This is a real complaint that Devin and I wrote and filed online to our local Whole Foods, in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco.
I enjoy shopping at Whole Foods, and I go there regularly because I enjoy the fresh produce, and the usually very good customer service. My trip today, however, led me to believe that this particular location of Whole Foods is actually run by clowns. Upon arriving in the parking lot, I discovered a group of young men operating a forklift, under what seemed to be “professional” supervision. Their outfits were disturbing, but I was determined not to let it ruin my shopping experience. After removing a banana peel and several pieces of compostable trash from the cleanest available mini-cart, I forged ahead to the produce section. Everything seemed to be okay, we collected our vegetables in a calm, rational manner and proceeded with our shopping. Because I just got over being sick, I wanted to reward myself with a cupcake for surviving Flu Season 2011. I headed over to the bakery.
Though tantalized by the maple bacon tart, what really caught my eye was a red velvet cupcake. My fiance, who was accompanying me, chose a mixed berry tart and the aforementioned maple bacon tart. A young woman named Zoe greeted us as all Whole Foods employees do—in a cooly enthusiastic tone. I asked her what sort of frosting the red velvet cupcake had. She responded that it had cheesecake frosting. This was our first sign that all was not as it seemed. I get it. People make mistakes. I was ready to move on. But as I began placing my order, Zoe turned her head to her friend behind the counter and began to chit-chat about God knows what. After a good 15 seconds (it felt like an eternity) she turned her head back and said “sorry about that.” She had been so absorbed in her conversation that she failed to notice our annoyance or our order. This happened two more times, once while my fiance was placing his order, and again while he preempted her question regarding where we wanted to pay for our baked goods. We had the mini-cart with us and wanted to pay at the cash register. We told her again, when she finally gave us attention. The bakery was not busy.
We thought we’d been through the worst of it, and hurried towards the checkout counter. It was there that our check out clerk, a young man with small patches of scruffy facial hair began to ring up our goods. We were almost home free. But then, as he picked up our box of ill packaged baked goods, despite my protestations that “I can just hang onto that” in mid sentence he flipped the box upside down to scan the barcode. My cupcakes and tarts were manhandled. He set them upright, but it was too late. When I pointed out that the arrangement of berries and bacon had been disturbed, he asked: “do you want me to get you another one?” I replied in, perhaps in too harsh a manner, “no I’ve had enough customer service today.” My fiance and I left Whole Foods feeling shaken. Had we done something wrong? The forklift party in the parking lot was still in high gear, perhaps higher gear, if you’ll pardon the pun.This may be funny, but it’s not a joke.