Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whole-y Crap

Whole Foods has arrived in Albany: Start the madness!!!

If you don’t know where the newest organic food store can be found, look no further than the former Sears at the anchor end of Colonie Center, and you’ll see a caravan of Volvos and Subaru Wagons and hybrid cars corkscrewing out to Wolf Rd. When anything opens in the Capital Region, the mob mentality hits high gear and we flock to said franchise like lemmings falling off a cliff. Relax, crunchy-yuppies, Whole Foods is Trader Joe’s and the Fresh Market and the Co-Op with bigger windows and a greener sign. And every place I just named is Hannaford with better lighting and cool Musak.

This isn’t the first time a new operation has had this kind of over-the-top response. Does anyone remember Krispy Kreme Doughnuts on Hoosick Street? When that place first opened you had to get in line the night before for morning goodies. Then people realized they were waiting hours and fighting traffic and missing work to buy, um, glazed doughnuts. Six months later there was a closed-for-business sign on the window.

Same thing when Trader Joe’s opened. Didn’t they have a marching band or something? People called into work and waited hours to buy overpriced potatoes that are fake-organic. And don’t even get me started on Dinosaur Barbeque. When that glorified King’s Buffet opened you couldn’t even get across the Collar Bridge from restaurant traffic. Dinosaur is slop on a plate, and the TIMES UNION called it the best BBQ in the area last week. Really?

I think the Cap Region is on the upswing and I love the excitement that surrounds novel commerce, don’t get me wrong, but can we ever act like we’ve been in the end zone before? This is why Albany will eternally be the little engine that could, just happy to be mentioned. You couldn’t even get inside Colonie Center's parking lot this weekend. And seeing that I ask: who signs themselves up for a Saturday of sitting in traffic then shopping picked-through produce because you CAN’T miss the opening? I bet half the people on line don’t even know what Whole Foods is. They just did it to do it. It’s literally the definition of sheepdom. Shoppers probably had to wait over an hour in checkout lines just to buy whole-wheat-organic-grain fed-sugar free bread. It’s not that urgent, especially when Trader Joe’s sells the same thing.

Is this Whole Foods thing for real? Is it here for the long haul or the latest yuppie trend that can’t last? It was, for me, societally symbolic to watch Sears get bumped for this get-healthy monument to the 21st Century. Sears has seen this country through wars and depressions and recessions. Sears is apple pie and fireworks and hot dogs at the ballgame rolled into one. Now Sears is that little place behind Whole Foods where my father-in-law will be browsing socks as we’re shopping for organic strawberries.

What’s happening to this country? What’s happening to me?

I was at a party Friday night. Everyone was drinking these things called Craft Beers and listening to Imagine Dragons and One Republic. When I asked after the Budweiser and Skynyrd, how it was with my parents, my wife told me I embarrass her when I say things like that. At dinnertime, there were two tables: one with regular meats and salads and sides and a second for vegans and organic and gluten free. And of course all grub was served on eco-friendly, biodegradable plates. The men were playing this frat-house game where you throw Frisbees at garbage cans. I guess nobody’s heard of horseshoes. And what party would be complete without four grown men comparing yoga poses on the grass? My father and his friends used to beat the hell out of guys like us. (For the record my headstand was a forty second thing of beauty.)

It’s a Whole Foods World and I am a Whole Foods Girl . . . I mean Boy.

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Brian Huba

1 comment:

  1. This was amazing. My headstand was interrupted by someone shoving my feet toward the ground.