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Dispatches From the Whole Foods Produce Aisle

Girls who make their own clothes, speak five languages, and are into communist poetry can be found sprinkled throughout the store. Hipster chicks aisle ten. Feigned bisexual sensibilities aisle five.
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In the heart of a community where political statements occur on t-shirts and in bay windows, it is best to be dressed to impress. Especially when purchasing groceries.

You don't just go to Whole Foods to pick up groceries. The only place you're guaranteed to run into someone with a liberal arts degree, a facial piercing, and a love of modernist Russian novels will be here checking out the hemp pasta on display. Girls who make their own clothes, speak five languages, and are very into communist poetry can be found sprinkled throughout the store like blue-light specials. Hipster chicks aisle ten. Feigned bisexual sensibilities aisle five.

If you must wear a t-shirt without a reference to an '80s culture icon or an obscure Latin Metal Ska band, be sure to put at least two pins of said cultural identification on your clothing, everywhere, including the bag you are carrying. Scarves and t-shirts are encouraged, as are large hats from bygone eras. Feathers are optional.

Next of course is what you should buy. It's good to read labels and it's perfectly acceptable to discuss the literature on the back of most packages. Joyce Carol Oates has written some great treatises on the back of gnocchi, and I believe they have Gabriel Garcia Marquez now writing out the ingredients to the flax-infused soy cereals. But comparing labels or asking the meaning of an ingredient is simply taboo. The black-rimmed glasses of the Whole Foods girl won't hide her derision at such a pedestrian question. You might as well ask why David Sedaris is so charming.

You've put so much effort into perfecting that elegantly disheveled look, you don't want your food choices to reveal how uncultured you are. You want your food selections to say, "I eat the most extreme vegan sustainably grown food in this counter-cultural supermarket and yet, I'm still a sensitive and approachable brigand." Think Johnny Depp with a shopping cart. Suggesting that you don't read the labels, or are so familiar with the content of your grocery list gives you the impression of rebellion. You know what you want to eat, labels be damned! Of course, it's a good idea to have a mix of items, some soy and some organic and make sure that you get something that is sustainably grown. That's very "in." Don't be caught dead with any of that free range stuff, that was two seasons ago.

Lining up for their fix of olive oil, tofu blocks, and imported microbrews made from sodium wheat, the apathetic stares of the clientele beguile their skiddish nature. Sudden movements are discouraged, as are mentions of the Whole Foods' CEO's political views.

It's bad form to groan when you're handed your receipt, for though you've likely blown your entire week's pay on goat cheese ice cream and sustainable Morningstar caviar, you are still going to want to get the number of the bleached haired girl with the pixie cut who is bagging your groceries. Talk about that Arrested Development episode you like and mention David Bowie in passing, and you'll likely score at least a first date. Though your wallet is now empty, that feeling of smugness garnered from not buying regular groceries will keep you warm all the way home.

After you purchase your curiously labeled "-1" earth-friendly tote bag and grocery carrier, you'll wander by the café where dates are already in progress. In one trip, you can meet the hip androgynous significant other of your dreams, share a smoothie with him/her at the cafe, and break up with them before the automatic doors close and they go back on shift. Sunrise, sunset. Whole Foods is truly one stop shopping.

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