So, I absolutely LOVE my Whole Foods Market health food store. I love the layout of the store and how everything is so neat and pretty when you walk inside. It makes you want to buy everything.
This is part of the fun of trying new recipes all the time. It exposes me to ingredients that I’ve either never heard of before or never used before—weird spice names, cheeses I’ve never heard of, produce that sounds like it came from another planet, and more.
What I’ve found though is that when you can’t find most of these ‘weird’ items in an average grocery store—you can always find them in the Whole Foods health food store. Boy, they carry EVERYTHING!
So here I am walking through the store doing my usual shopping thinking what nice things I could say about this store on my blog. I took pictures here and there (over the course of 3 different days that I did my shopping over a 2-week time period) of how neatly everything was arranged and how nice the store looked—and no one ever said anything to me.
Now, the meat guys looked at me weird at one point—but that was about it. I just assumed they thought I was a meat inspector or something—but dressed how I was that day, I don’t know how they could have confused me.
And I’m thinking it’s no big deal to do this considering how everyone has cell phone cameras all over the world now. I mean, what do I know? How can you police everyone?
Well, I didn’t have a problem until I got to the cheese department. There is apparently a cheese department manager/policeman who had an in-depth conversation with me about what I was doing, you can’t do that, who are you, why are you here, etc., etc., etc. It went on and on and on.
What I didn’t like was that he told me I “couldn’t take pictures at all.” But when I asked him why, he just gave me a blank stare and didn’t have an answer. Then he said it was their store policy. Well, I asked him why it was their policy—what was the reason. He still couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me. He didn’t have an answer right off the bat.
I’m getting absolutely nowhere with this guy. I think he just wanted me to stop asking questions—which if anyone knows me at all—that ain’t gonna happen.
Now first he tells me they may want to make sure all the displays are uncovered and set up properly to give the store a good impression. Well, here it is the middle of the afternoon and I told him to look at all these people shopping around him. They see the displays just like he has them and if he was so worried about it why did he not have everything set up properly before the store opened that morning? Why should the people who shop there get a bad impression? (Blank stare)
Now 10 minutes into the conversation he gives me an example of why I can’t take pictures and tells me that people could be scoping the place out “to rob it” or that I could be “their competition.” He also said people who represent newspapers show their credentials and then they’re allowed to take pictures. And, of course, then I said, “Well, you just told me no one is allowed to take pictures at all—so why can they?” So which is it? (The girl just won’t shut up.) So I ask him what he needs from me. He acted like he didn’t know what to ask from me.
He asks if I have a card—well, NO, I say. Then I ask what did he want me to give him. He says like my name or number and why I want to take pictures. So I ask him for a piece of paper and I write my name, number, and blog address down. Then I ask him what he was planning to do with that information. He didn’t really have an answer and acted like nothing would be done with it. Soooooooo whose time are we wasting here? Probably both of ours.
He then tells me I could take pictures as long as they have my information but it has to be pre-approved. So I say WHERE is the pre-approval spot? So he takes me to customer service. He tells customer service about me (or ON me depending on how you look at it) and they call the store manager. Now the store manager shows up in 2 seconds and is sweet as pie and tells me “SURE” when I ask if I can take pictures and he didn’t even ASK me for my “credentials.” So I took the piece of paper back from customer service and asked the manager what did I write my info down for if he just says yes that easy? He looked at it like he wasn’t sure then said that they might check out the blog or something.
So, basically, what I got from the whole 30-minute experience is just ask the store manager yourself if you can take pictures and he’ll say ‘YES’ immediately and that’s it (or at least that’s what happened to me). Then you can walk around by yourself taking pictures everywhere. No one has to follow you or anything.
Now, how does word get back to the cheese department policeman to save everyone else? I couldn’t begin to tell you. I guess you’ll just have to tell him you already talked to the manager and he said YES without even asking for “credentials.” And, of course, he’ll do a follow-up because he probably won’t believe you.
So, if you have nothing else to do today, click away with your cameras specifically in the cheese department (but get your permission first).
I really wanted to take more pictures of the store (like the huge spice rack, the pretty produce section, the ready-made foods in the deli area, etc.)—but after that experience, I lost all interest and had no desire to take anymore pictures. So I’m only using the snapshots here that I was able to get before I was scolded.
Take-Away Life Lesson: When an article was initially meant to be positive and written about something else entirely, a bad/ridiculous/time-consuming/unnecessary experience can make you change the subject altogether because that’s what you’ll probably remember most about that day. Geez!