I went to Whole Foods, which I mentioned earlier. I went a second time this week. Yeah, the gelato was that good. But that's not why I went. They carry such items as falafel, couscous, tahini, and other world foods that they just don't carry at the local Food 4 Less. I shopped for a long time by myself, mingling amongst jars of everything from Indian masala to the intriguingly-named "Mama Africa's Jabula Sauce." Everything was so clean, and the deli smelled heavenly with Indian, Greek, Mexican, and other smells together. The cashiers looked happy and helpful. If I were richer I would shop there exclusively.
Today I went to a new store by us called Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market. I know, you would think the last word of that title would be "bar." Or maybe that's just me. Apparently the "fresh" applies to food and "easy" applies to convenience and not the seedy nightlife we have around here. Anyway. It was like a tiny Whole Foods, with lots of fresh food and organic products in its little space. Again, the workers were super friendly and helpful and looked happy to be there. They even had samples. I had some fresh pineapple, Harrison had blueberry granola, and Cameron had a piece of cake.
So now I'm torn. I love a good value, which is why I shop at the dingy warehouse Food 4 Less. But I love the atmosphere and selection in those other stores, which is why they are so expensive. In one way I don't want to become a grocery-store snob and yet, in another way--that's totally what I want. To be surrounded by smiling people in a clean, fresh-looking store, with a wide selection of interesting food. Part of me wants to cry, "To heck with the budget!" and just make myself happy surrounded by beautiful things.
But the frugal part of me wants to slap that other part and say, "Just get yourself over to that warehouse and pick me up some waxy apples, a loaf of white bread, and a jar of grape jelly! We're feeding the whole family for $2.00 today!"