Hello, this is my first post in the forum. I went to Whole Foods in Boulder, CO last night - their largest store in the state, I think. This store offers the most bulk items that I'm interested in: grains, beans, spices, tea, coffee, cooking oils, liquid soap, vanilla extract, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, and other items. Quite the selection!
I brought my clean (and new!) glass mason jars and asked the customer service rep to weigh them to get the tare weight. She immediately turned me away and said that they can't do this anymore - they have been warned that it's a violation. She mentioned that the plastic containers are free and at least can be recycled. I got what I could using my reusable cotton bags and didn't buy the rest of the items on my list.
I tried e-mailing Whole Foods via their website (under "green initiative") and for some reason had my message rejected and flagged as spam. I'll try calling the store for more info, but does anyone here have a better idea for approaching this situation? Maybe a link to actual health codes that this may violate?
I'm in CA and ran ito this same situation only once, at Ralph's. Every other grocery store in my city has no issues with my containers. Rather than getting into a health code battle with that WF, my advice is to take your money to another store. I even found an old-style butcher shop a couple cities over that sells better quality meat than WF & gladly accepts my containers. Its nice to walk in there without having my guard up! Good luck!
Hi, One day I was denied at the whole food in New York but I came back another day and I got served with my containers.By experience I can tell it is usually easier to get it when the store is not busy and the salespersons are more relaxed. I f you don't have any other store around you I'd take my chance and try again, it may work. Also I bring my tupperware, this way there is no problem about the tare and people are more willing to do it. At least I get to do my groceries without disposables and I put the items in glass jars then in my fridge. Sometimes the issue is just because it seems annoying for them to do it or just not the way they are used to do things. ( I received a "NY law" excuse when I was returning my milk bottles at my supermarket which they were putting in plastic bags: after investigation I realized it was totally false and I managed to get the supermarket stop doing it).
That sounds odd. There is a bulk food store on Main St. in Longmont that encourages people to bring their own containers. I would think if there was some sort of law, it would be state-wide, not city wide. By the way, I would totally encourage you to try the bulk store in Longmont. It's locally owned and the couple who own it are super nice! I moved away almost 2 years ago and I still miss that store! They also respond to their customers so if there is something you want them to carry, ask and it just might happen!
Thanks for all of your feedback, I really appreciate it! I did end up going to the Simply Bulk store in Longmont and even discussed health codes with the owner, only to find out that Whole Foods Boulder is likely just not interested in the effort it takes to weigh jars. I probably won't win any disputes with WF, so I'm taking my business to Simply Bulk for the most part. For items that I can only find at WF (bulk vanilla for one), I am using their plastic container, pouring the contents into my jars at home, and then cleaning the plastic so I can take it back to the store for reuse.
I only recently (within this past year) moved to Denver from San Francisco. After discussing with the front counter how much I missed my bulk co-op in SF they said I can get my jars weighed at the ffront counter for me which I have now done. I don't feel comfortable bringing in as many jars to have weighted as I used to but was helpful that time. Try again.
Oh and I like Simply Bulk too but it is too far away for me to drive from Denver all the time.
Until you can settle the issue, I'd suggest reusing the containers provided by them and transfer when you get home. Not perfect, but still minimizes waste. As far as "policies" they seem to be all over the place and have little to do with laws, more to do with local company policies…
Are there no alternatives to Whole Foods in these urban areas? I can understand if it's the only place around to get bulk stuff, but Mackey is such a union busting jerk that I won't shop there. The closest store to me is Whole Foods in Noe Valley but I've never been inside it. I'd rather trek over to Rainbow and get stuff there. At least it's worker owned. I also frequent SF Herb and Samiramis and use the union stores for produce.