Bethesda Whole Foods. 

We get regular deliveries, direct from Peet's. The beans are freshly roasted the day they are packed and sent, much fresher than anything in a store. If you are hooked on Peet's, as we are, this is definitely the way to go.

http://www.peets.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Giving Credit Where it's Due

Recently got hooked on Peet's Coffee, and been buying it at Bethesda Whole Foods. A few evenings ago, I was driving by Rockville WF, realized I was almost out of beans, and stopped. They didn't have Peet's. So when I asked and was told they stopped carrying it, the very nice woman in the cheese dept gave me a free sample of beans. And not just a small sample, but more than half a pound of two different beans she mixed together, saying this was a good, medium-bodied blend that she liked. It was from the bulk bean section, the brand is Allegro, I think, and while not the best beans I've had recently, this lady went above and beyond.

So I'm taking a break from shovelling the driveway, having a cup of coffee, and thinking kind thoughts of WF and a very nice employee there.

As of this morning, the WF in the Kentlands had a variety of Peet's on the shelf.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Whole Foods in Reston's Spectrum Center has stopped carrying coffee beans in bulk and has only prepackaged beans. There's no way of knowing how long those prepackaged beans have been on the shelf, and at $12.99 for 12 ounces, I'm not going to be sourcing my decaf Sumatran from them any more. At that sort of price, I can have Peet's ship them straight to me the day they're roasted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me, or has anyone else notice the decline of the Whole Foods in Clarendon? Don't get me wrong I will pick WF any day, but recently have I have not been able to fine basic items, it think they should have, and the produce is suspect now and the seafood never really looks fresh. I still think the meat department is fine. I am not sure if that little store can keep up with the growing population in the area, with so many condo communities rising. I think it's time for a bigger store, as it never seems to be stocked properly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is it just me, or has anyone else notice the decline of the Whole Foods in Clarendon? Don't get me wrong I will pick WF any day, but recently have I have not been able to fine basic items, it think they should have, and the produce is suspect now and the seafood never really looks fresh. I still think the meat department is fine. I am not sure if that little store can keep up with the growing population in the area, with so many condo communities rising. I think it's time for a bigger store, as it never seems to be stocked properly

I've only been there once, a few weeks ago, and I was impressed with the store. The meat department especially wowed me. I thought the produce was fine, but I don't know what it was like before.

Please don't tell me the store is slipping :huh: . I'm trying to find a new Whole Foods to go to since the old one in Alexandria relocated to Old Town. I really dislike parking garages and avoid them whenever possible [phobia alert :lol: ]. That Clarendon one and the one near Tysons are the only ones I know of with surface parking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the Whole Foods in Vienna is the best one that I've been to which includes most of the ones in D. C. and Northern VA and several in Maryland. It's possible that I am being influenced by the building it is in and it being among their largest if not the largest but I really like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Clarendon WF is much better in terms of stocking than the Springfield location (which does have surface parking). My husband especially likes their meat counter. I've not bought fish there, not because I thought they were bad, but it wasn't what I wanted when I was there.

The Springfield location is undergoing remodeling, so maybe they'll soon be up to par, or at least a little closer, to the other area locations when it's completed.

I still wish WF would consider a Fairfax or Annandale location for the near future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've only been there once, a few weeks ago, and I was impressed with the store. The meat department especially wowed me. I thought the produce was fine, but I don't know what it was like before.

Please don't tell me the store is slipping :huh: . I'm trying to find a new Whole Foods to go to since the old one in Alexandria relocated to Old Town. I really dislike parking garages and avoid them whenever possible [phobia alert :lol: ]. That Clarendon one and the one near Tysons are the only ones I know of with surface parking.

You are correct the meat department is top notch for a store. We do all our shopping at that WF, and lately something has been off to me. I really think it has to do with the amount of people that shop there and the size of the store, it's too small and understocked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Clarendon WF is much better in terms of stocking than the Springfield location (which does have surface parking). My husband especially likes their meat counter. I've not bought fish there, not because I thought they were bad, but it wasn't what I wanted when I was there.

The Springfield location is undergoing remodeling, so maybe they'll soon be up to par, or at least a little closer, to the other area locations when it's completed.

I still wish WF would consider a Fairfax or Annandale location for the near future.

One is under construction On West Ox Road near the Fairfax County Parkway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i said i would go to the top at whole foods, and maybe i will, though i have been short on extra time in recent weeks, or maybe i haven't bothered because i figure i won't like what i find when i get there.

anyway, at the p street store, the real price of 17.5 ounces of a brown bag of rusticella d'abruzzo penne regate, the price you will pay at the checkout, has climbed to $5.09 (maybe $5.19), up from $4.89 some six weeks ago. however, the price on the shelf is $4.59. it, also, has been that way for the last six weeks, except that the store has made the situation less ambiguous by removing a second, higher price tag for the same product, on a lower shelf, that is the amount you are actually charged.

six weeks ago i was assured by the store manager that this is something that she cares about greatly. (i know i am the only one in the world who really does care about these discrepancies.) another manager promised to look into it a couple of weeks ago. another manager last night is also going to try to get to the bottom of this, despite my skepticism, because she understands that many customers actually base some of their purchasing decisions on the price of the item.

here is how whole foods looks at it: you may get charged more at the checkout counter than the price of the item on the shelf, but you really are not getting cheated because the price you are paying is what the price should be. for anyone bothering to read this and passing by the store, consider this my gift to you of 50-cents. the pasta has just been restocked. it is on the top shelf. i like it, you may too, and it is available for a limited time at a discount. look for the $4.59 price on the shelf, and when it rings up higher, ask the clerk for a price check and wait for your bill to be readjusted.

(if you really have time to burn, go around the store looking for items that have no price. there was a nice example among the olive oils yesterday. guess what the price might be and then find out when it gets rung up. chances are, it will be more expensive than you had bargained for. also, while we are on this topic, i would not have you think that whole foods is any more a brute than you or i. if you are in the calvert and wisconsin store, the refrigerated organic sake in with the beer is just as good as the washingtonian magazine claims it is. you may want to pick up more than one. the bottles are small, and if the store is busy, you may find that you have finished the first before it even gets rung up. also, there were some monster two-pound milk-chocoalte candy bars from spain in there a few weeks ago; hopefully some more are on the way and i guarantee you won't be able to polish one off in the store, even if you seek help from a cart full of squealing putti. look for a cow on the white wrapper.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(if you really have time to burn, go around the store looking for items that have no price. there was a nice example among the olive oils yesterday. guess what the price might be and then find out when it gets rung up. chances are, it will be more expensive than you had bargained for.

That's the case with a lot of Whole Foods. I've stopped buying produce without a label because: 1) the cashier most likely won't know what it is; 2) it will cost more than I anticipated if the cashier actually checks on the real price.

That new Old Town store is like playing The Price Is Right. It's weird every time I go there, with the guessing at what things are and how much they should cost. It usually works to my advantage, except once when a cashier insisted something was a particular type of mushroom when it was a different one. He and the bagger said it was one thing and I knew it was another, but I just gave up.

One time I was there I got a bunch of things cheap because the cashier didn't know what they were (even though I explained it), shrugged, and rang them up at a generic price. I understand that it's really hard for them to keep up with what all the specialized produce is, since there's so much of it, but on my last trip, I had a cashier unable to identify cubanelle peppers and shiitake mushrooms (probably the most common of the uncommon musrooms).

Then my other (related peeve) is that when they're out of something, they move the other stuff around on the shelf to cover that area so there doesn't appear to be an empty spot. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go to customer service to see if they still carry the product and will have it in the future (I'd have more confidence if there were accurate shelf labels.) I believe I read somewhere that the spreading things out to cover empty spots is a chain-wide policy. I'd frankly rather know what's not there and is out at the time, rather than pulling everything off the shelf in the hopes that one of something I want has gotten pushed to the back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been known to give lectures to the cashiers about how to tell the difference between parsley and cilantro. <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That new Old Town store is like playing The Price Is Right.  It's weird every time I go there, with the guessing at what things are and how much they should cost.  It usually works to my advantage, except once when a cashier insisted something was a particular type of mushroom when it was a different one.

This has worked to my advantage several times at the OT store - I keep getting things for free! Mushrooms and greens to be specific.

Just yesterday, I got some French Horn mushrooms, told the cashier what they were, he spent some time looking through his list, and then finally just tossed them in the bag and gave me a smirk and a shrug. This has happened before with other mushrooms - there are so many that aren't marked. I find this frustrating - more because I really would like to know what some of the unfamiliar varieties are than because of the price confusion! This is the case with a lot of produce items and the staff are (for the most part) unfamiliar with some of the more unusual things.

Emu egg update (for anyone who cares): They had 3 yesterday and the "egg man" [googoogjoo] told us they had sold 2 dozen after the opening and these were the remains of a 3rd dozen they had ordered. They have a long shelf life apparently (like most eggs) and the ones on display had an April 30 expiration. Still haven't tried one - guess I'll have to have breakfast with 10 of my closest friends one of these days and make the mega-omelet...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If today had been my first visit to the shiny Whole Foods in Alexandria, I would not go back. It was baaaad.

It started with the parking guy at the entrance to the garage, who was not paying close attention--an accident almost happened right in front of me.

Not enough price signs in the produce department--maybe the long-stemmed artichokes were free and I didn't know it!

The guy who waited on me in seafood was very nice, but had no idea how to make a label for something that was priced by the piece, as opposed by weight. And the mussels I bought had a survival rate of about 50%--not great.

In the meat department, no one knew what a chuck eye steak was.

I went searching for butter, and finally discovered it was being hidden by two employees stocking the shelves. I managed to reach in and grab a pound as they moved apart momentarily. I was not so lucky by the chilled ice tea--the two employees standing there and talking would not move out of the way to let me look at all the choices. I went around the corner and selected a bottle of water for about a third of the price of the tea I might have bought if I could have seen it.

The shelf-stocking aisle-blocking is a new phenomenon at the Springfield WF also--the other night I skipped an aisle or two because staff were blocking the way. Don't they realize that we'll buy more stuff if we get to see it, and that our purchases pay their salaries?

Meat department staff need to know all the cuts, and fish department staff need to know what to do with their product to get it ready for customers to buy. Seems kind of basic to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The shelf-stocking aisle-blocking is a new phenomenon at the Springfield WF also--the other night I skipped an aisle or two because staff were blocking the way.  Don't they realize that we'll buy more stuff if we get to see it, and that our purchases pay their salaries?

But if the shelves aren't restocked, how do they get the merchandise where people can see it? This happens all the time at the Rockville store (which has very small, narrow aisles) but the staff will always move if asked, or more often will pull down what I need and hand it to me.

If the staff doesn't respond to "excuse me, I need something from that shelf" then that's a customer service problem that a manager should know about.

(And I'll own up to not knowing what a "chuck eye steak" is. I know what chuck, eye of the round, and ribeye are, but haven't ever heard that term before.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good things coming to Tenleytown Whole Foods? Went there today and picked up their brochure on the rather ambitious renovations they have planned over the next few months. Creating a second floor with a cafe; an unexplained "open market; on the first floor; and, finally, a "full service" meat counter. Since WF is our closest supermarket, we are especially looking forward to a decent meat counter; there is no joy in the prepackaged stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

although the produce at p street whole foods remains spotty, the store has been trying to earn back my respect recently. (yes, those cherry tomatoes can make quite a mess when you pick them up carelessly and they are spoiled, hard green heirloom tomatoes betray their pedigree even at $4.99 the pound and after a week or so frequent mist is inadequate to sustain even the crispest lettuce.) the mispriced pasta has at long, long, long last been corrected, at least for now, and to make amends, with a manager's blessing, i recently received, at just under $20 a pound, roughly $4 worth of free ramps because a code number could not be found. the cusomter just ahead of me, who also was buying ramps, received a similar act of atonement, although it was entirely at the clerk's discretion. "what is that, a plant?" the manager gasped. she clearly did not like what she saw, so i consoled her that the ramp season would be running out soon.

a couple of miles away, at the wf on wisconsin ave, a block down from the new $1 million, two-bedroom condos on calvert street (where they will soon have to resort to giving away stuffed animals to sell out the property, if it it is true what they say about the washington real estate market becoming cool), i had the rare opportunity to see what happens when there is no price or computer code on a bottle of italian red, the price checker fumbles her digits when she returns with the information from the shelves, the cashier doesn't believe that this particular wine could be that darling and doesn't really get along with the price checker in the first place, and the next customer in line is beginning to steam in exasperation. what happens is they sell you a $35 bottle for $2.43 (give or take a penny, i didn't keep the receipt.) call me old fashioned, but i haven't seen a discount like that since they ran their loss-leaders at the original bloomingdale's.

my only complaint: why can't they order enough ungarnished route 11 potato chips at either store? barbecued and sour creamed are not the same, otherwise you would not see them there.

my only other complaint: has anyone else noticed that the checkout counter conveyor belts at whole foods are jerky? as a customer who purchases a fair amount of bottles, my nerves are a wreck every time the mechanism starts up and all i can imagine is an explosion of glass shards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now