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Feb 19, 2013 01:02 PM

Wholefoods Problems

Does anyone else find the Arabella Station Wholefoods to be a nightmare?

I have bought rotten produce there, shrimp that turned black within hours of purchase, and unusable pizza dough.

I have gone there to buy basic items such as green beans and chives to find them out of stock.

I have bought roses there that died within 48 hours without ever blooming.

I have waitied 15 minutes to buy a bagel at 10 AM because they only had one register opened despite having at least 30 employees in the store.

I have tried to complain online and there website doesn't even work so this is my only outlet.

I actually drive to Metarie to go to Wholefoods despite living down the street from the one on Magazine because shopping there is a waste of time and money.

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  1. So stop going there. Langenstein's little store at the corner of Arabella & Pitt has more locally sourced seafood, a small range of produce, and is a very pleasant, quick shopping experience. Friendliest employees around & easy parking just a few steps from the front door.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      This is tremendous advice. If you dont like anything at a grocery store, don't go there. There are other stores.

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        But does Langenstein's have the organic and bulk selection that Whole Foods does? That's what gets me. Otherwise it would be easiest to just shop at the Rouse's in the CBD.

        1. re: nolala

          they have some -- in Metarie....but not near as much as Whole Foods. Very good vegetables, fish, steaks, bakery, deli, wine. Lots of prepared meals - geez, you can even get homemade gravy and gumbo and all kinds of good prepared meals and soups. I lived in Nola for three years, and I really never found one store that met all my needs. Dorignac's on Veterens isn't too bad either. I can work around not using WFs because the CEO is such an asshole to the workers.

          1. re: Ambiance

            I could work around it if I found organic produce and bulk comparable to Whole Foods. Unless I'm missing somewhere, the produce just isn't there elsewhere and to places like Fresh Market and CBD Rouse's, bulk means basically only candy. The Healing Center co-op is as or more expensive than Whole Foods, so there's that.

            1. re: nolala

              Have you been to Hollygrove Market ?

              It's on Olive near Earhart and So Carolltton?

              They actually were supposed to open a new grocery there at that intersection in a big old building. Wonder if that ever got off the ground?

              1. re: Ambiance

                Does Hollygrove use raised bed gardening? What with all the lead in our soil, I don't really trust anything grown here otherwise.

                1. re: nolala

                  Hollygrove does not sell lead-laden produce. And they have fresh local meats, chicken, etc. They are worth supporting.

                  1. re: travelbuff

                    i dont think it's something you could determine by taste -- only by technique. do you have any info on how they garden?

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Kibbles, I learned something new. They (Hollygrove) don't actually garden. They just buy their products from the farmer's market vendors, so they are basically no more than an unnecessary middleman (assuming you can make it to the farmer's market).

                      1. re: nolala

                        "unnecessary" is debatable. middlemen businesses like this were driving the economic engine in new orleans during the 1890s, at the height of agriculture exchanges. sadly that level of activity has currently left us...but the service still offers value. in particular many of my neighbors are quite pleased w/ the "Hollygrove Veggie Basket", a weekly-delivery service of various agro goods.

                        1. re: kibbles

                          The issue is that they present themselves, or are at least perceived by most, as the producer, when in fact they are not.

              2. re: nolala

                from their facebook page

                Super Sale Thursday! Let's keep this going. Tons of great items on sale including:

                Natural Parsley 50 cents/bunch (50% off
                )Brussel Sprouts $2.50/lb (30% off)
                Turnips $1.00/bunch (50% off)
                Natural Kale $1.50/bunch (50% off)
                Natural baby Collard $1.50/bunch (50% off)
                Mustards $1.00/bunch (50% off)
                Strawberries $1.00/pt (60% off)
                All Grapefruit Varieties $1.25/lb Free Range Yard Eggs $4.50/dozen ($1 off)

                Also, 20% off all frozen chickens and frozen Two Run Farmproducts. Stop out from 12pm-7pm to take advantage!

                1. re: nolala

                  Uptown and Mid City Rouses both have extensive bulk sections comparable to Whole Foods, and decent organic produce in my opinion. CBD Rouses is far smaller and more "boutique" like.

                  1. re: nolala

                    actually the New Orleans Coop isn't as expensive as Whole Foods. we used to shop WF almost exclusively, now were the coop almost exclusively. many items are cheaper. I don't doubt the inverse is true, but one can't expect a small member owned store to have the same purchasing power as a publicly traded corporation.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      The items I compared were at least the same or more expensive at the coop. I don't expect a coop to have the same purchasing power, but I'm (and as evidenced by their lack of customers, many others also) not going to pay more than Whole Foods.

                      1. re: nolala

                        I've been in the coop a couple of times and there were no customers. Wonder what will happen when the WF opens on Broad. We need a real co-op that's not trying to be an upscale health food store.

                        1. re: travelbuff

                          what in your mind makes a "real" co-op? as a member-owned cooperative, the co-op is whatever we make it. are you a member? do you attend meetings and try to bring up things that concern you?

                          im a member, a very old one -- it took many years to get this one off the ground. and i like health foods. i like that my co-op responds by offering a wide variety of products -- from bulk goods, to health foods, to Wonder Bread. i have personally compared soup prices and see some of the same items (Pacific Natural Foods) cheaper than WF.

                          what i also like about my co-op is the focus we have on supporting very-local farmers and produce. i enjoy buying yard eggs from the latino farmers co-op, and i enjoy buying items from leafy greens to blueberries from other local farmers. those things are important to me for many reasons and im thrilled that i have the opportunity to support them via my co-op.

                          ...there are many reasons to own and shop at a member-owned store. price is one of them, convienence another, and philosophical alignment another. i will not be shopping at WF any longer now that my needs are meet much closer to home.

                          i come from cities with half-a-dozen neighborhood co-ops or more -- not just-one in the entire state (as we are)...thus i dont feel theyre a "one size fits all" sort of business. and thats fine.

                        2. re: nolala

                          "The items I compared were at least the same or more expensive"

                          and the items i compared were less. so there we go.

                          as for purchasing power -- if you expect a member-owned store of 3,000 to broker the same deals as a publically-traded corproation, youll eternally be disappointed. what i enjoy about the co-op is the hands-on nature of member ownership. we decide what we want to focus on, what we want to purchase. we are not loyal to any corporate masters and can try new things at will.

                          not sure what your "lack of customers" statement is aiming for -- are you involved w/ membership? been to any board meetings lately? care to expand...? or are you just guessing based on singular antedotes?

                          its funny how those that do not create, seem to delight in destroying that which they dont understand.

                          1. re: kibbles

                            Stating "lack of customers" is an obvious one. Everyone knows that the coop is hurting greatly, and things cannot maintain as is. There is just not enough business coming in. It's apparent. This disappoints me greatly as I have been hoping for a coop for years, but I'm also not going to be in denial about it. I'm also not going to be in denial about the coop's prices. Sorry, but the word's out on their selection and prices, and it shows. That's reality.

                            1. re: nolala

                              i just met w/ a board member this week and their report is quite different than yours -- they cite we are on track w/ our sales projections. im going on a limb here and guessing that their data is better than your antidotal observation.

                              as for prices, again, im frequently in Dorignac's and I see their soup prices are more expensive than the co-op's. so i can with the same authority as you say the co-op is cheaper than Dorignac's. the truth however is probably more like some things are cheaper than others and some things more. myself, i can think of no other place id rather shop than my local co-op. the prices are acceptable, the location cant be beaten, and the local values in-line with my own.

                              1. re: kibbles

                                I'm sorry but they simply cannot be on track with their sales projections. How can they when there are never many people in there shopping? You can call it anecdotal (assuming that's the term you meant to say), but I haven't spoken to anyone in the neighborhood that hasn't commented or griped how the coop is so expensive. I've lived in cities with wonderful coops and, believe me, this one is weak. I really hope it improves. It's right down the street, but so far, it's hard to get much other than a stray item.

                                1. re: nolala

                                  sorry, but the oversight board has access to the sales data. you dont. you cant talk yourself around that simple fact.

                                  im not saying it's a perfect co-op, because ive also lived in cities with multiple and much nicer co-ops. but it's not that expensive. cite me some data to support your claims -- ive already mentioned the Pacific Natural Foods soups are cheaper at the co-op than Dorignac's by .20 or .30 cents.

                                  1. re: kibbles

                                    "you cant talk yourself around that simple fact."

                                    Ha! Just you wait...

                                    I, for one, like the co-op. It's not perfect, as you say, but it's surprisingly useful. I've dealt with co-ops that refused to stock basics (think Crystal hot sauce) because it wasn't "organic" enough ... super and all that there's some frou-frou brand but it's simply not the same thing sometimes. Hell, they even had a small cutting board one day in an emergency...

                                    Edit: I had nothing constructive to add earlier regarding the reply that was along the lines of "if you don't like it, why do you shop there?" but I think this particular point is well taken. It's very easy to complain ... and also very easy to vote with one's dollars. Bitching about WF in a CH thread seems, well, silly at best.

              3. Their CEO John Mackey is a total piece of crap, but despite that, Whole Foods is still better than the competition...Fresh Market, Rouse's, etc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nolala

                  Yes...CEO against healthcare for all. I second Langensteins especially in Metarie

                2. Dorginac's is really good and has lots of local stuff. HAve never gotten any bad produce from there and their bakery is friggin great. Cheese dept. is not any where near as good.

                  But if you gotta have Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck) there is a real nice one on Veterans in Metarie.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ilikeNOLA

                    i havent tried the bakery at Dorgniac's, but one thing WF does much better than standard grocers is "clean" baked goods -- items made without all the hydrogenated oils that a place like Rouse's puts in nearly all their stuff. it's gross, and i wont eat it.

                    my coworkers often bring baked goods from rouses or walmart to work, thinking that theyve done something special...but if youve ever grown up w/ real baked goods, then you see what a disservice these fake-bake goods are. not worth the calories they come in on.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Agreed, we get our torta specially made from Norma’s Bakery with four ingredients in the recipe. Torta at Sam’s Club is filled with about 40 different kinds of chemicals. The problem I have with WF is the food never tastes good. Get an olive bread from La Boulangerie and one from WF and there’s no comparison.

                  2. I know it isn't supermarket "chic" (and they probably would recoil at being called a supermarket), but really, WF: would it kill ya to implement a "take a number" system at the takeout area? People sidle up left, right, and before you know it, the employees don't know whose turn it is. Has led to grousing in the ranks--and I'm the lead rouser of the rabble.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: sanglier

                      What in the world are you talking about? I've never had a problem with people not lining up. Maybe you should go at a less busy time.

                      1. re: nolala

                        Or, since it gets busy, they can have a system in place better than depending on their awareness/memory of who was there first. And if you tell me that some people, even at WF, don't lie about whether it was their turn...

                        1. re: sanglier

                          You've got to be kidding. What about simple communication, you know one human interacting directly with another? Instead of that you want Whole Foods to operate like a DMV?

                          1. re: nolala

                            delis all over the country have number systems. I've never found it offensive.

                            1. re: nolala

                              Maybe you can tell me what is so special about WF that I'm missing. Are they "above" such a system? Tell ya what, go to Dennis's Seafood or any other such market during Lent. Take away the "take a number" system from there, and watch the chaos that ensues. Without fail at Dennis's, someone doesn't take a number but was ahead of, say, 3 other people. The arguments that ensue are real. "Simple communication" you say. That's a good one, tell me another.

                              1. re: sanglier

                                Exactly, some people could care less about the people who were in line before them and will have no problem saying they were there. I like the computer system that some places have now, you type in want you want, go about your shopping and swing back by to pick it up.

                                1. re: roro1831

                                  Wow--this is genius. Who has such a system? Seems like it would increase sales at a busy deli counter.

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    I've seen it and used it at a Wegmans in Towson, Maryland. I thought it was awesome, partly for the novelty value and partly because the store was huge and overwhelmingly crowded. I don't see it being super useful at a Rouse's because they're generally just not crowded enough to warrant it, but it might be good at Whole Foods.

                                    Edit: the Wegmans is in Hunt Valley, not Towson.

                              2. re: nolala

                                there are some really snotty, rude customers at WF. In fact, that's what I hate the most about that store. After the prices.

                              3. re: sanglier

                                Sorry you were treated so rudely here ! Yes - I agree - they all should have the number system ! Peace !

                          2. People in our area call Whole Foods by another name...Whole Paycheck. That, however, does not deter my wife from shopping there. Also, she never complains about the quality of the products. I just never look at the prices on the labels of what she buys to prevent my having a heart attack.

                            I shop at BJs or Bottom Dollar for items that I use for concoctions that I cook, but that my wife would not eat even if I bought them at WFM. For example, I bought half a pork loin at $1.48/pound at Bottom Dollar when it was on sale. It became the meat for a batch of chili, and I am still alive.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChiliDude

                              we used to buy produce from WF all the time. but we were disappointed that even there we got substandard produce -- things rotting before they ever ripened, etc...was no different than other local grocers.

                              We lived in CA for a time, produce there was much better, so we chalk it up to the transit times.