Friday, May 8, 2009

Just can't spend enough on upscale eats

There is nothing like a specialty market opening for shopping amusement.

I just returned from a suburban Detroit market that is now in its second day of operation. It's a knock-off of Whole Foods but takes "Whole Paycheck" to a whole new level. They're into green too but not just in terms of organic offerings. Rational pricing is out the window. Does America really need $15 pound cakes?

Well, I guess we do. Carts were chuck full of flax seed oil, organic tortilla chips, artisan cheese, feta spinach sausage, designer olive oils...and pound cakes. Similar products are available elsewhere at more modest prices.

But opening week shoppers can't resist the thrill-of-the-kill in a new retail environment. I admit I can't resist the aroma of freshly-baked pizza, the sweetness of four-berry pies and the zing of natural baking-powder toothpastes. And I love the convenience of not having to roam all over to find a jar of herbs de Provence. I have made more mistakes over the years underestimating the lust of shoppers for upscale everything at just about any price.

The big draw, of course, is product sampling. Our friends at Costco, of course, have raised this bit of tasteful marketing to a high art. An afternoon of shopping there quickly turns into a luncheon buffet. Savvy shoppers now have an expectation of a potpourri of guacamole, cheese bits, pretzels and mustard, and popcorn bits at every turn.

It's all fine...except when little Billy dumps his entire hand into the hommous to retrieve an errant pita triangle or Uncle Stu sneezes into the chocolate bits.

Give us your tired, your hungry...and your Benjamins.

1 comment:

  1. Whole Paycheck indeed. I'm fine with the humane treatment of animals as long as that treatment doesn't adversely affect my pocketbook.