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Incensed with Whole Foods: Enough Incompetence!

t
tealilly Aug 30, 2007 08:09 PM

So it seems that not only is San Francisco fed up with Whole Foods http://www.chowhound.com/topics/421849 -- just last night I purchased some Vermont Butter & Cheese brand Mascarpone to prepare dessert for guests tonight.

Well, well, well ... the $5 8oz. tub turned out to not only have already been opened, it was used and completely spoiled. Yes, the weather of late has been really hot, things can go wrong, but I would have never -- ever -- expected to experience this. Particularly as last month I had to return some shrimp back to the seafood department **within 5 minutes of checking out** (guests allergic to shellfish) and was given major attitude, all angry and "now we can't sell this" business. I hadn't even finished loading the car when the call came in.

So tonight was really frustrating. No home-made dessert, unwilling to return this mess back to the store. Simply served cut-up fruit drizzled with Absolut Raspberri and sent everyone home. We're still drinking...

I'm fed up. Too many angry customers, rude staff (when you can find anyone at all -- good luck at the cheese department in Newton or Newtonville), unwilling to check for something possibly out of stock, crappy baggers. The florists and produce teams, however, have usually been kind. I'll give them that.

Is it me? Am I a bad-luck magnet of late, or have others been experiencing this as well?

  1. s
    Scruffy The Cat Aug 30, 2007 08:58 PM

    At the Newtonville WF, I've gotten old fish, old vegetables, and lots of milk/cream that has gone bad within days. Wednesday I tried to buy olive oil but someone was stocking and wouldn't budge. He was so bothered by my attempts to buy a product that I ended up saying "excuse me" to him. And yesterday I opened a pack of 6 flour tortillas... that had 5 tortillas in it.

    BIG downhill report for WF Newtonville.

    1. threedogs Aug 30, 2007 09:03 PM

      I don't shop there too often. Usually I can't find what I want there - I've been longing for good ol' Bread & Circus (was just thinking of posting this today!)

      My son was talking about this just yesterday - Whole Foods is just too generic. It doesn't have the soul that was there w/Bread & Circus.

      1. g
        Girl Friday Aug 30, 2007 09:34 PM

        And watch out, they are trying to buy Wild Oats and put a whole monopoly on the whole food/high end grocery market. Your latest experience is unacceptable. And, the one positive point you made (floral department) I've had a bad experience. Twice recently, I've had flowers last less than 24 hours while being held in good conditions.

        On a side note, many grocery stores have no return policies on all fresh meat and seafood. Not to defend them at all, but I think you'll find many stores with the same policy on returning the shrimp.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Girl Friday
          k
          kbw18 Aug 31, 2007 06:26 AM

          It's not a grocery store policy - fresh meats and seafoods cannot be resold based on Massachusetts regulations. And I think that's good. Even during a five minute walk out the door that meat or seafood is not under refrigeration.

          1. re: Girl Friday
            m
            Mother of four Sep 10, 2007 06:04 PM

            Try Publix if it is anywhere near you. They are wonderful in customer service! You can return anything and they will never question you, just give you your money back. Whole Foods has some very good deals on wine, and if you buy six bottles,they do not have to be the same, you get an extra 10% off. I really do like their cheese dept., they have been very nice and very helpful. I guess it just depends on what store you go to.

          2. sailormouth Aug 30, 2007 10:40 PM

            Hi Tealilliy, would you mind telling us what places you like to shop and eat at?

            1. kallis33 Aug 31, 2007 01:50 AM

              I would still have complained to the store. Clearly they need to be more proactive about removing perishables that are past their expiration date from the shelves. Which location was this? Have you had poor experiences at other WF? This just illustrates one of the main reasons why I prefer TJ's over WF - the TJ no hassle return policy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kallis33
                kallis33 Sep 4, 2007 08:42 AM

                I just reread the thread and my original reply doesn't make sense. I thought that the marscpone was spoiled and past its expiration date when the OP puchased it. Clearly I should not be posting before getting my morning java fix. The shrimp thing I agree with everyone else - it is not something you should be able to return.

              2. t
                Ted in Central NJ Aug 31, 2007 02:12 AM

                Here's may take on the subject.

                Regarding the mascarpone, apparently a customer opened the package and then put it back in the display. Opening the package probably led to the early demise of the cheese. I fail to see how this is the fault of the store's management, unless you expect them to look over the shoulder of each customer, or to closely examine each food package each day. Neither would be practical, and in fact, neither practice would be appropriate.

                Regarding the shrimp, I believe that the sanitary code in most jurisdictions would prevent meat or fish from being resold after its return. If you had returned the shrimp because they were spoiled, that is something that would not have produced problems for you. Instead, you wanted to return the shrimp because you had not done your "due vigilance"--e.g., determined what your guests could eat and what they couldn't eat. Your failure to do this is not the fault of the store, and since they would not be legally allowed to resell the shrimp after you returned it, they would take a loss for your failure to find out ahead of time about your guests' dietary restrictions.

                Truthfully, if I was the manager of that Whole Foods, I would be very happy if you took your business elsewhere. Your expectations and your demands are both unrealistic and unreasonable.

                19 Replies
                1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                  galleygirl Aug 31, 2007 04:15 AM

                  If it has left the store, for ANY amount of time, they can't resell it.

                  And as for the mascarpone, I gottah agree with Ted's assessment. I have seen many Whole Foods shoppers open something, taste it, then just leave it open, or maybe put it back. It's appallling..Unfortunately, as he pointed out, they can't watch every customer, or clean up after them to throw away opened product...
                  As for Newton, I think the chesse department is great; they introduced me to robiolla (heart icon here...) I've sure run into lots of rude, entitled shoppers there, tho....

                  1. re: galleygirl
                    l
                    ljw7 Aug 31, 2007 06:31 AM

                    The store should have a clear policy - we accept returns like this (and take the write-off and throw them out) - or we don't accept any returns and it should be clearly stated without being rude. For store employees to give a customer grief about wanting to return something and then accept the return is unprofessional. The customer should get a simple "I'm sorry but I can't accept that because blah" or give her back the money without comment.

                    1. re: galleygirl
                      l
                      lisa13 Sep 19, 2007 12:42 PM

                      whole foods shoppers are the worst part of the experience, in my opinion.

                      entitled, snobby jerks seem to abound at WF. I hate going there.

                    2. re: Ted in Central NJ
                      winedubar Aug 31, 2007 03:52 PM

                      here here. i had the re-read the op a couple of times. why would you try to return seafood you'd just purchases because of someone's allergy when there's nothing wrong with it? its not nordstroms, its a grocery store!!!

                      1. re: winedubar
                        f
                        fara Sep 4, 2007 06:19 AM

                        Exactly, and they were nice enough to take it back. they also made it clear that it was going to waste b/c the OP wasn't careful enough. Almost all WF's have my support, ESPECIALLY outside of large metropolitan areas they are a god-send. I would still be eating the occasional baguette and a steady supply of HCFS-loaf bread if it weren't for WF.
                        oh - I don't buy fresh fish there and the fishmonger at WF knows nothing. however, the one in my town has a wide selection of frozen wild fish, shrimp, and scallops.

                      2. re: Ted in Central NJ
                        pikawicca Sep 4, 2007 03:49 PM

                        I totally disagree with you! The store IS responsible for what it sells: if a customer takes a container home and finds it has been opened, of course he should be able to return it. If you buy fish, take it home, open it up, and it stinks to high heaven of course you should be able to return it. If the store is selling crap, that's their fault. These costs are built into the costing of every market. I'm astonished that WF has this attitude; I've never encountered a reluctance to accept the return of any bad product from any of my local grocers. If I did, they would no longer have my business.

                        1. re: pikawicca
                          LindaWhit Sep 4, 2007 04:50 PM

                          But pikawicca, the OP later stated that the shrimp hadn't gone bad - it was just her error for not vetting the fact that one of her guests was allergic to shellfish...that's why she wanted to return it - 5 minutes after purchase and walking out of the store. And it sounds like she didn't end up returning it - she made paella a day or so later. She's ultimately just ticked off at the attitude she seems to have gotten from WF's customer service desk.

                          1. re: pikawicca
                            jfood Sep 4, 2007 06:13 PM

                            P

                            since noone knows how the marscapone was opened, the store should and did accept as a return. It obviously can not inspect evry carton that leaves and unfortunately there are unscrupulous custos that will eat while shopping and return the carton or do so at home.

                            Wrt the fish, they were not spoiled and the store really has no reqquirement if the custo changes its mind (as done so in this case) but might allow returns as a show of good will.

                            Like you jfood has never had an issue returning anything that was spoiled but does not think that is the core of this thread. The OP was looking to blame the store in the cheese case and asked them to bend the rules with the shrimp. Jfoood is sure they accepted the cheese (although the OP was frustrated and drinking) when he wrote the post and wrt the shrimp they saw fit not to extend an offer of good will. Noone knows the circumstances of the actual conversation but it was WF's call on the goodwill and then the OP decision to ever return again.

                            1. re: jfood
                              monkuboy Sep 5, 2007 01:02 PM

                              I think for a store to make a "show of good will" to take back something that isn't bad (like the shrimp) just results in higher prices for the rest of us. It's like a CH post from a few months ago in which that OP complained because he had overbought food for a party and when he tried to take it back, Costco did take it back but the employee also told him that they would have to throw the food away because it couldn't be resold. If something is your own fault for not checking or misjudging, don't try and pass the cost off on the store, i.e,, ultimately passing the cost back on the rest of us consumers.

                              True, the people at Whole Foods should not have been rude but then we don't know both sides of the story. There's just too many people taking back things for all sorts of reasons that are not the fault of the store, and causing prices to go higher and higher.

                              1. re: jfood
                                pikawicca Sep 5, 2007 05:35 PM

                                I'm confident that if I got out to the car with three pounds of salmon and I received a call from my husband that one of our dinner guests couldn't eat it, I could turn right around and take it inside to the fish counter and they would take it back. Then again, they know me, but the fish would be in the original wrapping and the store would know it hadn't been tampered with. Why would they not take it back?

                                1. re: pikawicca
                                  galleygirl Sep 5, 2007 05:54 PM

                                  Um, because it's against the health code?

                                  1. re: galleygirl
                                    pikawicca Sep 5, 2007 06:15 PM

                                    You can' t resell it . That doesn't mean you can't take it back.

                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                      monkuboy Sep 5, 2007 06:23 PM

                                      That's true, but why should the store have to lose money just because of your own mistake? Yes, you may be a good customer so they do it to keep your business, but since they can't resell it, it doesn't seem right to make the store take a loss if it isn't their fault. And like I've mentioned before, eventually through such things, we all have to pay higher prices.

                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                        jfood Sep 6, 2007 02:54 AM

                                        yes, but you are asking the store to eat your mistake through no fault of theirs. That's wrong on your side knowing full well that someone else is paying for your mistakes. Not the correct attitude to have IMHO.

                                    2. re: pikawicca
                                      ccbweb Sep 5, 2007 06:58 PM

                                      There is no way for the store to know that you didn't walk around the store for an hour and a half before you went out to your car. Then sat in your car for a half an hour in the sun while the salmon got quite warm. If they know you, I suppose they might remember how long it's been...but it would be a very bad policy for them to take everything back in this case.

                                      Whether a store should take such a thing back as a customer service gesture is one thing....but I find it hard to say that a store absolutely should take such an item back under such a circumstance. If you got home and found that the salmon was spoiled or otherwise substandard, than they should absolutely refund your money. If you get to the car and decide "oh, I bought the wrong thing," well, that's your problem and shouldn't be the market's.

                                      1. re: ccbweb
                                        monkuboy Sep 5, 2007 08:07 PM

                                        exactly!

                                      2. re: pikawicca
                                        tsfirefly Sep 6, 2007 11:37 PM

                                        Not only can food not be resold, but in almost all states it also cannot even be stored in the same area as food yet to be sold...it automatically goes into the trash...

                                        Love this thread...I've had no issues with WF, but then again, I go into food stores knowing exactly what I want and what it'll be used for, so my interaction with personnel is limited to the paper or plastic discussion...

                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                          susancinsf Sep 11, 2007 12:41 PM

                                          Personally, I would just take it home and freeze it...I wouldn't want to buy the salmon that someone else brought back because of a mistake, (because I have no idea how they stored it, even for a short time) so wouldn't bring any back for that reason myself!

                                      3. re: pikawicca
                                        f
                                        foodie07 Sep 5, 2007 09:40 AM

                                        Did you read the original posting- because that makes no sense.

                                        There was NOTHING wrong with the Shrimp, and Whole Foods is not responsible for a tipsy and belligerent customer. As for the mascarpone, she was admittedly TOO LAZY (or drunk, hard to say I guess) to return it. At which point it is not AT ALL the fault of Whole Foods.

                                        Also, "...and sent everyone home. We're still drinking..."- either they left and she counts herself as several people or se was wasted and making no sense. Either way this rant should not be taken into consideration when judging Whole Foods. It would be unfair.

                                    3. y
                                      ypeopleeat Aug 31, 2007 03:59 AM

                                      My wife found Russo's recently in Watertown. I don't know if it is convenient to you but they have far better quality than Whole Foods, friendlier and does not have to answer to Wall Street. http://www.russos.com/

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ypeopleeat
                                        e
                                        edgewater Aug 31, 2007 04:59 AM

                                        I go to the Whole Foods in Framingham several times a week and I have never seen an angry customer or experienced anything but outstanding customer service. Their customer service is one of the reasons I find shopping there such a pleasant experience.

                                        1. re: edgewater
                                          LindaWhit Aug 31, 2007 05:49 AM

                                          And I've been going to the relatively new one in Burlington/Woburn, and haven't seen anything like what the OP has said. In fact, the store's staff seems to go out of their way to be helpful, including walking me over to an aisle and picking out what I was looking for (instead of just saying "Aisle 8").

                                          Gotta agree with Ted on the return of the shrimp - if it was spoiled, their fault. As it wasn't, the OP's fault for not vetting the fact that one of their guests was severely allergic to shellfish. I sure don't see why the shrimp couldn't have been kept by the OP and used for another use the next day (although it probably was a lot if it was for a main meal). However, the shrimp COULD have been frozen by the OP. Not optimal, but still....very unfair to blame the store when they take the loss on something that was perfectly good just because the OP wants to return it: "Oops - made a mistake. I don't want this anymore."

                                      2. SeaSide Tomato Aug 31, 2007 05:03 AM

                                        Someone above mentioned that they actually had to say "excuse me" to someone who was busy working--what exactly is wrong with that? Should we not say excuse me? Since when are folks supposed to read our minds and move over without some (polite) indication that we need to get into the space they are in?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                          rabaja Sep 11, 2007 12:58 PM

                                          Thanks for mentioning this. I too thought it was wierd that they felt they shouldn't have to be polite to store employees. What is the world coming to...

                                        2. Dr.Jimbob Aug 31, 2007 05:34 AM

                                          I think that even in a large organization like Whole Foods is becoming, the experience is dependent on the staff within an individual store. My wife and I have been regular patrons at the two Cambridge stores (Cambridgeport on River Street and Fresh Pond Mall) and the Beacon Hill branch on Cambridge Street. I noticed some slippage south in terms of produce quality and customer service at River Street about a year after their grand opening, but someone seems to have noticed and they do seem to be back up to snuff on the last few trips. Fresh Pond of course just went through a major reno, so for the moment they do appear to be putting their best foot forward (though we had a rather comical set of interactions with both a checkin clerk and a customer service rep who both appeared to be being broken into their jobs in their first week, earlier this week).

                                          And then there's Russo's in Watertown, and Trader Joe's for selected stuff. There used to be Roche Bros which seemed at one point to be positioning itself as the Lowe's against the jaded crusty Home Depot of Whole Foods, but Roche Bros seems to have faded back into the woodwork, at least in the Metro area.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                                            a
                                            alanr Sep 4, 2007 08:48 PM

                                            Hey Dr. Jimbob, I still stop at Roche Brothers when I'm in Natick/West Roxbury/etc. and it is still pretty spectacular. Unfortunately, I think the problem is that it's just not everywhere the way Whole Foods is. If the two were next door to each other, I'd go to Roche Brothers for much of what I currently go to Whole Foods in Cambridge for.

                                            As for the problems of the OP and follow-ups, I will say that I have had some interesting issues with customer service at the Cambridge Whole Foods, but they have mostly been with new employees (I hope) learning the ropes, and certainly have not been bothered by bad attitudes.

                                            For customer service, I am a fan of Whole Foods, Russo's, and Roche Brothers. (Roche Brothers is a full service, "normal" priced grocery that actually has butchers, which Star/Shaws do not - the latter have meat packagers who will not trim or grind.)

                                          2. p
                                            peelmeagrape Aug 31, 2007 05:39 AM

                                            I would also be annoyed if I bought a tub of mascarpone and found it already opened and spoiled. The explanations other posters have offered about customers opening (and even tasting) things and putting them back make sense, but even if the store can't police every package, discovering rotten food under those circumstances still makes for a lousy customer experience. And if I had enough experiences like that there, I wouldn't want to shop there anymore, either. (Imagine going to dinner at a restaurant, where the rudeness of other patrons or some other factor beyond the management's control ruins your experience more than once or twice in a short period.) I would expect them to take the spoiled marscapone back and replace it, since it sure isn't my job as a customer to open every product and inspect it prior to purchase. I think TJ's policy on returns really sets the standard.

                                            As for rude staff, I haven't had a problem at the Newton store, or in certain departments at Newtonville (the produce and dairy guys are always really sweet about checking in the back for more of something that seems to have run out up front), but I have had problems with the meat counter, the seafood counter and the deli. The biggest one seems to be that some of the staff aren't properly trained in how to guesstimate the weight of a piece of meat or fish that they're about to cut off. Last week I ordered a half pound piece of smoked turkey breast, only to have the guy cut off 0.9 of a pound, wrap it, and hand it to me, without a word. When I pointed out I'd asked for a half pound, not a pound, he cut it again, this time handing me a piece that weighed 0.675. Since it wasn't that much more than what I'd originally requested, I took it and chalked it up to happening across a sloppy/disinterested worker (though, as I've said, I've encountered this problem several times before). How difficult would it have been to cut the piece in half and wrap whichever one was slightly larger? If WF is going to cut things to order (a big reason why I shop at WF and a service that I really appreciate when it's done properly), they need to listen to the order and not just give whatever size piece they happen to cut off.

                                            I also think that if the prices they charge weren't so high, I'd be a good deal more forgiving of errors and bad service.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: peelmeagrape
                                              galleygirl Aug 31, 2007 06:16 AM

                                              But the OP didn't bother to return the spoiled mascarpone to WF; of course they would have replaced it. She preferred to tar them for simply having it on the shelves, and causing her to have to change her dessert plans.

                                            2. w
                                              willg Aug 31, 2007 06:13 AM

                                              We shop at the Whole Foods at Fresh Pond fairly regularly. We do not like it much: it is now sort of a bland, monolithic purveyor of food and is no longer very interesting. I find the customers to be much ruder than the staff. That being said, we have twice had off chicken (pre-packaged thighs and whole legs) and once had milk that was off. We were refunded the cost immediately and with apologies. I am sure that they would, or will, do the same with your marscapone. I find that I need to be more careful in WF than in Stop and Shop in checking to be sure that the packaging has not been messed with. I do place the blame for this on WF, but on the entitled clientele.

                                              The shrimp is different. I would not expect them to take back fish because you decided not to serve it. They cannot re-sell it, even though it was out of the store for five minutes. I am glad of that. It left the store. I am happy to know that would not throw it back in the case for someone else to buy.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: willg
                                                h
                                                hoplover Aug 31, 2007 06:25 AM

                                                I am a big whole foods shopper and lately I have experienced the same problems. It seems as thought they are selling old food and food that is spoiled. I bought bad stuff from the bakery last week for breakfast on my way to the beach. I had to throw it out. I made a salad at the salad bar and the sour edaname ruined the whole salad and it has happened before. Forget the deli department. They have no idea what is what and you will most likely always receive the wrong item. The soup department always looks really crusty and too thick. Even the produce lately has been overripe. I spend a large sum of money a few times a week and I feel as though I should not have to deal with these problems. I do not think tealilly expectations were too much and that she needs to go elsewhere. We are consumers and we all work hard for our money and we have expectations. We can go where ever we want to shop and we expect to get products with integrity.

                                                1. re: willg
                                                  threedogs Aug 31, 2007 06:34 AM

                                                  I agree about the shrimp - that's state and/or federal law. But since I can still remember Bread & Circus, I have something to compare it to, and I just don't think their products justify the inflated prices. That said, (with the few things I purchase - usually the large salad mix), I've never had a problem with rudeness from the staff (I only go to the Swampscott one these days.)

                                                  My main problem is most of the time I go in to get something, they just don't have it. These are items that I know I could get at the old Bread & Circus. Sigh... personally, I think it's my family's fault they sold out - my kids were little & we'd feast on the free samples practically everyday in the Newton store, on our commute to my kids' school in Framingham (for one whole year).

                                                  I'm not crazy about Wild Oats, but I just hate to see these businesses chomp up all the competition. Reeks of monopoly.. [as a side, I just heard that DeMoulas Market Basket is supposed to be buying Johnny Foodmaster - now THAT'S a good thing - you want to talk about spoiled meat? I almost poisoned my dog from bad chicken from that place, but couldn't follow up due to family circumstances]

                                                  I plan to take a day to travel out to Russo's. This how I reward myself - found out I can get there by the T, and after a dismal experience with Haymarket last week (I think I go there mostly because of good memories of my mom (rest her soul) & I shopping there when I was a kid. But in all honestly, it's such a fight to get decent produce there, and I didn't even save much money that last time.

                                                  If the OP is still upset about the experience (understand, also, that she wrote this in the heat of being upset - that's why I try to cool down after a bad experience before I post anything - this stuff gets etched in stone!), she should still contact the management. The only way for them to improve is if people actually let them know problems are occurring.

                                                2. jfood Aug 31, 2007 06:29 AM

                                                  It's unfortunate that your Marscapone you bought was a result of tampering by a fellow customer but blaming the store for this seems like a stretch. The ONLY way they would have known that the tub had been opened was to open it themselves and jfood would not want any store opening every tub of butter and cheese to see if the inner seal is still intact. For you to expect that is setting standards WAAAAY above acceptable.

                                                  With respect to the shrimp, let's be honest, full blame rests with you. You bought the shrimp and left the store. Whether you were on the sidewalk, loading the car, at your home or wherever, you bought fresh shrimp and then discovered that you could not use it for a particular meal. And that's the store's fault? They can not re-sell it, and you comment on the store's attitude. Jfood thinks your attitude is much worse, it's the stores risk? Don't think so.

                                                  And your dessert sounds quite nice in the heat the NE has experienced, so what's the biggie? And your comment on "We're still drinking..." Try to refrain from posting like this rant while this is occurring.

                                                  "Bad-luck magnet", lighten up, you bought a bad tub of marscapone, it's a tub of cheese, not the end of the world. And with respect to the shrimp. What bad luck? If you would have served it too a shrimp-allergic guest and needed to go to Mass General in an ambulance, that's bad luck. You should have brought the shrimp home and prepared the next day.

                                                  Like others have stated, lighten up or you will see the inside of that ambulance way too soon.

                                                  1. f
                                                    foodie07 Aug 31, 2007 06:40 AM

                                                    Ok, first of all:

                                                    NO STORE SHOULD EVER TAKE PRODUCE BACK, no matter how much you paid for it, unless you can prove that it was spoiled or otherwise compromised UPON PURCHASE.

                                                    - There have been cases all over this country over the years of psychos tainting produce or lacing it with poison etc...
                                                    - Would you eat fresh shrimp you knew had gone home with some stranger? No, I doubt you would, knowingly. Who knows what the person did!

                                                    Also, CHANGING YOUR MIND is not adequate grounds for return when it comes to food. You cannot go to a restaurant, order a dish and then after it’s been cooked say “never mind, I don’t want this, I’m actually in the mood for steak...” and expect your money back. It’s ridiculous.

                                                    You should have planned more carefully, or, as it seems that you eat seafood, save it for another day.

                                                    That said, whatever complaints you have may or may not be valid- however, judging from your attempt to return fresh shrimp because you changed your mind, I am unlikely to believe you.

                                                    Finally, I agree with JFOOD- "still drinking..." - well that was clear from your overly excited and slanderous rant. I suggest that you sober up before commenting on a store. Especially one that takes such good care of their employees, people should encourage such wonderful business practice!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: foodie07
                                                      g
                                                      Girl Friday Aug 31, 2007 04:30 PM

                                                      Actually I think you'll find that many places accept produce back. Fresh meat and seafood is different, but produce is a low risk item.

                                                      1. re: Girl Friday
                                                        Veggo Aug 31, 2007 04:53 PM

                                                        Why oh why would someone return an artichoke or a head of cauliflower like a used prom dress? What's wrong with "if you buy it and its edible, you own it"? How much extra are the rest of us paying for the whimseys of fickle comsumers in this post? Girl Friday, I find no fault with you- I'm just jumping in here.

                                                        1. re: Girl Friday
                                                          f
                                                          foodie07 Sep 5, 2007 09:44 AM

                                                          First-It's not legal. Second-where are you shopping, I want to know so that I can avoid purchasing a poisoned cantaloupe or possibly broccoli that has fallen on someone's car floor- your questionable standards are hardly the norm.

                                                          1. re: foodie07
                                                            LindaWhit Sep 5, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                            Two different things - the store can accept it back, but it usually doesn't go back out for sale. It's thrown away.

                                                      2. s
                                                        swsidejim Aug 31, 2007 06:45 AM

                                                        I have never been impressed with Whole Foods in general. Now this gives me more validation that I have made the right choice to stay away from them.

                                                        1. wino22 Aug 31, 2007 02:08 PM

                                                          The Whole Foods stores in the Seattle area have been staffed with friendly, knowledgable people, stocked with fresh produce, and definitely always have plenty of samples... I'm sorry you have been having such bad experiences.
                                                          Besides the high prices, I'm happy!

                                                          1. whs Aug 31, 2007 02:30 PM

                                                            My only contribution to this thread will be to observe that the type of people who shop at WF (with the exception of all the good people who have participated in this thread) have an elevated sense of entitlement not seen at more plebian establishments such as DeMoulas. If you want good cheese, go to Il Formaggio. If you want good meat, go to Savenour's. If you want quality, you have to shop like an Italian nonna. Face it, WF is a chain supermarket.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: whs
                                                              LindaWhit Aug 31, 2007 04:27 PM

                                                              Wow. Thank you for saying that I have a sense of entitlement because I shop at Whole Foods, even though I'm one of the "good people posting in this thread" - however, I don't have that sense of entitlement. WF in Woburn is closer to me than Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge or the South End (it's not Il Formaggio). If I'm *in* Cambridge, I'll go there if I know I'm going home immediately after (I'm usually not doing so). But either way - it's a special trip for me from where I live. And going into Boston just to go to Savenor's is crazy for anyone who lives in the suburbs. Yes, perhaps for a super-special meal I might want to go there to get something specially ordered. But on a regular basis? Why bother?

                                                              Please remember - not EVERYONE is "fortunate" enough to live in Boston proper as you seem to, due to the high cost of housing in the Boston area. Then again, not all of us want to live in Boston proper either.

                                                              So WF does just fine for what it is - a higher end chain supermarket that enables the rest of us suburbians to obtain higher quality goods without spending yet more money on gas to get to where *you* feel we should shop.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                whs Aug 31, 2007 04:38 PM

                                                                I live in New Hampshire. And I didn't say you have a sense of entitlement. Note above: "(with the exception of all the good people who have participated in this thread)". I shop at my local farmer's market, little ethnic stores AND the supermarket. When I feel really adventurous, I go all the way to Boston, and hit Savenour's. And maybe stop at WF in Fresh Pond on the way home to check out the cheese department.

                                                                1. re: whs
                                                                  LindaWhit Sep 1, 2007 05:02 AM

                                                                  Then I'm not sure what you were trying to say with your blanket statement of "anyone who shops at WF has a sense of elevated entitlement." You say shop there on occasion as well - your trips to Savenor's or WF are special trips as well. What's to say that many people use WF as a specialty market as well, which is what I do? I don't shop there exclusively, and I don't know anyone who does. I'm just not getting your original post.

                                                                  1. re: whs
                                                                    jfood Sep 1, 2007 05:19 AM

                                                                    now twice said that people who shop in WF are entirled except for the subset that posted here, which at this point carves out <30 people from their client base, and if you did not post then your trips to the Fresh Pond location would place you in that annointed-entitled class as well. OMG

                                                                    Jfood does not have a WF near him and it is a 25 minute drive to the nearest one. on the few times he was in the 'hood he stopped in and found it quite nice and well served. so jfood tries to detour on his trips to stop in. The Wild Oats purchase will place one closer to his office.

                                                                    And you are fortunate to have local farms to shop at, many of us do not, so WF does offer us a chance to hire an intermediary to those regional markets, and for that many of us are appreciative.

                                                                    But jfood is glad that people have passion for their local grocer, whether WF, TJ or the corner market jfood is very loyal to. So jfood sides strongly with Linda on saying what are you trying to say about the non-CH posters that shop at WF.

                                                                    1. re: whs
                                                                      f
                                                                      fara Sep 4, 2007 06:27 AM

                                                                      Nonni don't drive ~2 hrs to buy produce (NH to Boston), they shop on a daily basis.

                                                                2. s
                                                                  smartie Aug 31, 2007 04:35 PM

                                                                  I have to concur with others. If you change your mind how on earth can you expect any store to refund you? I used to have customers at my restaurant who would do this after ordering their meals (and I don't mean within seconds of the order going into the kitchen).

                                                                  I have seen people at Publix take back foods they didnt realise they had at home. Whilst this is reasonable w hen it is a tin or a jar still sealed it is not acceptable with fresh food that has to be thrown away.

                                                                  We are a very wasteful society these days which an awful sense of entitlement it seems.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                                    b
                                                                    beachmouse Aug 31, 2007 07:23 PM

                                                                    If the employees at Publix know you, they can sometimes be willing to cut you a ton of slack on the returns issue. A while back, we bought some ground chicken there that was decidedly off when we went to divide and freeze it that same night.

                                                                    The next week, we were back in the store, and Mr. Mouse went up to the meat guys to ask them to grind some chicken breasts on the spot for him. He got into a conversation with the butcher about two pounds of the prepackaged ground stuff turning out to be bad, and how we didn't return it that night because it would have been an extra round trip on the toll bridge. Without us asking for any favor or consideration, the butcher ground up the three pounds of chicken for us, and then set it up so that it would only scan as one pound at checkout.

                                                                    There are perks to being a low-maitenance regular customer in a store that tends to see its fair share of jerks coming through the doors.

                                                                  2. steve h. Aug 31, 2007 05:28 PM

                                                                    this thread is classic. hope the powers-that-be keep it up for a long, long time.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: steve h.
                                                                      t
                                                                      tealilly Aug 31, 2007 07:11 PM

                                                                      Hello everyone -- I appreciate your insight and feedback. All good stuff. To clarify: I don't feel that I'm behaving like I'm entitled. I would have had no problems with not being able to return the shrimp if "management" at customer service would have explained it being state/federal/whatever regulation vs. insinuating that I was stupid to buy it in the first place -- "how could you ever think that we could take such a thing back". No problem, we ate it in a paella a couple of days later.

                                                                      The tone is what I'm having an issue with.

                                                                      WF is expensive, and pride themselves on offering exceptionally friendly service, which I've not experienced. As for the Mascarpone, it wasn't a matter of someone just peeling back the protective seal: there were several portions dug out of it using a serrated knife. Like someone spreading it on a bagel or something and not liking it, so it was returned. I've had lots of things go bad on me dairy-wise, particularly in the summertime, and am realistic that things go bad. After the shrimp thing in July, I just don't want to deal with it.

                                                                      And no, I wasn't drunk when I posted last night. Just frustrated.

                                                                      1. re: tealilly
                                                                        t
                                                                        Ted in Central NJ Sep 1, 2007 10:30 AM

                                                                        Lily--Tone begets tone, unfortunately. The tone that you set in your original post was what led to any negative tone that you may have detected in the responses.

                                                                        And, as to the Mascarpone, it does sound like it was returned. It is possible that an unscrupulous customer decided that she/he didn't like the Mascarpone and decided to return it. Or perhaps the customer discovered after the fact that a dinner guest was lactose intolerant and the customer decided to return it because of that situation. In either of those scenarios, the only error on the part of the WF managment was to not check the packaging when the product was returned.

                                                                        So--if I am interpreting your post correctly, you want more liberal return policies on the part of food stores, but you are not willing to live with the possible consequences of a store accepting the return of those products. Your reasoning just seems to be a bit convoluted, IMHO.

                                                                        1. re: tealilly
                                                                          jfood Sep 1, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                                          "Incensed" and "incompetence" = set the tone for the responses.

                                                                          For example if you had posted. Am I wrong in being upset at WF? as the title and then ask this forum a question, "I found a tub of marscapone that had been...Should I be upset with WF for not catching this before being restocked?" and "I tried to return immediately but was met with the following responses..."

                                                                          Instead you drew the line in the sand that it was their fault on both the cheese and the shrimp and they were incompetent.

                                                                          As another poster mentioned, you want a perfectly open return policy from the store, which by its nature requires custos to be completely honest in their returns and then you want the store to have 100% guarantee on the "re-sold" product or throw it out and eat every change of heart from every customer? Tough to please everyone all the time.

                                                                          But in the end sounds like you had a nice dessert and some good paella a few nights later, so in the end it was a no biggie. But if you write frustrated posts drawing lines in the sand on these boards you will find people on both sides of the line, and some will be brutally honest. Try to ask for advice in the future versus the mode you took here and you will appreciate more the feedback.

                                                                          Once again welcome to CH and hopefully your next posts are more positive.

                                                                          1. re: tealilly
                                                                            n
                                                                            nutrition Sep 2, 2007 12:23 AM

                                                                            THere is something FISHY smelling here! And it isn't the shrimp.
                                                                            Is it WF bashing or is it a Boston area thing?

                                                                            How could it be that both the tealilly and the clerk didn't notice the carton of mascopone or whatever was opened. Are there no seals that have to be broken required in BOSTON like every other WF from New York Ccity toFtLauderdale to Ann Arbor to Los Angeles to San Diego. That is quite a few for me, since that is where I usually shop when I travel? Doesn't the cartons have an expiration date on them? I have never seen outdated food at WF's anywhere, but somethimes in my refrigerator, and it is still good.
                                                                            I think there is more of a problem with people trying sabatoge stores, then there are stores being careless enough to try to sell old goods.

                                                                            If you are looking for the Way to Happiness, Happiness is the Way!

                                                                            1. re: nutrition
                                                                              f
                                                                              fara Sep 4, 2007 06:34 AM

                                                                              I went the other day to WF and tried to return fish that had been rotting in my fridge for a week - I was completely indigant that they gave me a "bad look" upon returning it! A few weeks ago I went to a restaurant where the fire alarm was going off, we sat down any way,, me and my pregnant girlfriend, imagine how indigant I was that the food took so long and we got completely soaked by the fire hose!
                                                                              Given the problems of the world we live in, I must think that these people have created a virtual world for themselves in order to escape larger problems.

                                                                              1. re: fara
                                                                                whs Sep 4, 2007 04:05 PM

                                                                                Sense of entitlement?

                                                                                1. re: whs
                                                                                  f
                                                                                  fara Sep 4, 2007 04:40 PM

                                                                                  whs, satire is NOT dead.

                                                                                  1. re: fara
                                                                                    whs Sep 4, 2007 05:17 PM

                                                                                    I know--that's why I loved your post.

                                                                        2. bards4 Aug 31, 2007 08:40 PM

                                                                          This is a very interesting thread. I don't live anywhere near you, so I have no first hand knowledge of any of the stores you are visiting. We do have a Whole Foods here -- ad I lived in Austin and visited the original WF many years ago. Both are fine stores, but I don't tend to shop at my local WF mostly because the prices are high and I can get similarly excellent items and support local growers at my other favorite store. I am fortunate to live where we have New Seasons markets who pride themselves on local sustainability and excellent customer service. They will let you return anything you buy there -- virtually no questions asked. They will even refund your money if the meat or fish that you took home and prepared yourself didn't turn out -- I brought home a beautiful filet of salmon only to grill it and find that it was an odd, chewy piece that we ended up not eating. I happened to be in the store the next day and mentioned my disappointment with the salmon, and the clerk told me to bring back the receipt so that I could get my money back. Another day, I bought a watermelon, only to get it home and find it mushy and past its prime. And again, they refunded my money, no questions asked, buts with lots of apologies.

                                                                          Not all return policies need to reflect whether or not something can be resold. Sometimes they reflect the kind of customer service that realizes that not everything they sell is going to be perfect, but a lot of it is. They are willing to take the chance that if you return something that they cannot resell, they will certainly make that money back in lots of other things that I will buy and continue to buy because I feel so comfortable and respected in the store. It's a great store. If you are ever in Oregon, stop by New Seasons. (and I don't even work there.)

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bards4
                                                                            jfood Sep 1, 2007 05:31 AM

                                                                            jfood agrees that certain stores will refund "no questions asked" and jfood has a local grocer that will do likewise.

                                                                            But jfood also agrees that the store is an insurance policy thatguarantees that whatever you buy you will like. jfood would never expect to try all the new fruits one day and go home and take a bite and then return those that did not meet his expectations. Jfood doubts many would as well, but there is some skin in the game on the custo side once he chooses and purchases something that he now assumes the risk of loss. If the chicken is bad or the meat has turned that is one thing (unless of course the custo left it in the car for hours) and the grocer will probably accept. But for the "i changed my mind" or "I do not like pineapple" that should not be a returnable event.

                                                                            The "customer is always right" syndrome sometimes goes to far and when it's mixed with a sense of entitlement that jfood sees in many then this is a bad combo. You buy it and if the store delivered it properly then it's the custo risk.

                                                                            Also not saying that your salmon story was that at all and jfood has had a similar experience at his local grocer when he described something he did not like after preparing. Jfood was giving feedback to the fish monger (who jfood has become pretty good friends with over the years) at the store for his data and when the fishmonger told jfood that he could get a refund, it was turned down flatly.

                                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                                              bards4 Sep 1, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                                              That's true, jfood. I can certainly see where their policy could go wrong with a customer who just wants to take advantage of them. There's the "I didn't like it" factor as opposed to "it wasn't a good piece although it looked like it was" factor. It's nice to know that my store feels that I'm respectful enough to understand the difference. It's a bigger version of the local farmer selling his stuff on the side of the road -- he's intensely proud of what he has to offer and then wants to make good if something goes wrong. It's a nice relationship. It's a very sad world when "entitlement" is the norm rather than "respect".

                                                                              1. re: bards4
                                                                                jfood Sep 1, 2007 02:55 PM

                                                                                exactly well put in the last sentence, usually just a matter of growing up. jfood just finished making a tomato salad for company and one of the tomatoes was black on the inside. should jfood jump in the car and return it to the store screaming bloody murder. of course not. cut it in quarters and shove it in the disposal and move on to the next tomato. And corn is also being served so jfood bought a couple of extras just in case one or two are bad when he removes the husks after grilling. people want organic this and perfect that and no chemicals here and no mark ups or profit there. very difficult to satisfy everyone.

                                                                                me, a beautiful day, friends over tonight for a BBQ and maybe a jacuzzi under the stars before turning in. Now that's what everyone should focus on, the good times.

                                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                                  bards4 Sep 1, 2007 11:22 PM

                                                                                  I always love reading your posts, jfood. And I like your avatar. :o)

                                                                          2. cheri Sep 2, 2007 12:41 AM

                                                                            You were totally wrong to even think about taking the shrimp back in and expecting and asking for them to reimburse you. Why should they take the loss?

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: cheri
                                                                              m
                                                                              malibumike Sep 2, 2007 08:28 AM

                                                                              Yes, you are right, this is just very very basic common sense, you dont take back seafood and think they can resell it, they dont know what some kook might have done to the meat, a poisoning would put them out of business, it only takes one time. The OP should have just frozen the fish for a later use.

                                                                              1. re: malibumike
                                                                                t
                                                                                tealilly Sep 3, 2007 10:11 AM

                                                                                Feedback most welcomed, everyone. Thank you for this.

                                                                                The question really being more along the lines of "service-related incompetence" which was why I was so terribly frustrated.

                                                                                Having lived in San Francisco (the Franklin location is insane! Palo Alto WF is wonderful!) and shopped at NYC's Columbus Circle location in addition to eight WFs in Massachusetts, it's clear that customer service in the stores in the Massachusetts area suburbs (Newton/Newtonville/Wellesley area) are much more hostile/indifferent/unhelpful vs. urban (all Cambridge/Symphony/Brighton).

                                                                                Maybe it's the constant battery from the clientele that they're leeching back. Must be exhausting. And, for the record, I asked very nicely, and didn't put up a stink.

                                                                                Oh -- and Girl Friday -- it seems that the Wild Oats acquisition is a reality http://www.wholefoods.com/stores/wild...

                                                                                1. re: tealilly
                                                                                  2
                                                                                  2peasinapod Sep 11, 2007 07:34 AM

                                                                                  The Brighton WF is generally very good. The meat department guys are great and very knowlegable about different cuts and cooking techniques/time. I will say that on multiple occasions I have purchased cream or half and half that is sour. Not just smelly, but chunkey. The dates on the containers were good. I have now had to resort to shaking the cartons to see if there is a large chunk of spoiled milk at the bottom before buying it.

                                                                            2. e
                                                                              EssexHound Sep 3, 2007 10:54 AM

                                                                              I love WF, but have noticed some slippages lately. I have had to return a number of cheeses that turned well before their expiry dates (Millburn,NJ store), and have pointed out to WF employees a number of items (usually in the dairy area) that were on the shelves past their sell-by dates.

                                                                              I have not had any other issues other than an occasionally surly cashier at the Millburn store. I hope when they replace that store with a much larger one in Union next year that they indoctinate the much larger staff on customer service points.

                                                                              Other than that, have been pretty happy eith WF and will continue to happily shop there, as no one comes close competition-wise in my area.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: EssexHound
                                                                                n
                                                                                nutrition Sep 3, 2007 04:42 PM

                                                                                Expiration dates do NOT mean, that the food turns bad on that day or the day after!
                                                                                It means, that they know it is good until that date and days after.
                                                                                Just like medications are good LONG after the expiration dates.

                                                                                If cheese is not moldy when you open it, but turns after, then it was exposed to spores, etc after you got it home and opened it and stored properly.

                                                                                I

                                                                              2. i
                                                                                iguanachef Sep 4, 2007 06:53 AM

                                                                                Each whole foods has it's own vibe and flavor with my experience.
                                                                                I have been to them in Portland ME...an awsome experience, Amherst MA also amazing, The larger one in Newton stunk and everything looked old or worn, Frtamingham, MA is getting better, Bellingham MA seafood and meat are lovely the rest so so. Wellesley while small has a great team and it shows in EVERYTHING. Good luck parking! It all depends on the staff and their teams just like a resturant you can have a great chef and awful server or visa versa.

                                                                                As far as amazing cheese...brave the downtown wellesley parking (down by the college side of town and go to Wasiks cheese shop. you can taste before you buy and they have the most amazing stuff. Be warned it;'s cash, checks or American express only NO MC or VISA.

                                                                                You however are not alone I too miss the old Bread and Circus!

                                                                                1. ccbweb Sep 4, 2007 10:37 AM

                                                                                  I went to the Whole Foods in Charlottesville, VA almost weekly for years. I never encountered any problems or issues there that I haven't occasionally encountered at virtually every market I've shopped at with any regularity in my life.

                                                                                  As for the mascarpone...my guess is that some "customer" helped themselves to it right there in the store, probably with some free sample crackers and left it right in the case.

                                                                                  1. v
                                                                                    vinovino Sep 4, 2007 03:40 PM

                                                                                    If you've in newton, try Allendale farms for produce. They actually sell to Whole Foods, anyway.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: vinovino
                                                                                      galleygirl Sep 4, 2007 05:51 PM

                                                                                      They may,and I love them, but they also buy from Russo's....

                                                                                    2. t
                                                                                      tamerlanenj Sep 6, 2007 10:38 PM

                                                                                      I think I would like Whole Food's if I were rich. But, as nice as the store can be, I always feel like I got punched in the stomach when i check out. Then I go home and cry.

                                                                                      It's all about the nissin Ramen and white bread, folks.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: tamerlanenj
                                                                                        f
                                                                                        fara Sep 7, 2007 06:57 AM

                                                                                        try lentils, legumes, the big bags of frozen vegetables, shopping at ethnic groceries...where do you live? no one should be living on that diet.

                                                                                      2. e
                                                                                        EclecticEater Sep 6, 2007 11:03 PM

                                                                                        Went to the opening of the newest Whole Foods store in Tustin, California. This was after the "grand opening" and free samples. My wife and I found the store crowded, loud and not very efficiently organized, whether by design (to get people to buy impulse items) or just because it was. Asked three employees where dried porccini mushrooms were and none of them knew. Of course there was no mushroom section according to them; yet later we found dried mushrooms near the produce. But the upshot was they didn't have any porccini mushrooms, period. They did have some $129.00 a pound mushrooms, however, and a number of different other expensive types; the $100+ mushrooms were mushrooms, not truffles, by the way. We bought $65 worth of food, no doubt making the Whole Foods management at corporate very happy, including good boneless chicken legs/thighs for $6.99 a pound (elsewhere at $3.25 a pound, max). The lack of knowledge on the part of the staff, the noise, the confusing layout, and the fact that I can buy most of what they have at Trader Joes at a better price; at a local Persian market at a much better price; and even at Stader Brothers - all makes me think that with their overhead they can't continue, against such fierce competition, to survive for the long haul. I suspect they have already forgotten that they had to close their large market in Irvine, and have collective amnesia about why that happened, only to be replaced by Wholesome Foods which is teeming with life and reasonably prices and a huge contingent of repeat consumers. Unless they have something special that we can't find elsewhere, we will not patronize them.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: EclecticEater
                                                                                          Professor Salt Sep 6, 2007 11:18 PM

                                                                                          Did you try the smoked brisket at the new Tustin store? That's something special you can't find elsewhere. The free sample I tasted was on the better end of competition quality. Better than all of the BBQ joints in Orange County (blows away the Lucille's across the parking lot).

                                                                                          I agree about the new store clusterf#$%, but I'm willing to cut them some slack.

                                                                                          1. re: EclecticEater
                                                                                            e
                                                                                            EclecticEater Sep 10, 2007 11:26 PM

                                                                                            See above, Sept. 6th. To add insult to injury, my wife bought whole wheat english muffins and froze them immediately. When I thawed them out, an split one I found mould, grey mould, in one. I guess this proved there were no preservatives in them, but it certainly turned us both off about Whole Foods; after all this was a new store, right?

                                                                                            1. re: EclecticEater
                                                                                              jfood Sep 11, 2007 07:25 AM

                                                                                              so you found mold inside an english muffin and the bus rolls over the grocer? how could the grocer ever be responsible for an interior defect of a product. You should tell the WF store so they can contact the manufacturer. You can't blame a store if there is a black spot in the middle of a potato when you cut it open, how can WF be responsible in any way for this misstep unless they were selling items past the expiration date?

                                                                                              Gotta put blame on responsible party.

                                                                                          2. poptart Sep 12, 2007 11:45 AM

                                                                                            While I am not happy that the old Bread & Circus got "eaten" by a bigger chain, Whole Foods, I have to say that the customer service there is always FAR better than I've gotten at any other grocery store. I appreciate that they tell us where produce and fish comes from, that they offer organic and no-hormones added dairy and meats, and I find the stores to be much cleaner than other chains.

                                                                                            Also have to say that I find there to me a lot of obnoxious customers who eat fruit right off the displays (rather than the sample areas), eat the food they are buying as they shop, etc. I find those things to be a turnoff.

                                                                                            In general, it is the best option for me in addition to shopping at weekly at my local Farmer's Market and I am grateful to have it as a choice among the other chains, and the staff there seems much friendlier and more helpful than at other chains.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: poptart
                                                                                              galleygirl Sep 14, 2007 04:53 AM

                                                                                              "Also have to say that I find there to me a lot of obnoxious customers who eat fruit right off the displays (rather than the sample areas), eat the food they are buying as they shop, etc."

                                                                                              See 'entitled', above...;)

                                                                                            2. j
                                                                                              JGH Sep 13, 2007 05:53 PM

                                                                                              Mascarpone has lots of water in it and will separate in hot weather.
                                                                                              I do not think it was eaten, but leaked in transit after separating.
                                                                                              I usually make my own when it is hot. I use 4ozs of chilled cream cheese,
                                                                                              1/8 cup good whipping cream and a tablespoon or so of sour cream.
                                                                                              Whip it all until it is fluffy and chill for a few hours before using. Do
                                                                                              not over beat. Do not use low fat. Do not let it get warm. If you like it
                                                                                              thick use more cream cheese and if you need to thin it use more sour
                                                                                              cream. Polenghi is a good Mascarpone from Italy. I suggest you try it
                                                                                              and buy a Hot/Cold bag for such things during hot weather. They have
                                                                                              them at WF.

                                                                                              You owned the shrimp. I’m glad they took it back though.

                                                                                              JGH

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: JGH
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                ClaireWalter Sep 13, 2007 08:33 PM

                                                                                                There are enough examples of food and beverage tampering to make complaints suspect -- and they go back a good number of years. People have committed pretty awful larceny to be able to sue a big corporation -- examples being the mouse in Coors can and the fingertip in the Wendy's salad. None of us was shopping with 'tealilly' nor were we at the party.

                                                                                                I am one who remains a Whole Foods fan. The store in Boulder is supposed to double in size once the Barnes & Noble next door moves into a nearby movie theater that is being turned into a bookstore. WF here has beautiful produce, fine meats, outstanding breads baked in house, a fine cheese selection, an olive bar, an excellent ready-made food section, sushi chefs right there who keep rolling up fresh sushi and excellent service.

                                                                                                When the takeover of Wild Oats was finalized, they announced that they would not close any of the four Wild Oats stores in Boulder but would repurpose several to meet particular needs in different areas of town.

                                                                                                1. re: ClaireWalter
                                                                                                  bards4 Sep 14, 2007 07:40 AM

                                                                                                  Where I live, WF built a brand spanking new store directly across the street from a brand spanking new Wild Oats, and then announced the corporate takeover. I'm wondering what the Wild Oats (which is still a Wild Oats at this point) will be repurposed to become -- because it's directly ACROSS THE STREET. Hmmmm.

                                                                                              2. b
                                                                                                boston411 Sep 16, 2007 04:59 AM

                                                                                                I agree with a decline in quality at WF. Last night I was ready to put some nice-looking sockeye salmon on the grill, only to find it filled with bones and a WORM. I couldn't believe it. A splurge to celebrate the coming of fall, and down the disposal it went.

                                                                                                I read an article a while ago that profiled the CEO of WF. He pretty much owned up to the fact that their prices are indefensibly higher than other stores, and that their customers shoulder this cost. With that in mind, I have no trouble at all bringing anything back to the store -- I know I'm paying higher prices for some things, and to me, payback is that they agree to take something back if I don't like it, or if the quality isn't right.

                                                                                                Another time I brought chicken home from the WF on River St. in Cambridge, and found a fly lodged within the cavity of the chicken. The head of the butchery pretty much just said, "oh well," and barely even apologized. I couldn't believe it -- he told me that he would never buy anything out of the case and would only choose from the sealed packages in the cooler. I guess I could have appreciated his candor, but it's his job to uphold the way his company does business and make sure I know he feels that the customer is right. I know flies get into stores, and I know that workers can't defend against everything, but he should have been aghast when I was paying WF prices. It should be part of the deal.

                                                                                                I'm not sure where to go, now. I want organic stuff for my kids, but I'm just not happy handing my credit card over to that store once a week. Trader Joe's is my standby, and while the farm stands are open, we're eating beautiful food -- I just wish WF lived up to its promise a little more.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: boston411
                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                  nutrition Sep 20, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                                                                  That is strange. I buy various types of fresh fish including the marinated.
                                                                                                  Have always found them to be better then anything at the Grocery Chain stores.

                                                                                                  Boston must not be a very lucky place for shoppers in general!
                                                                                                  Must go with the driving!

                                                                                                2. steve h. Sep 19, 2007 01:07 PM

                                                                                                  whole foods is a phenomenom.
                                                                                                  popped into the time warner outlet in manhattan on monday at 4 p.m. and the place was packed with kamikaze shoppers and the dreaded double-wide baby carriages. quite a scene.
                                                                                                  my take is that the food and staff were pretty good but that a handfull of shoppers may have been insensitive.
                                                                                                  grabbed a gimlet on the third floor (not whole foods) because the bar is pleasant. left a good taste in my mouth.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                    nutrition Sep 20, 2007 02:41 PM

                                                                                                    Yes, that is a busy place with a lot of good things to eat and take home.
                                                                                                    I know what you mean by the New York rush scene.
                                                                                                    It is nice to find a lot of good things to enjoy by the day or by the week.

                                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                                    sophie fox Nov 10, 2007 08:37 AM

                                                                                                    I just went into the newish Whole Foods in Portland, ME - the most ridiculous and insanely overpriced store of any kind that I have ever seen. Very ordinary products at best, at markups a good 3X a supermarket's. Absolutely dreadful, soggy, gross prepared sushi. Customers walking around in a total daze of "isn't it WONDERFUL????"
                                                                                                    Walmart for "whole foods"? Give me Hannaford's ANY day - I am completely serious. Our local store out in the hinterlands has excellent butchers who are EAGER to do special orders, a very large selection of organic foods, good produce, fine selection, and friendly staff.

                                                                                                    1. k
                                                                                                      kkak97 Nov 10, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                                                                      I've had similar experiences at Whole Foods. I used to purchase the chicken salad in the deli, and it isn't exactly cheap, until I got a batch that was old and sour. I called and complained and they offered to give me a replacement batch. A month later I got the same thing..sour, old chicken salad.

                                                                                                      I've had other experiences there with bad fish. So, I no longer shop at Whole Foods. But I'm fortunate,as I have Central Market as my store. They just cannot be beat. My husband refers to Central Market as the Nordstroms of food...customer service and products are unmatched.

                                                                                                      That being said, Whole Foods clearly had no obligation to take back your shrimp just because you made a mistake. I'm certain meat and seafood cannot be returned after purchase when nothing is wrong with it as the store would be in violation of health codes if it returned it. Just freeze the shrimp and use it for another day.

                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                        jazzwoman Jun 12, 2008 06:27 PM

                                                                                                        Yes, not JUST San Francisco. BOSTON is fed up as well. We had it good with Bread & Circus for many years, but we didn't know it until Whole Foods bought them out. Now many of the specialty items are gone in favor of Whole Foods' brands. Bummer, as they are NOT as good! Their holiday Italian bread/cake for instance is simply NOT the real thing.

                                                                                                        Today was even worse. I purchased some peeled and deveined shrimp at the Brighton store and upon opening the paper package, was greated with a lovely DEAD FLY!!!

                                                                                                        AHHHHHH how appetizing!

                                                                                                        I phoned the store to complain and the best the manager could offer was to "refund my money if I drove back with the product." He seemed unshaken by this atrocity. He said that he thought it was "safe" to eat it.

                                                                                                        Lovely.

                                                                                                        1. Chew on That Jun 13, 2008 08:48 AM

                                                                                                          I'm surprised to hear this. I've always had good experiences at my Whole Foods....in Glenview, IL.

                                                                                                          1. e
                                                                                                            EclecticEater Jun 14, 2008 10:24 PM

                                                                                                            Yep, my wife and I love the sprouted wheat English muffins, when you can find them, and the ones we got at Whole Foods were mouldy. I"ve written elsewhere about how the people didn't know where the mushrooms were that we wanted. And the prices are an affront. So I like to go to Fresh & Easy, Trader Joes, and certain local mid-Eastern markets including the one that Whole Foods in Irvine used to occupy. It is named Wholesome Foods and it features fresh bread being made right by the door, hot and crackling and folded in brown paper, a plethura of fruits and vegetables, good meats and poultry and fish, and all kinds of imported goodies that carry reasonable prices tags. The result? Whereas Whole Foods was not filled with jousting people, Wholesome Foods is alive with customers, women, children, men all finding excellent values and good food.

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