Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grocery Store Observations | Tell Me Your Thoughts

One thing, I dislike more in this world – I would rather clean toilets….I hate shopping. Especially grocery shopping. One would think that since I am a Certified Sports Nutritionist, I would ENJOY selecting foods.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Weird, I know. 

I do my monthly grocery shopping (with coupons in hand) – well… once a month. I do this, because I dislike the grocery store, so I don’t have to go back and forth all month. The one problem is my produce doesn’t last that long. So, I will venture out to go to the store for that.

Last night, I wandered into a Trader Joe’s to use the Restroom before going on a run with a friend.

I don’t shop at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods very often (I find the same quality, much more inexpensive at another store).

Yet, I noticed a few things when I walked in:

1. The atmosphere was friendlier, more relaxed. I saw LOTS of parents with kids – and guess what? They were not screaming, causing a scene – and nor was their parents behaving badly.
2. People were genuinely courteous to each other. I actually saw a few say “excuse me” and smile
3. Employees looked like they enjoyed their jobs – not some mindless cashier who cannot figure out the difference between a Golden Delicious Apple and a Pear (you’re have been there – you know what I am talking about)

This was the same observation I had when I went into a Whole Foods in Salt Lake City in July.

My mind started to wander and figure out WHY would one grocery store (that offers healthier options) have a better atmosphere vs. a traditional mega-store? Of course, my thoughts are just an opinion and non-scientific.

1. Less people. Sadly, that is true. It’s sad that Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods has to exist and those who choose to live an appropriate, healthy lifestyle cannot go into their local mega-store to find their food options.
2. Could it be that healthier people are just happier about life, in general?

I may have to rethink my shopping decisions and change our budget a bit. I can see going into Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods every once in a while, might help me break my once-a-month habit. I would rather have a good experience and attitude about shopping than dread it.

What are your thoughts? Why are Organic Food Stores so different than our traditional grocery store?

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter


  1. I wish we had a trader Joe's or Whole foods. Just when I convince our local grocer to stock something healthy, "someone from above" tells him not enough shelf space. Ugh, small town living.

  2. We mostly shop at Sunflower and Whole Foods when we go to a grocery store. We are trying to get into the habit of planning our menu for the week on Thursday or Friday night, then going to a farmers market and getting our produce for half a week (shopping for the other 3 days later in the week). We also use bountiful basket every two weeks or so and share the bounty with our daughter.

    I am not a big fan of Trader Joe's. Although I do like some of the stuff they have, for the most part TJ's does not carry much of what I buy and I find myself doing more impulse shopping.

  3. Becky - that's no fun! Do you have a Whole Foods or another alternative?

  4. Hey Will - we have often purchased Bountiful Baskets, too (for over a year now). However lately, I have found better and much more economical produce/veggies at Graziers on Durango. Which Farmer's Market do you go to?

  5. I hate to say this but it could be a class issue. Trader's Joe's and Whole Foods shoppers tend to be in a higher social economical bracket. Also WIC is not accepted in these stores. Don't you notice that these stores tend to be in wealthier neighborhoods?

  6. Anonymous - thanks for your thoughts and input. It is true, all retailers are strategically placed in the appropriate neighborhoods. However, I have seen both stores in not so wealthy neighborhoods.

    My original question is - WHY is the atmosphere so friendly and different vs a WalMart or Target that could be right next door?

    Food for thought, huh?

  7. Definitely some interesting observations -- I think the lighting and mood of the people overall will impact everything else. I've noticed in stores like this that the lighting is different and not so "in your face."

  8. Hi David - Thanks for the observations! yes, the lighting and mood is different. I still cant' help but wonder WHY is the mood different.

    Could it be so basic that when we are healthier we are happier?

    Someone needs to study this


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