Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fighting flash mobs at Whole Foods and Costco

This morning, I saw a rare sight at Whole Foods Market in Paramus: an empty lot that invited me to park just about anywhere. On Monday afternoon, the lot and the store were overrun by a mob of holiday food shoppers.


This morning, my food-shopping list was short, and I imitated the early bird by getting to Whole Foods Market in Paramus before 8.

Of course, I wasn't looking for worms, just a parking spot within sight of the entrance and uncrowded aisles where I wouldn't have to bang carts with other shoppers.

I had had enough of that on Monday, when the lot at the Costco Wholesale in Hackensack was nearly full just after 10 in the morning, thanks to an unannounced 9 a.m. store opening.

I had slipped into the lot through a mid-block exit by making an illegal U-turn over double-yellow lines -- just to avoid the backup of vehicles at the main entrance as lazy shoppers were trying to find parking spaces closest to the door. 

Poor lot design

The Costco lot in Hackensack is poorly designed, with the main entrance closest to the doors, in contrast to the Wayne Costco, where the parking-lot entrance is furthest from the doors.

Inside the wholesale store, many aisles were gridlocked with carts or had shoppers banging carts into each other, but checking out didn't take long at all.

Later Monday, I drove a couple of miles to Whole Foods, only to find a lot so packed and so many other shoppers searching for spaces, I turned around and went home.

The Web site at Whole Foods, which calls itself America's healthiest grocery store, announced the Paramus store would open at 7 this morning, an hour earlier than usual.

You'll find plenty of corn in slogans at Whole Foods Market.

My shopping list

This morning at Whole Foods, I was looking for naturally raised goat meat on the bone and pork chops for the meat eaters in my family.

Thick, center-cut pork chops with the bone were $6.99 a pound, but I have seen them on sale for $4.99.

I also picked up frozen turkey necks and backs for soup for only 49 cents a pound and frozen oxtail for $7.99 a pound.

The butcher said he didn't have goat meat, but that I could find it at the Giant Farmers Market in Hackensack, where I never shop, preferring the produce and fish at H Mart and other big Korean supermarkets.

The produce section at Whole Foods Market in Paramus just before 8 this morning.

Fish fillets from Peru at the Whole Foods fish counter, which gets seafood deliveries six days a week.

Organic herbs.

It's cheap, but ...

At the Giant Farmers Market on Main Street in Hackensack, I bought 3.30 pounds of previously frozen goat meat on the bone for $2.79 a pound at what appeared to be a butcher concession inside the store.

I paid at a special register for the butcher counter, where there was an $8 credit-card minimum, and the cashier sniffled and picked his nose. 

My mother-in-law is planning to prepare curry goat, jerk pork, ox tail and other dishes for Christmas.

She also asked me to pick up a head of iceberg lettuce, which was 99 cents at Giant Farmers Market.

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