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Best Way to Get Kicked Out of Whole Foods 

Whole Foods Market prides itself on its diverse offerings and welcoming nature. There's something for everyone there, whether you're looking for organic produce or just a really good cut of beef. Children are catered to with racecar-style buggies outfitting the front of shopping carts. The eco-friendly store is designed to let in natural light -- it's better for everyone. Never have I been in a more handicapped-accessible supermarket. Best of all, you're encouraged to taste everything before you buy, so you can really interact with the fresh, all-natural food. It's an enlightening experience.

Despite its guise of embracing all sorts of people, there is a certain breed of folk who are decidedly unwelcome at Whole Foods. I'm talking about the over sampler, the type of person who will taste everything in the store and not buy a single item. Sampling is encouraged for paying customers, but overdoing the tasting is the best way to become a persona non gratis.

A cunning group of over samplers was recently escorted out of Whole Foods for serial binging, and they've graciously agreed to share their notes on the best way to get the boot. For starters, it's important to realize that getting kicked out takes time; it's something to work at. You can't expect immediate results. This is Whole Foods, after all. A certain level of tolerance is expected.

First, you've got to make sampling a habit, and not just a three-times-a-month type of habit. Those truly aspiring to be removed from the premises know that you need to be recognized by employees to even begin the kicking-out process. You have to show up, preferably with the same co-conspirators, at least twice a week.

When the goal is to get kicked out, certain areas of the store are better suited for sampling than others. For example, the cheese counter is a good place to overdo it. Whole Foods employees, though obliged to give tastes of anything you want, aren't too happy about shelling out samples of imported cheeses for half an hour, especially if they've served you before and know you don't have any intention of buying a $45 wedge of the French stuff. This is also true at the prepared foods area. If you try enough cold food to constitute an entire meal here, you can bet you've been noticed.

As always, it's important to dress for success. You should look like you could be really hungry. The over samplers would routinely go into the Arabella Station store wearing exercise clothes and backpacks, usually carrying bike helmets. This is a great tactic for getting kicked out because, besides making you stand out even more, this type of outfit alerts employees to two things: (1) You've just been exercising, have probably worked up an appetite and might intend to over sample, and (2) You might not have a way to take groceries home (unless your bike is equipped with a basket).

Most importantly, be creative. You've got to adapt to any situation if you really want to get under employees' skin. You might want to camp out near the grind-your-own nut-butter machines and see how much peanut butter tasting is physically possible. Or, go on a day with wine pouring and down a few glasses. They offer, so why not?

If you follow the above suggestions, you should be well on your way to being escorted out of the store. If after a few weeks you see no results, follow this last bit of advice from the professionals: up the sampling frequency and visit the Metairie Whole Foods store. When the group showed up in Metairie carrying bike helmets, the cheese counter attendant there recognized them and called security. I guess he'd transferred stores and held a bit of a grudge. The security guard took down their information and told them never to come back. Mission accomplished.

click to enlarge Customers are encouraged to sample foods they want to - buy, but taking advantage of such generosity will get you - escorted out the door  and blackballed from future visits. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Customers are encouraged to sample foods they want to buy, but taking advantage of such generosity will get you escorted out the door and blackballed from future visits.
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