1- The Sniffer: You want your fruits ripe and your herbs fresh, I’m with you, but do you really have to treat this place like you’re in a doing a promo for a cooking show? When you spend 10 minutes smelling that peach, all I see is soft focus, sunshine lighting and a cheap piano version of a Kenny G ballad. What are you checking for that is taking so long? Are you making sure the only thing that touched the produce is the pee of a rare Himalayan caterpillar? Or that the sugar plum fairies didn’t mishandle that cilantro before they packed it in the delivery truck powered by unicorns. Do you need a minute alone with the melons? When smelling produce goes past the point of function, skips through pleasure and resembles arousal…it’s weird. Stop it.
2- The Guru: I see you coming a mile away. I spot your erratic movements and exasperated expressions coming at me like a ball of organic fury. There you are with your funky frames for your glasses, accompanied by a bold ethnic hat choice. You talk like you discovered Kale and you have been shopping at Whole Foods since before there was a Whole Foods. So everyone is just an uniformed obstacle standing between you and your latest fad vinegar cleanse. You ask employees overly complicated questions that you know they can’t answer, because since the divorce it’s the only way you can get off. You run this shit! Swing that macrobiotic ego around and bump, push and scoff without apology because you deserve to shop here. Uh oh, someone just disagreed with your cooking advice. It’s okay, you’re prepared for this, just say “Well, that’s just the way I like it and it’s really yummy”, make sure to extend the I, “IIIIIIIIIIIII like it”. There you go. That was close. Because god forbid one of these french fry eating hobos damage your imperialistic goddess pride.
3-The Shoptestant: Grocery shopping is not an elimination challenge. I know you get pumped when you see the Top Chef contestants running through the aisles of Whole Foods, saying cool chef words and getting the same ingredients you buy and turning them into something magical. But, when you do it sans the cameras and judges table you sound like an asshole. Spitting out things like, “My dish is inspired by…” to your friends, while in the store aisle is mind numbing. So, when I see you having a gastronomic meltdown because the store doesn’t have one of your ingredients, I want to shake you till you realize that Padma is not, nor never will tell you to pack your knives and go. It’s cooking. Relax. It’s going to be okay. You still can make a good ‘dish’. We all love the show, but it doesn’t make you one shopping trip away from restaurant wars. Remember when you used to watch Kung Fu movies as a kid and after you thought you were Bruce Lee doing windmill kicks in the front yard? Same shit.
4- The Neo-Parent: You want your kids to live free of social norms, encourage self-expression and feed them well. All good. Ideally that’s how we all feel. A little FYI, teaching your child to not act like a rabid spider monkey in public won’t damage your leftist ideals. Also, why are they wearing 17 layers of clothing? And why are each of those 17 layers a different color? Are they being raised by fucking rainbows? I digress.
Proper public behavior is good for everyone. Everyone. Without it, that child will grow up thinking that there’s nothing wrong with their prickish behavior. They’ll blame an “oppressive society” for being misunderstood, until they meet a guy named Ferret and jump in his hand painted van to play tambourine in his folk-spoken-word- jam-band. Then after five years of only hearing from them via payphone, you’ll find them at your doorstep ready to play a game called “Surprise! You’re a grandparent!” followed by a round of “Can we crash here for a bit?”. Then after that little bit turns into months, you’ll have that awful parent epiphany that your child is in fact, an asshole. $20 says that your new grandkid is named Rainbow, can you guess why? .
5. Me: I originally had a different type of person for this fifth spot, but then I looked in the culinary mirror and saw another culprit…me and people like me. Professional cooks, chefs and food nerds. The people that wander the aisles hoping to release their culinary knowledge on anyone willing to listen…the people who write lists like these. People who go to Whole Foods with their significant other and said significant other grabs their own cart and goes their separate way to avoid having to hear the history of canola oil or how hydroponic tomatoes will never be a substitute for them actually being in season. People who ask for their fish to be portioned a certain way and considers the frozen food aisle as a sign of weakness. Lame. I know. I realize it. But I can’t stop. I see the glazed look who those who ask me culinary questions, when I go beyond simply answering and give them the full rundown. It all started simply enough, but the innocent interest became a love, the love became a job, the job became an obsession and now looks for any chance to release. It may be one of the reasons why I started writing whatever this thing is as a whole. To empty my face. So maybe I can take myself off this list someday and said significant other will actually grocery shop with me again. (To those wondering, it’s true, my girlfriend and I separate as soon as we enter the market.)