I have to come clean about an addiction that has overtaken my life. A high so good I can’t match it with anything else. One that’s drained my bank account worse than cigarettes, gambling or heroin ever (hypothetically) did.
In telling this story, it’s my sincere hope that I can prevent others from the same fate. I hope you heed my words and never fall down this wretched hole, living a life controlled by mercury-free, line-caught tuna and organic kale.
So much fucking kale.
What I’m saying, kids, is please never try the Whole Foods salad bar.
I know we are all familiar with Whole Foods Market, the organic albatross whose brick-and-mortar stores, shipping methods and reusable bags lobby generate more greenhouse gases than entire airlines combined. But they buy carbon credits. Don’t know what those are. Don’t care.
Because I’m not here to tell you not to go because it’s hypocritical; or because the produce at Safeway is just a good; or because only rock bands should have employees that heavily tattooed.
No, I’m saying don’t go because it will be the most delectable experience of your life, and after you try it, every other salad bar in America will look like a hobo shit in it. You’ll walk past the one at Harris Teeter—which you used to frequent—and stare disdainfully as you wonder what kind of peasants would eat a salad without frisée. And lardons.
So just don’t try it. My first time came on a lunch break. I was out of zip-locked bags of cold pasta when a coworker suggested, like an eighth grader offering a joint that’s all KB, we go to the Whole Foods salad bar.
Now it’s a line item in my monthly budget. Two hundred dollars per month: Fancy lunch. And I do mean the fanciest. It’s the best cafeteria experience you could imagine. Interested in Indian? Why here’s a huge pot of braised lentils. I didn’t even know you could braise a bean until I went there. But talk about tender. Do you want pizza? Guess what? They have a fucking wood-fired brick oven. In the store. There are three-star Italian restaurants that don’t have brick ovens. And don’t get me started on the salad cheese choices. Every salad can be topped with unlimited spoonfuls of Gorgonzola or Feta or Parmesan or Cotija cheese.
(This seems like the only steal in the place, loading up your salad with what has to be six bucks of fancy cheese, but it’s not. They cut that shit with inferior whey more ruthlessly than my a coke dealer).
The soup selections see the most bombastic speech this side of a North Korean press release. Butternut collard posole? You ever heard of a posole? No one has. And triple squash soup? How many squashes are you aware of? I only know of one. The squash. Then there’s the olive bar. With it’s massive signs telling you to ask an employee if you want a taste. Like you’re an invalid.
But all this could be forgiven if I recently hadn’t told the hipster behind the counter I was craving Chinese.
“How about our General Tso’s Chicken?”
I sampled it and told him it was nice, but tasted a little different.
“That’s because it’s completely vegan.”
They make Vegan General Tso’s Chicken. And call it Vegan General Tso’s Chicken. Chicken. If that isn’t a reason for them to burn in hell… I buy that shit all the time. It’s so good. Just like their Curried Turkey Salad. Who the fuck would make that? It’s like they were like, “Hey, you like pot? We made vodka pot. Wanna try that? It’s $29 a hit.”
And you will go back for more.
So just don’t ever start. Shoot smack. Buy prostitutes. Play hunches at the track. Any of that, I promise, will be less addictive and expensive than the Whole Foods salad bar.