I expect that higher quality will often cost more than poor quality. Between the increased labor of production, culling items that do not meet higher levels of specification, and speeding the process from producer to market, there are costs involved that must be passed on to the consumer or end user. My choice of which level of quality to purchase depends on how much money I have, the expediency in which I must acquire the goods, the ease of availability of those goods, and how much difference I perceive between the marketed-as-higher-quality and marketed-as-lower-quality items.

Now, regardless of how I feel about my A1c, blood glucose, or whatever, I am worth quality goods, especially those goods I enjoy (such as Ciao Bella and Wine Cellar Sorbet frozen desserts, Newton's Folly cider, and Vosges chocolates). I am also keenly aware that these higher-priced, high-fat goods need to be consumed in moderation -- for my financial health as well as my physical health. For good or ill, I don't get to places that sell Wine Cellar Sorbet or Vosges chocolates very often -- so when I get the opportunity, I tend to go wild stock up overbuy. Even if I'm not completely comfortable with it from a budgetary perspective, I don't kick myself too badly if once or twice a year, I drop $50 on fine chocolates or $10 a pint of sorbet.

For me, Whole Foods is not currently a local store. When I was working midtown, it wasn't too difficult to make a trip before or after work. Similarly, when my dad was living in conditions that made it possible to visit him, I could pop in one of their New York City branches before hopping a train home. Now, though, it's a special trip -- whether planned for as part of a foray into Manhattan, or an out-of-the-way car trip -- so when I get there, there's more incentive to go hog wild overboard.

Still... I don't recall ever having spent more than $100 at Whole Foods. Until this weekend. And that was after having spent a signficant chunk of cash over at Best Buy picking up a much-needed drawing tablet. And it's not that I really needed anything there... but opportunity knocked in that this particular branch of Whole Foods was right next door to the electronics emporium.

I should protest that my purchases at WF are not exclusively desserts. They are the only place I know of that sells a particular brand of low-sodium, whole-wheat wrap breads, and the only place I know of to find Westsoy unsweetened chocolate soy milk.. In my market area, they have the broadest variety of cheeses. They sell freshly-roasted, microroast, local, and fair trade coffees. There is often a greater spread of varieties of produce, including both heirloom and experimental varieties. I believe strongly in supporting heirloom varieties. Not all of my WF spending is frivolous.

As I strolled through the aisles, I was surprised to find a couple of items I had not expected to find... and had been looking for, on and off, for a number of years. And another item that would have required a special trip to Vitamin Shoppe. And a no-salt version of one of my absolute favorite canned tomato products (Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted diced, or crushed, tomatoes). Needless to say, these all found their way into my cart. Along with some vegan "cheeses" -- a product-type I've wanted to investigate both for use with meat products and at to serve at covered-dish/potluck events to honor my vegetarian friends.

By the time I finished, not only had I beaten my previous total for purchases at Whole Foods, but I had spent more than the cost of my drawing tablet. "Whole Paycheck," indeed!

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Comment by David B. on June 23, 2009 at 8:59pm
It is a great store. I used it a lot when I strongly suspected I have food allergies to soy; I know I must still avoid soy milk, but am not sure about other products. I had two episodes last year where my lips quadrupled in size and testing with an allergist proved inconsclusive. I like the way they clearly list ingrediencts on everything including their salads and hot foods. I have visited the Jenkintown, North Wales, Marlton and Wynnewood stores and maybe one more in my comings and goings. I still get some items there.

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