Suggestion Box: Whole Foods Tribeca

Let’s try something new! (That reminds me of when, in school, the teacher would say, “Today, we’re going to do a project”—which was never good.) I love Whole Foods Tribeca—or at least I love that Whole Foods is in Tribeca—but my love is not unconditional, and I have certain questions/suggestions for the store. If I were to send them over, the store may or may not respond. But if we gather our ideas together, they’ll presumably carry more weight. My questions/suggestions are:

1. Why do the fruits and vegetables move around so often? Seasonal produce I understand, but I consistently have to ask where the limes have run off to.

2. Is Philadelphia cream cheese so unhealthy—or so much unhealthier than the in-house 365 brand—that the store really can’t carry it? I’m not brand-loyal about much, but I am about cream cheese.

3. What’s up with the “no photos” policy? I took this cellphone photo the other day—of a sign by the Warren Street door, because I thought readers might be interested—and the security guard, doing his job, yelled “No photos!” at me. I can think of many non-journalism-related reasons why I’d want to take photos in the store (and I have): to show my partner something, to remember a product for future use, and so on. Is someone worried that trade secrets will get stolen? Would it be OK if I brought a sketchbook?

What are your suggestions? Try to be constructive! If we can agree on certain ones, all the better. When we’re done I’ll email them to the manager.



  1. I can’t find good quality halva anywhere in tribeca, so it would be great if Wholefoods could carry it. And could they stop running out of matza? It’s not a passover only food, as attested by the fact that they stock it, but keep runningout! (so clearly I’m on a better Jewish food bent here)

  2. Post the nutritional facts for the salad bar items. It’s amazing that people are reading labels seemingly at all times in the store, but there are no labels on the food actually prepared by WF. My sense is that people would be quite surprised by how unhealthy many of the items at the salad bar actually are.

  3. I would love if they added a checkout at the Greenwich Street entrance. I can’t tell you how many times I have spottted something else I needed while on my way out that door but did not have the time or energy to head back to the other side of store to purchase it.

  4. Start carrying more local produce. We live in a region perfect for apples, cherries, pears, potatoes, etc. Why is everything from California or Chile? Stop selling inferior produce from distant places!

  5. who cares? let’s encourage a Trader Joe’s and it’s wonderful wine store.

  6. 1) More cashiers. The waits can be painful.
    2) Clean the shopping carts/baskets.
    3) As noted above, nutritional information for the salad bar.
    4) Too often, I buy berries only to discover they are damaged or have mold. Check them more often.
    5) More local, organic food.

  7. The coffee station upstairs needs to be moved downstairs by the front entrance. I am not going to walk a city block and then up stairs to get a cup of joe. Also, the Whole Foods here can’t compare to London. Why is there so little rotation in the hot foods? In London I also loved the home made honey station.

  8. I like the idea of a Trader Joe’s opening nearby! What can we do to encourage them?

  9. I would love to see a frozen yogurt option at Whole Foods

  10. YES YES check out on Greenwich Street. I love to get the fruit or veggies and DO NOT WANT TO WALK ALL THE WAY to the check out place nearly to New Jersey. Maybe for ten items or less. But I would go more. It feels as if you have to get into armor to shop and walk through all culinary wonderland when what I want is produce.

  11. 1. An even larger, more diverse, and more nationally-sourced selection of beer. I would cut back on the large, corked, European beers in the closed refrigerator and replace some of them with more regional beers in 6-pack and case sizes. The current selection seems perfunctory and obvious to me; even very local beer examples seem thin to me. The US excels in micro-beers right now, especially in the Midwest (Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota) and it would be nice to have access to more of them.

    2. More variety of Roquefort cheese. Sounds specific, but I am mildly annoyed that I can’t buy Societe or what I really want, which is Papillon. There must be some great NY Roquefort upstate.

  12. I would love a check out at the Greenwich Street side also. It does make me hate the store when I went through the massive store, and realize I forgot a vege or a fruit.

    I would LOOOOVE a Trader Joe’s in the neighborhood! Then we might be able to give up our car.

  13. You can request a location from Traders Joe’s at the link below.

  14. Just can’t say it enough: CHECKOUT ON GREENWICH!!! It could even be, like, a produce ‘n’ cheese ‘n’ beer ONLY checkout (i.e., foods that are local to Greenwich Street!), it can be casual, it can be a guy with a little electronic device like at the Apple store, just don’t make me go to another time zone to buy a pear!

    Trader Joe’s are opening all over these days, by the by, so that particular wish may come true.

  15. A check out on Greenwich would be nice, but I would really like a permanent express check out at the warren entrance.

    I agree with the fruit moving. What’s the point? And in terms of brands, why can’t I get a big bag of domino sugar. Sugar is sugar.

    Does anybody by cosmetics and such from Whole Foods? Seems like that section could be better used.

  16. It’s hard to complain, especially with the later closing time of 11:00. But I second some of the above suggestions, especially nutritional information on prepared foods, clean shopping carts, and better inventory management (remove expired/spoiled items). I do have one complaint of my own — better tortilla chips. Trader Joe’s would solve that problem.

  17. Trader Joe’s has better frozen naan as well

  18. Checkout counters for people with feet, not crows that fly…not all of us can walk a great deal;

    Trader joe’s would be great, a larger selection of dog food, rather than the existing slender selection.

    why do I feel I’m in an OTB when I get on line and have to watch color-coded signs before I move an inch toward checkout.

    Not everyone enjoys buying food costing a King’s Ransom. Organic or not, surely they could lower some of their prices. If the store were smaller, their
    prices wouldn’t be so large.

  19. Just shut the place down. That or reduce the selection and shove all the shelves closer together so it resembles a corner market/deli. To expect people to have the stamina to walk around such a large store is just absurd and so insensitive. Guess they expect people to walk all the way home too! Here’s hoping they open a Trader Joe’s so we can bitch about them.

  20. Can they please hire more knowledgeable and friendly help at the fish section? The butchers I’ve dealt with are very friendly and helpful but those guys working at the fish section are just awful. I admit, I got spoiled by Citarella fish market but really, these guys don’t even know how to clean fish.

    And when you ask them to take the skin off , they practically cut off half of what I was buying. I understand the common practice is to weigh the fish, then take the skin off but I feel really cheated when they cut off so much of what I’m paying for.

    Also the service at the deli could improve. Most of the time I stand in front of the glass case waiting for someone to notice me.

    There are some amazingly helpful workers at WF but there are also just as many if not more members of the staff who can use a refresher course in Service 101.

  21. Totally agree about the fish guys; they avoid my eye or continue some minor task with great involvement and then fulfill the order in a pretty passive agressive way. Butchers are much, much better.
    Alright I’ll say this: frankly the whole WF ethos or brand voice or “personality” turns me off in a serious way. My advice would be to rethink the entire address to the customer, from the pseudo-local fonts they use to the feel-good, innocuous and vaguely-retro (or so they think) 80s music (rights are cheaper, and that’s the only reason they use it, I suspect, a profit motive hiding behind a pseudo-retro alibi) to the vocabulary and phrasing. “So much food, so little dime,” to take only one current example, irritates me every time I unpack my grocery bag. It is not only not clever: it is tone-deaf, connatively dissonant, obviously straining for an informal effect but failing by a mile to achieve it. “Dime” is a slang register that does not reflect in any possible way the people who shop there, of any kind (and a more ethnically and class-diverse group of people shop there in a regular way than you might think) – it’s disingenuous, and in the most obvious and annoying way, to impute a sensibility about cost to the customer while charging so much money for many products and, in the process, revealing the profit-motive so baldly, despite themselves. There is a fakeness, and beneath it a calculatingness, to the whole brand persona that is out-dated for the times (10 years ago, maybe) and off-putting to the customer.

  22. If Wholefoods is reading this – the fish department absolutely needs attention, and customer service training! The people there studiously ignore customers regularly, talk to each other, measure fish temperature, anything other than serve the bewildered customers (I’m meant to stand where? how am I meant to know that, why don’t you have a number system, if you can’t handle lines…)
    Though the customer service counter is actually very well run and people handle complaints there very sweetly.
    I agree that the ‘so little dime’ phrase is jarring, because it is, in fact, so much dime, but it appears we are willing to pay for quality – but then say that, don’t say you’re cheap when you so clearly aren’t!

  23. I’ve been meaning to write them a letter about their garlic for some time. The heads look fine in their paper and feel firm, but after peeling them I find that nearly every clove is covered with brown spots. My guess is that it’s getting wet somehow – in the store or before it arrives – and is spoiling before its time. This has been my experience with their garlic for months now. The onions aren’t much better, either.

  24. There are 28 express checkout registers. At any given time, maybe 5 of them are staffed, even at busy times like weekends. This is a total joke and an insult to customers.

  25. The fruit could be stacked better. When it’s piled so high, it’s inevitable that almost every piece will become bruised. Plus, trying to take that perfect apple from the middle of the tightly packed row too often starts an avalanche. Yes, yes, yes on a produce-only register at the Greenwich Street door. And please keep the supply of carts steady. If it is hard to navigate back through the crowded store with 30 carts lashed together, staff could try making several trips– or go around on the sidewalk in good weather. The lack of a straight path for cart return is a real store design flaw.

  26. Today there was a deejay in the store and the music was annoyingly loud. If I want to hear music, I’ll go someplace where music is performed. I don’t want to be subjected to someone else’s taste when I’m shopping for groceries. This is a very bad idea.

    Three more complaints:

    1) store no longer carries Scarpetta pasta sauces and clerks I asked couldn’t explain why
    2) two clerks didn’t know where the Vidalia onions were today (both said they didn’t have any, and one didn’t even know what they are); a few minutes later I found them in an area where fruit is sold
    3) aisles are often blocked with half-unloaded product dollies (and the stocker is nowhere in the area)

    In general, I think the store is much more poorly managed now than it was when it first opened. I am now more inclined to go elsewhere from time to time.