the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Whole Foods

Not Saving the Rainforests


I might as well end the week with another tale of assertiveness gone wild. 

Sophia has a cold, so I went to Whole Foods to buy some chicken soup.  It must be “Green” month at Whole Foods because at the check-out stand, there were numerous displays and posters about energy-saving and the environment.  Instead of the organic chocolate bars lined up as impulse buys as you wait, they had  energy-saving lightbulbs in green packages.   Gift cards were displayed that bought you “wind-powered” energy.   I’ll have to go back a second time to read how these cards work.  Do you fan yourself with them in the summer?

After serving myself the soup from their self-help soup vats in the deli department, I stood on line to pay.  There was a bearded man in front of me buying organic garbanzo beans.  The very pretty check-out girl rang him up, and then asked him, “Would you like to donate a dollar to the Whole Foods Rainforest Campaign?” (or something like that)

“Of course,” he answered.

His answer bugged me.  Why did he answer so quickly?  Does he even know what this campaign is about?  Is he assuming that just because Whole Foods is doing it, that it is worthy?  Shouldn’t he ask to see the literature first?  How much of the dollar actually goes to the rainforest?  Would he be so eager to give money if the girl wasn’t so pretty? 

“Thank you for you donation,” said the girl.  “Your dollar will save 230 acres of the Amazonian rainforest.” (or something like that)

S**t!  Why did she have to say that?  How can anyone — after hearing that — say no?  If I dare no, it is like I am personally destroying 230 acres of the essential rainforest. 

It was now my turn.  She rang up my chicken soup, then looked at me with her large green eyes.

“Would you like to… blah blah…” 

I didn’t need to hear the rest because I knew what she was saying.  I knew what she was thinking.

She was thinking, “Oh, here is a smart-looking man with glasses who surely knows about the problems with the rainforests of the world and must be pretty well-off if he is shopping at Whole Foods, so he would look like a real loser if he didn’t give a measly dollar as a donation.”

I was about to say, “Of course,” when my new assertiveness training took hold.  Why am I giving a dollar to this charity right now?  Do I really WANT to or am I being a pushover?  You know what?… I can be my own man.   Screw the rainforest.   Why not be a little selfish today?  I’m going to take that dollar and… buy myself a lottery ticket!

“I’m sorry.  Not today,” I told the check-out girl, referring to the donation.

“That’s fine,” she replied, her green eyes squinting at me with disappointment and seething hate.

Now, I realize that many of my readers are environmentally-conscious and believe that the rainforests are very important.  The world’s rainforests are currently disappearing at a rate of 6000 acres every hour (this is about 4000 football fields per hour).

Well, screw you too!  I’m gonna be a mega-millionaire on Saturday!

(editor’s note:  the author does love the rainforests and will donate 10% 8% of his mega-millions to charity)

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?”

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