the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Class Trip


Remember years ago when parents used to take their kids to the zoo?   In Los Angeles, they do things differently.  This morning I went to Whole Foods to buy some orange juice.  There were about fifty mothers in the store, kids attached, and the kids were being given a “tour” of the store by a special Whole Foods docent guide. 


 I followed them around for a while and found the whole thing completely bizarre.  Even if the store was preparing the next generation of  soy-milk users, do little kids really care about this stuff?  Is it fun for them to see vegetables?  Will there be Whole Grain Happy Meal Toy next?


Docent Guide:  “This is called organic goat cheese.  Can you all say that — ORGANIC goat cheese?  You want to make sure you always ask for ORGANIC goat cheese, even thought it is much more expensive.  You don’t want to be like those poor Mexican children who eat REGULAR goat cheese, do you?”


  1. Edgy Mama

    U have got to be kidding!

    Tours of the grocery store? Can I have that job? I know mine inside-out since I can’t seem to make a list, so I end up there like 18 times per week.

  2. Neil

    I’m assuming it was really for the mothers to get together, but it was done as if it was really for the kids. The docent really was showing the kids “organic goat cheese” and explaining to them why it was better for them to eat (goat cheese for kids?) as the kids were playing with the apples and throwing them onto the floor.

    Bring back Frosted Flakes!

  3. justrun

    Or, you know, don’t eat goat cheese.


    It’s propaganda.

  5. deezee

    oh my god. society runamok.

  6. better safe than sorry

    i’ve been to those trips with kids to grocery stores. you’d be surprised how many little kids never get to go to a grocery store because both parents work and shop at night when the kids are sleeping. some of them don’t even know the difference between an orange and an apple while others can tell you why you would need to buy a kumquat. even simple things can be an education to someone who has never been exposed to it.

  7. Jocelyn

    I was shopping at my local market when one of those school trips came through. The teacher told the children the name of each fruit or vegetable and then passed it around for inspection before putting back on the display! When I asked her if she was going to buy the food that her students had all handled, she got very huffy and told me it was a class trip. I told her she could combine a lesson in Hygiene and Civics-and then I went to find the store manager.

  8. Neil

    Kids have never been to a supermarket? I’m sure these kids have. Their main education here was to convince the kids to nag their mothers into taking them to Whole Foods rather than a cheaper place.

  9. Amy K

    I feel rather antiquated at 28 years of age. My supermarket days were at Gristedes begging my mom for some sugar cereal like Count Chocula. Now that is what a trip to the grocery store was ALL about.

  10. Trix

    Uh, correction. It’s “WHOLE PAYCHECK,” not “Whole Foods.”

  11. chantel

    my mom used to make sure I toured the grocery store regularly.
    “Here’s 3 bucks and note, go buy me some smokes.”

  12. Dave2

    Goat cheese is stinky. I use it to ward off the undead.

    Of course, this means my bedroom smells like rotting cheese… but, hey, I’ve not been attacked by a zombie yet.

  13. Danny

    I think it’s a great idea to introduce kids to Whole Food, no matter how commercial it is. When I think of the God-awful slop I grew up ingesting with little or no awareness on the part of my parents, I can’t help but be very grateful for the ability to buy more healthy products at places like Whole Foods. Sure, some of their shtick is ridiculous but I wouldn’t dream of buying meat, poultry, or produce at most of the other chains in L.A. I’d be thrilled if my daughter came here on a field trip to learn about healthier eating but she doesn’t need to since we’re here all the time. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I’m IN a Whole Foods right now, eating a salad and using their FREE wireless Internet access. Okay, the fact that my salad cost $9.12 is a little insane–gotta stop putting those heavy vegetables like jicama into my container…

    P.S. to Jocelyn: the kids shouldn’t be allowed to touch the food. Ewwwww.

  14. Neil

    Please be aware that Danny is also a stockholder in Whole Foods, Inc. and the couple of times I’ve seen him, he has not touched ONE vegetable. He’s eaten brisket, corned beef, meatballs and spaghetti, and gelato.

  15. Tuck

    Growing up back in the ’70’s, I fondly remember our class trip with Mrs. Donovan to the local druggie den. Ah, the fun….jumping over hypodermic needles, learning new vocabulary such as coke-head, nickel bag, narc, etc. Oh, and the free samples. Those poor kids today…so boring.

  16. Dagny

    Thank you for giving me another field trip idea. hehe

  17. Mr. Fabulous

    We would go to cool places like Old Sturbridge Village.

    I can’t imagine going to the fucking A&P instead.

  18. emma

    I don’t think the kids give a crap whether the food is organic or not, but usually at these sorts of things there’s tons of free food, that’s how they lure them in, and soon the little blighters are screaming to go into Whole Foods every time mom drives past, cos they think they’ll get free food. And while mom’s in there, she usually wastes fifty dollars on some cans of tuna which cost 10 dollars each. No seriously, I saw tins of tuna in there once for ten dollars a pop. What were they pickled in, Cristal champagne?

  19. Bre

    Wow. They sure do do things differently on the left coast.

  20. Bill

    I see the movie now: “Born Into Food Aisles.”

  21. teahouseblossom

    Privileged kids are the most irritating.

    And be careful next time you follow kids around the supermarket, photographing them. You’re probably on some pedophile watchlist now. Lay low for a while.

  22. Daisy Mae

    How interesting that it was the Whole Foods store and not the Safeway.

    What next, a tour of the local Circle-K (7-11 to you East Coasters)?

  23. Tara

    When I was in 8th grade we took a class trip to Milwaukee and toured the breweries. I can’t imagine that happening now…Man, I miss the seventies.

  24. Viscountess of Funk

    This is right up there with tours of gas stations and dry cleaners. Except they’re more interesting. I’m wondering what parent wants to kill time this way? Puh lease.

  25. Jules

    I love Whole Foods and wish there was one here…but that whole “tour” situation would have made me walk right out! Those moms must have needed to cross “Tour of Organic Farm/Grocer” off their good mother field-trip list.
    Whole Foods is supposed to be a quiet, relaxing, shopping experience.
    EWWW…I bet the sneezed all over the olive bar.

  26. Lux Lisbon

    those kids need to seriously plan some kind of revolt with picket signs and bull horns.

    for real.

  27. girlgoyle

    well I guess in California there really isn’t much else to see besides stores and strip malls. Might as well make the most of it.

  28. Nics

    How bad do you feel for the store guide though? Children in stores be it clothes, groceries or chemists…dreadful!

  29. Ash

    We don’t have stores like Whole Foods here. In fact, our grocery stores are so small that they qualify as one of those stores attached to the gas station.

    I think we should have a grocery store blog tour (for educational purposes of course) arranged by Neil 😉 We can all take pics of our local store so you guys with the Whole Foods can go ‘oh my god, I’m so lucky!’.

    Seriously, I think my kids school trips are much more fun – we went to a theme park last week 😉 Today we’re going to the library and soon we’ll be going picking apples, but perhaps I should suggest a tour of the organic market nearby.

  30. Elisabeth

    HeHe, Tara’s comment about touring the Milwaukee breweries reminded me of my years as a day camp counselor in my hometown, in northern France. We used to take the kids on a tour of a local brewery and, at the end, the kids got soda pop, and the counselors would get loads of beer. Needless to say that it was a fun walk back to the day camp headquarters.

    I wonder if, around where I live, they take the kids on tours of Wal-Mart (no Whole Foods in these parts.)

    I love Ash’s idea of a grocery store blog tour.

  31. cruisin-mom

    Geeez, and to think, my poor kids had to tour the firestation.

  32. Alison

    They should have visited a FARM to see where the food actually comes from. *rolls eyes*

  33. Lou P.

    I have total disdain for Whole Foods.

  34. psychomom

    Take them to the slaughter house like when we were young.

  35. V-Grrrl

    Chantel’s comment killed me.

    Did any little tike say, “Where’s the Velveeta?” or “I don’t eat dairy products without dyes!”

  36. Rabbit

    I visited a Shaw’s the other day and there was a clown making balloon animals for the children. What’s up with that?

  37. Bama Girl

    Only in Southern California!
    I can’t go in Whole Foods without spending $50 on one bag of groceries.

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