News & Politics

The 10 Commandments of Shopping at the Whole Foods on P Street

The 10 Commandments of Shopping at the Whole Foods on P Street
Photo via iStock.

I once texted my mom a picture of the produce section at the Whole Foods on P Street—which is about a half block from my apartment and therefore too convenient to ever consider shopping elsewhere. (N.B. I am lazy.) She replied “Was this taken before the snowstorm?!?” It was not. It was taken on a Saturday morning at 8:15 a.m.

But a snowstorm is a pretty apt comparison. Any random day at Logan Circle’s Whole Foods (which I’ve heard is the top-grossing store in the chain per square foot) is akin to the scene at a pre-blizzard Giant or Kroger anywhere else in the country. There’s chaos, there’s cart-crashing, there’s side-eye, there’s huffing, and there’s anger. Oh boy, is there anger.

After nearly seven years shopping there and more than one renovation, circumstances are only getting worse. There are simply too many shoppers and not enough square feet. So until those much-hyped other Whole Foods open, follow these rules to keep things moving and make the experience as close to pleasant as possible for your fellow shoppers.

1.Thou Shalt Not Use the Entrance to Exit and the Exit to Enter

Yes, if you’re coming west down P St. it’s simpler to dart in through the entrance. Yes, the electric doors will open for you even if you’re on the wrong side. But that doesn’t make this morally OK.

2. Thou Shalt Not Block The Front Aisle While You Wait in Line

Every grocery store follows a somewhat similar layout: aisles of goods, fridges and freezers along the edges, registers in the front. I shouldn’t need to explain this, but if you’re waiting in line at a checkout (even the express lane) and you’re standing in the middle of the front aisle, other people can’t get by. Surprising, I know.

3. Thou Shalt Not Pick and Eat From the Hot and Cold Bars

This has absolutely nothing to do with expedience and everything to do with hygiene and the fact that WE CAN ALL SEE YOU DOING IT. I don’t care if you steal, but I do mind if your dirty hands end up in my smoked mozzarella pasta.

4. Thou Shalt Not Call Thy Wife To Ask What Aisle an Ingredient Is In

She probably does know the answer, but while you’re fumbling around like a doofus, the seven other capable humans behind you can’t get to the canola oil and need to tap you on the shoulder to get you to move. The staff at Whole Foods is incredibly knowledgable and will certainly help you find the jarred lemongrass, so no fear.

Note: I have never, ever seen a woman do this.

5. Thou Shalt Not Rip The Pens From the Chains in the Bulk Food Section

Seriously. Now you’re just being assholes.

6. Thou Shalt Not Wander Off and Leave Your Cart Behind

And if you do, I reserve the right to move it out of my way without any eye rolls from you in return. We all know that the aisles are narrow, but you just gotta make it work.

7. Thou Shalt Not Watch As the Cashier Bags All Your Groceries

First of all, you’re slowing things down. Massively. Four hands are better than two. And you’re also utterly abusing the cashier. It is not, I repeat, IT IS NOT, their job to pack all your Amy’s veggie lasagnas while you flip through Instagram. If you let them, you are a bad person. Seriously.

8. Thou Shalt Not Leave Your Cart Anywhere But the Special Little Section for Carts

Shopping carts fit together for a reason. Unless there’s a direct cart handoff happening in the exit, slide it back into the line with all the others. Nobody else has time to maneuver past your cart in that itty-bitty space.

9. Thou Shalt Not Complain About the Length of the Express Lane Line

Sometimes it’s all the way back to the milk section. Once, I stood in front of the salmon case when I joined the line. But there are usually 20 cashiers up there working as fast as they can so that your lazy self can buy pre-sliced vegetables and orange juice that a little machine just fresh pressed for you. No whining allowed.

10. Thou Shalt Not Ever Go on Sunday Afternoon

You’re part of the problem.

Design & Style Editor

Hillary writes about interiors, real estate, arts, and culture. She is the former digital media editor of The New Republic, and her work has also been published in Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post, among others. You can follow her on Instagram @hillarylouisekelly or on Pinterest @hlkelly.