Whole Foods 365: Proof That Millennials Are As Sensitive To Consumer Manipulation As Anyone

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As a middle class White Millennial ™ I’m drawn to Millennial Talk. Like many of my generation, I tend to pride myself whenever the word – overused to define young people – is used, especially in big cultural conversations, and especially in suspicious contexts.

Which should explain my interest in the very first Whole Foods 365 in my neighborhood, Silver Lake – a grocery store, I was told, and said, and said, for millennials. Not Generation X, nor the Baby Boomers. This pretty demo of twenty years. Because of course our food needs are as unique as we are, and it is quite absurd that until now we have been forced to stock our refrigerators in stores designed for the elderly.

To recap for those who have somehow missed the hype, 365 – which ultimately replaced Ralph’s closed on Glendale Boulevard last week – is the national grocery chain’s attempt to achieve a younger, less financially healthy generation by selling them foods that are slightly cheaper than what they might find at the original Whole Foods. With 365, Whole Foods is hoping to capitalize on the middle class struggling with student loans (you know, people who can throw organic produce but don’t chuckle for a $ 6 asparagus water) while keeping the populace out. away from its aisles of the highest quality.

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But 365 isn’t just about attracting millennials through our wallets – it’s also about capturing our hearts, revolutionizing the food shopping experience … one way or another? Either way, this flashy gadget is definitely not here to take advantage of an already gentrified and upwardly mobile yuppie community and help jack up rental prices for low income immigrant families who are here for decades!

I had to investigate. So last weekend, I put my back on my back and waded through the quicksand of the Whole Foods 365 brand.

This middle-class urban customer walked the polished aisles to the mellow sounds of Smiths, Becks, and other irritating music.

This middle-class urban customer walked the polished aisles to the mellow sounds of Smiths, Becks, and other irritating music. The $ 2.50 (!) Boxes of blueberries at the entrance were a cheap shot, obviously placed in my way to melt my frosty, cynical exterior. Maybe it was the blueberries that bewitched me by paying $ 4 for a bad iced coffee at the cafe inside to sip carefully while I wandered – seemingly aimlessly, but more likely along a path lit by mountains of meticulous socio-psychological research, to make sure I was living up to my buying potential.

The store was brighter than the Vons on Alvarado or the aforementioned almost windowless Trader Joe’s on Hyperion, which is admittedly nice from a sanity perspective. Its prices, however, were hardly breathtaking in comparison.

The parking lot was as chaotic as expected on the opening weekend of a much anticipated new business. That is to say even worse than the traffic jam of the famous Trader Joe’s around the corner. And the interior decor was what you’d expect from the test-tube baby of a Costco and an Apple Store: Sleek. Spacious. Filled with veggies and iPads (more on that later).

As I browsed through the fancy cheese fridge (only one type of Brie ?! Congratulations, Whole Foods, you’re really getting slammed now), I remembered a shopper interviewed in a previous report who had Dared to smear Trader Joe’s by claiming its products were less than 365. There is simply no way to prove it in California, where even our discounted products outperform most of the country’s products in terms of quality. Plus, it’s heresy – how dare you, when Trader Joe’s has been supporting us for decades! With hardly a millennial focused Twitter campaign!

Having said that, I must also report reluctantly: the UPC sticker-printing iPads in the products section – intended to speed up the checkout process by allowing shoppers to weigh and price their old seaweed – were really effective, and, at my disgust, fully satisfactory. I (resentfully) enjoyed picking up perfectly ripe peaches and tomatoes and knowing exactly how much I would pay for each. And there was something exhilarating about practicality about the rows of single-serve store brand items like fruit salad and kombucha neatly laid out along the checkout line.

If the goal of Whole Foods was to remind middle-income young people that they are, indeed, just as easily quantifiable and manipulated as everyone else, then yuck, okay I admit it: I’m a millennial cliché. hypocrite, and 365 that’s a little … nice.

Devon Maloney is a cultural journalist and native of Angeleno.

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