Seen & Heard: Long Lines at Whole Foods

••• “Crazy lines at Whole Foods lately, stretching down the aisles, which has never happened before in all the years I have shopped here,” reports P. “Can we blame Jeff Bezos? Would be swell if you could look into it….” I’m all for blaming Amazon for anything and everything, but I don’t even know how I’d go about looking into it. We need a Deep Throat from the store to tell us whether Amazon has instituted changes, beyond prominently displaying its Echo devices. Email me at or text 917-209-6473; anonymity guaranteed. (As for the so-called lower prices, I audibly swore gasped today when I saw the $4.49-per-pound price for Honeycrisp apples.)

••• If anyone knows Felipe R. Garcia, staff sergeant at the U.S. Army recruiting office on Chambers, perhaps you could pass this message along to him: When you park on Chambers, in the zone reserved for truck loading, you selfishly claim for yourself something that’s designed to be for the benefit of many local businesses. If parking is a perk of your job, then your employer should pay for it, whether it’s at a garage or metered spaces—if you can find one not being abused by other people with similarly compromised values.

••• From a proud parent: “Local kids Max and Alex Koster will be competing on ‘Chopped Junior’ on the Food Network at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, October 3. They’re competing to raise awareness (and hopefully money) for Action Against Hunger, an international hunger relief charity.”

••• While walking up to King for dinner the other night—enjoyed it more this time—we noticed that BeerZaar (a play on bazaar and/or bizarre? Or beer czar?) has opened on Sixth Ave., just below King Street. (“Our thirst and enthusiasm for craft beer build this project since the early boom of New York breweries, cideries and wineries.”)

••• In other Soho news, Brooklyn Diamond is opening a café at 349 W. Broadway, between Broome and Grand. I love coffee, but are we in bubble territory?

••• Shooting today in the Sixth Ave. part of Tribeca: “Like Father.” From IMDB: “The script centers on a workaholic woman who is left at the altar by her groom-to-be. She takes her honeymoon trip anyway except it’s with the one person she never expected—her workaholic father who left her mother when she was 5 because he believed his family was holding back his career.” Totally plausible.

••• Three times in the past two weeks, I’ve watched as millennial cashiers had trouble with counting change—the math, and also the feel of the coins. (It’s painful to observe.) I predict this will only get worse.



  1. Stood in line last night at Whole Foods for almost 30 minutes. Sunday night after 8pm used to be a great time to get in an out of the store fast. Not any more. There were only three checkout lines going at the main checkout (the over 10 items side on Warren street) and each line was at least 8 people long. And my checkout person must have been new. He was clearly doing his best and was very nice, but just not fast yet. It was excruciating.

    What’s worse is the the place still has a lot of people around, doing instacart or deliveries or whatever… But then there are 12 checkout lines with only 3 active! Super disappointing.

  2. Monday nights are the absolute worst- it has the feel of super storm Sandy. However, Sunday mornings have been a delight to shop.

  3. I was there this afternoon, and it was OK. But someone was complaining to me that the chip aisle had been cleared out completely. I noticed big sections of empty shelves in the olive oil section.

  4. At least they have good magazines in the quick checkout. Or, if you bring a book, you can be educating yourself during the wait. The amount of real estate and manpower that goes into checking people out at whole foods is tremendous. Amazon store will have a massive edge when it comes to profit margin. Long lines will be ending within the next few years.

  5. Erik have you seen the “Surgeon” parking 3 luxury cars in front of 56 Leonard lately. I guess now one guy can have his 3 cars parked no restrictions! I guess he needs to save the money on parking to pay for the Ferrari 458, the Mercedes G50 and the BMW X5 he parks on the street. all with Florida license plates probably to save on the insurance as well. The Army recruiter seems nice to me now with “only” one house made placard.

  6. I’ve been noticing lots of empty shelves when I’ve gone. I asked and finally got some employees who admitted that the delivery schedules have changed since Amazon took over. Not sure if that is a temporary issue as they adjust or the new normal.

  7. Ah, the new Whole Foods where yes, the avocados are cheaper, but now you have to plan “taco night” 2 weeks in advance, waiting for them to ripen. #firstworldproblems

  8. At least you had your change counted back to you. It’s been my recent experience that the change is dropped into my palm all at once. Counting back is an important check for accuracy that any cashier should appreciate at the end of a shift when reconciling. I hate to hear myself sound old fashioned on this topic, but the missing element here seems to be actually thinking about the transaction. Simple addition and subtraction should be a life skill.

    • Oh, the change wasn’t counted back. I guess they’re afraid to touch other people, so they put the coins on the bills and dump it all in your hand to deal with. The counting I was watching was the cashiers picking coins one by one out of the drawer: A quarter… Um, another quarter… A dime—no, another quarter… Um… A dime? A nickel?

      • Seems that we are charging ahead to the cashless economy. Great, then stop penalizing card payments with fees. Here in Canada the penny, out of use since 2013, will soon be unrecognizable to a millennial – just try to spend a US coin and watch the confusion.

  9. For YEARS Whole Foods never has adequate checkouts open in the morning. At 8:00 – 8:30am its not unusual for the West Street side to have twenty people on line, buying breakfast and rushing to work, with only three registers open. It seems the employees learn on the job both there and the coffee bar. They have zero competition in the area from brick and mortar stores and simply have no fear of losing customers. Ever go to a Trader Joes when they open? Lines move rapidly because they have many registers open first thing. Best Market does not mean competition: TOO BAD TRADERS DID NOT TAKE THAT SPACE. All we can do, and I now have made Fresh Direct my choice for large orders, is collect you receipts from other food merchants and send them to Amazon with your complaint. Probably will not do anything, but it sure feels good!!!!