The last few months of freedom have been amazing and I’m grateful for every minute. That said, after being on the road so long I was kind of ready to get back to a more grounded life. I got settled in the condo, unpacked, decorated and checked out all the local farmer’s markets. But this is still the real world and I’ve got to get back to work like everybody else. Honestly, I’m ready and I can’t wait. There are so many possibilities. There is one job I’ve had my eye on for a long time. One that I knew would be the first step in becoming whole again. Today, I started a job at Whole Foods.
Anyone who knows me will probably not be surprised that this is what I chose. I LOVE food, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE grocery shopping. So I applied for a job as an online shopper. I was afraid they wouldn’t take me seriously because my resume doesn’t exactly line me up for this, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Fix Your Face
I went straight to the store after I submitted my application. I walked up to customer service and asked to speak to the person who oversees the in-store shoppers.
The customer service girl played nice and said she’d call him. I stood to the side. She called.
Customer service girl – “He’s at lunch.”
Me – “No problem. I’ve got some shopping to do. I’ll just hang out ’til he gets done.”
Customer service girl – (fix your face). It’s like I was speaking Greek. Apparently prospective applicants don’t come in-person very often.
If You’re Not Nervous, You Don’t Want It
I did a little shopping. And then I went to check out. Stopped by the customer service desk again.
She remembered me. She was non-committal on getting the manager to come out and meet me.
No problem. If I don’t get him today, I’ll be back tomorrow. LOL. She has no idea who she’s dealing with.
And then, he came out.
I had this crazy moment of nerves where I forgot my name and then realized I was also wearing no makeup and had my hair in pigtails (still hanging on to my road trip look).
If you’re not nervous, you don’t really want it.
We talked. He was super nice. Turns out they have plenty of openings. Turns out there are a lot of people that don’t like to do their own grocery shopping.
“Our online shopper team is about 70 people. We have flexible shifts anytime from 4am to 1030pm.”
You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me.
Grocery shopping is one of my favorite sports. Especially at Whole Foods. There are always new things to check out, surprises in the pre-prepared food bar. The pandemic stole the beauty of cheese samples, but that’s ok. Just make friends with the cheese monger. Those guy have beards and they know their curd.
The idea of not wanting to go pick out your own food is foreign to me.
“So you’re saying you’ll pay me to do something I love?”
They hired me.
What I did NOT know until I did my onboarding is that employees get 20% off groceries.
I nearly cried. Then I had a minute where I was totally pissed off that I didn’t know that about ten years ago because I’d have gotten a part time job at Whole Foods then. And saved a BOATLOAD of money since.
All Good Things Are From The 80’s
Whole Foods started in Austin, Texas in 1980. Long before Elon decided Austin was cool. There were 4 humans that decided natural foods were ready for the supermarket format.
Couple of high-school drop outs partnered with another couple to get it started. Click the image above for the story – it’s awesome. They got booted out of their apartment and had to use a dishwasher to shower.
Less than a year after the store opened, the worst flood in over 70 years hits Austin.
My onboarding videos spent a good amount of time on this event. For those of you who went through Katrina and Ida with me, I think it will resonate. They lost everything and expected to go bankrupt.
But the community came out. The employees came out. The vendors came out. And they all worked for free to pitch in, clean up and get the place back open.
Geauxing to NOLA
I totally would have thought that Whole Foods got going in states like California where people were more willing to pay a premium for organic or natural foods.
Did you know that after Austin, Whole Foods expanded to Dallas and Houston but that the first store outside of Texas was New Orleans? LOL. Who-Dats, who’d have thunk it!
Whole & Proud
I learned a lot on my first day. I had to get a California Food Handler’s Card which indicates that you’ve been through the state’s food safety training. It was a 2 hour online course and it was very informative. I passed the test with 97% (I missed 1 question but only because it was worded weird and I didn’t understand what they were asking).
Did you know that Whole Foods doesn’t allow food with over 275 different non-essential or low-quality ingredients in their stores?
In other words, if you care about what ingredients go into your food, you don’t have to bother reading labels. Whole Foods just screens those products out. Just shop.
And they support local farm. And local product lines.
Can’t Kelp It
While I was shopping to kill time, I came across this precious young girl that was setting up a product demo in the refrigerated foods section.
Y’all, I love sales. She looked TERRIFIED. I had to help her out. I made eye contact.
“Do you want to try some Maine kelp salad?”
She was PURPLE.
LOL. It’s her lucky day.
What are the chances that any other customer in the store at that moment understands what it’s like to be new at sales, loves Maine AND is willing to eat kelp?
She had a nice little display showing Maine fisherman harvesting kelp. She gave me a sample and it literally tasted like someone had picked it out of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a flood of nostalgia for me.
Of course I bought some.
It’s interesting. If you love fermented stuff like kimchi or kombucha, you need to give this a try. I’ve got to imagine if they stock in in Del Mar, California that it’s also available in Whole Food’s stores closer to New England. Plop some tuna poke on top. Not sure it’s gonna go global, but it’s worth a try.
In fact, if you try it, I’ve got a $50 Amazon gift card for the person who sends me the best way to use this product. I totally want this product to succeed, but it needs a little imagination. Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Search Isn’t Over
I absolutely love this job. I can’t wait to go to work.
But sadly, it isn’t going to pay the bills here in California. It will barely pay my car payment actually.
I’m still on the search for something full time. I’m applying for all kinds of crazy things. I love interviewing almost as much as I love grocery shopping, so those stories are coming soon!